Related Articles: Music, All

Mission Creek Music Festival

The occurrence of the 7th Annual Mission Creek Music Festival could not be more perfectly timed. The festival, which takes place May 23 - June 5, signals the start of Summer: beers and tamales on the patio at Zeitgeist, paddleboating on Golden Gate Pond, sunbathing in Dolores Park and general frolicking on the days San Francisco's finicky sunshine actually decides to show itself in grand and inspiring ways. More importantly the festival, which features over 80 bands, most of them prime local acts, comes less than a month after Chronicle writer Joel Selvin declared that the once famous San Francisco music scene has crumbled leaving an evaporated community devoid of music lovers and musicians. Let's just see about that.

The Mission Creek Music Festival is the local answer to the more indie pop oriented Noise Pop festival that features bands from all over the country. This local showcase event was spawned by San Francisco art rock band Zmrzlina and is described by founder Jeff Ray as "a grassroots effort to feature local Bay Area underground music." The festival spans eleven nights and nine venues including Bottom of the Hill, Eagle Tavern, Make Out Room and Adobe Books. The line-ups include local stars, homegrown faves and a select number of out-of-towners. The musical stylings of these acts run the gamut from stripped down singer-songwriters to pop twang alt-country and pogo-inducing dance punk.

Like any festival of this type, there is one huge drawback. No matter how fast your Vespa or how large your cab fare allowance, you will not make it to every show and will inevitably miss a number of impressive performers. There are however, several must-see acts that you should plan on catching if you want to get the most out of your far-from-crumbling local music scene.

Nate Denver is a local musician who performs as Nate Denver's Neck, drop-kicking the usual singer-songwriter persona by harboring a penchant for a grim reaper costume and death metal. Denver's songs play like absurd stories around a Friday the 13th-like campfire. You'll hear the tale of Snuggletummy, a vengeful stuffed hippopotamus, and the epic tale of a ballet dancer that sells his soul to the devil. Don't be surprised if Denver pleases the crowd with an acoustic version of a Jay-Z cover. Yes, a Jay-Z cover.

If you have yet to see Sonic Youth darling Erase Errata do their no-wave noise rock thang, well now's your chance. Expect pulse-quickening rhythms, thunder-like drums, fuzzy guitar squeals, trumpet bursts and ear-popping yelps and femme-centric politics from lead singer Jenny Hoysten.

Jolie Holland brings her sultry folk sounds to an afternoon show at El Rio. Holland, who draws inspiration from classic blues and jazz greats like Blind Willie Mc Tell and Bessie Smith, has a voice you don't want to miss and writes songs straight from the soles of her traveling shoes.

The sweaty, raunchy, feedback choked sounds of Coachwhips will cause some serious ass-shaking at the festival's finale.

More than anything, the Mission Creek Festival is resounding proof that the San Francisco music scene is brightly burgeoning, proliferating bands as fast as the Summer days breed a need for margaritas and flip-flops.

Take that Selvin.