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Mission Creek Music Festival

So Much Music, So Little Time

Four days and over 30 bands set themselves up on stage waiting for the sun to set on the ninth annual Mission Creek Music & Arts Festival. This year the festival has incorporated a great deal of arts-related events into the mix including more films and a newly conceived "visual and sonic event" called Collision at the Lab. Now you might be saying, "But there is just so much going on!" Well never fear, I'll let you know what you've missed so far and what you shouldn't in the upcoming 4 days of the remaining lineup of essential San Francisco sights and sounds.

When I first heard of San Francisco's Oxbow I tried to find out about the word on the street, but most revealed little of their experience. So I decided I'm going to have to bypass the Revolution Cafe where Oakland's Mandrake is going to perform. No matter how much I want to hear "broken record" live, I needed to secure my place in line at the Hemlock. To my surprise the line was not a line, rather a mix between a going away party for Mr. L.A. and those few who ventured out on a Tuesday night to hear what the silence in the city was all about.

We all found the answer when Oxbow's Eugene Robinson came on stage representing a ferocity that could only be seen at the center of an exploding grenade. Robinson is intimidating surely; it was like watching two performances at once as Niko Wenner (guitar), Greg Davis (drums) and Dan Adams (bass) played both their heaviest and lightest musical weavings to wrap around Eugene in his expeditious performance incorporating more than a little heavy petting. I won't give it away, Eugene sure didn't either, I was later told he has been known to grab members out of the audience and use them as a sort of prop for his performance.

I had a brief encounter with him after the show and quickly learned that there's a big difference between his on and off stage persona. His relaxed and approachable nature was a surprise to me. As any artist or musician creates a work of art, they are truly on the outside looking in, which at times can have a very cathartic effect on your outlook. Oxbow's music is on another level to say the least and there are only a few bands in the country that can fit into the category that Oxbow has created.

The following night had its up and downs with local favorites Thee More Shallows playing a great show at the Rickshaw Stop. Unintentional connections were made with other SF locals and I found myself venturing to the Hemlock to be awed by Odessa Chen's melancholic repertoire, sans drums. The Hemlock's "2nd Annual Bed-In" allowed short sets and a cozy atmosphere to dominate the seated back room stage, and it was a great way to end the night.

There is something to be said about the traveling audience. One of the duties of a good festival is to make it possible for an inspired audience member (that's you!) to be able seek out something they want to see. Fortunately for us the Mission Creek Music Festival has everything you would need to make this happen. So the schedule coming up for the next 4 days is pretty intense and there is such variety that I'll just give you a few of my personal picks.

Friday has so much going on it makes me sad as I'm sure to miss something great. At ATA they'll be premiering the film "Rubber Johnny" by acclaimed director Chris Cunningham which is sure to be…interesting. I need to mention Menomena at Café Du Nord and Golden Birds at Edinburgh but you're going to have to make that difficult decision on your own.

You can start your Saturday with a literary mindset over at Adobe Books for their poetry session. Laugh it out at the Hemlock's Club Chuckles Cavalcade. Enjoy all that is wonderful and experimental with Wind Up Bird at the Lab. And again, you must choose between busting blisters with So So Many White White Tigers or enjoying musically prophetic Okay, Lazarus & n. lannon at the Swedish American Hall.

Sunday is going to be a good day to enjoy a film at ATA featuring Will Oldham on mushrooms.

If you're wondering what the heck these bands or shows are about you can check out the festival website and find all sorts of great links to bios and mp3s related to your new favorite band. Enjoy.