Street Scene 2009: My picks

When filling out the media request form for Street Scene this year, a friend joked that my answer for “demographic” should be “people who only want to see the tiny print bands from [their] poster.”

I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t at least partially true. What follows is a list of the bands I plan on checking out while there, schedule permitting.


Modest Mouse
– I somehow haven’t managed to see these guys live yet, despite following them several years. Check out the Heath Ledger-directed video for “King Rat” here. And here’s another great video for “Satellite Skin.”

Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band
– Conor is a great songwriter, and always entertaining in some capacity live. At least check in to see what crazy hat he’s wearing this time around.

Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band @ Coachella 2009, 4/17/2009 Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band @ Soma, 10/19/2008

Band of Horses – They sounded great at Coachella, although I only caught the first two songs before heading off to shoot M.I.A. Looking forward to hearing more from them.

Band of Horses @ Coachella 2009, 04/18/2009

Girl Talk – Missed him at Coachella this year, although the report was that it was not-so-interesting, at least visually. I’ve seen some great photos from past Girl Talk shows, but maybe adding in a stage kills the vibe? Either way, should be a fun dance party.

Calexico – Their sound incorporates a lot of varied influences, with a strong bend toward lush, southwestern melodies. It’s possible that I drove to LA to see them last year, and then missed them completely at Coachella this year. It’s also possible that I would like Joey Burns to sing me to sleep every night.

Matt & Kim – Many friends speak highly of them, but I’ve been remiss in checking them out myself. That’s what festivals are supposed to be for, right?

Wavves – No longer expecting an epic breakdown, just some super-catchy tunes. And I think this is only his fourth hometown show?


M.I.A. – She put on one of the best sets at Coachella this year, in my opinion, going above and beyond filling Winehouse’s shoes.

M.I.A. @ Coachella 2009, 04/18/2009

The Dead Weather – Jack White owns any stage he sets foot on, as I’ve observed first hand at Street Scene (with the White Stripes), Soma, and Coachella 2008 (both with the Raconteurs). I’m sure this incarnation will be no different.

Silversun Pickups – Great band from Silverlake. If you haven’t heard them yet, you haven’t been listening to FM94/9. They put on a great set at Coachella, and still occasionally hang out at Spaceland on Monday nights. Can’t ask for more than that.

Silversun Pickups @ Coachella 2009, 4/17/2009

Of Montreal – To be honest, I can’t listen to too much of these guys’ music at a time. But it’s worth checking out to see if Kevin Barnes shows up on a white horse, or gets naked. You only think I’m kidding.

Sharon Jones & the Dapkings – Music to REALLY make you dance. And shake your thang. And if you’re lucky, she’ll pull you up on stage and dance with you herself. This woman is a force of nature. Be warned.

Sharon Jones @ Outside Lands, 08/24/2008 Sharon Jones @ Outside Lands, 08/24/2008

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – Ted had to cancel his Casbah show last fall, making the last time i saw him at the Epicentre in 2007. I’m looking forward to seeing him rock a larger stage this time around.

No Age – I love these guys for the huge grins they were rocking at Coachella. Also, Randy (the guitarist) dislocated his shoulder a few days ago, and still managed to play Lollapalooza this weekend. That’s badass.

No Age @ Coachella 2009, 04/19/2009 No Age @ Coachella 2009, 04/19/2009

Ra Ra Riot – They play pretty infectious indie rock songs. I saw them at the Casbah awhile ago, and can’t wait to catch up with them.

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears – These guys sound like the second coming of James Brown. I can’t help but hope for some sort of collaboration with Sharon Jones and the Dapkings.

Crocodiles – Local band done good in the indie world. After seeing them play the Casbah, it’ll be nice to see how they handle a bigger stage.

As for the details, tickets for Street Scene are available here, with several options. VIP passes are going for $250 per day (if you’re feeling a bit recession-proof). Otherwise, two-day passes are $122, and you can get single day passes for $65.

It’s down in the East Village again this year, close to Petco Park, which makes public transit to and from the venue feasible. Doors open at 4PM both days, with the festival running until midnight each night. They do allow ins and outs, so support the local vendors downtown, but also remember that to buy food/drinks/merch inside the venue, you will need cash.

Finally, it is an all ages festival, so it’s a good chance for underagers to catch some great bands and soak up some of what San Diego’s scene has to offer.