We love our music festivals here in the Bay Area, but most seem occur in the spring, summer, or fall, when the weather's nice--or at least decent--and there's plenty of other stuff going on. Well, for 2010, the good folks over at SF IndieFest (known heretofore for indie film) have put together SF Winter Music Fest, a seven-day stream of shows to help get us through this dim, damp Nor-Cal winter. The festival features smaller, mostly local bands and runs Jan. 29 through Feb. 4 at Bottom of the Hill, Thee Parkside and DNA Lounge, winding down just as the SF Independent Film Fest starts up on Feb. 4.
While there aren't any big national bands included, it's safe to say the Winter Music Fest plucked some of the best up-and-coming talent from the local scene--even a few bands that may go national one day. That being said, whether these bills are far better than what we'd normally find in a week's worth of San Francisco shows is an open question... and one we'll let you decide. Below are are our picks, in no particular order, for this first-ever SF WinterFest, along with all the relevant details.
For a group that began playing merely "for fun," Sacramento's Two Sheds
create a rather downbeat brand of bluesy neo-folk, one reminiscent of Cat Power, Elliott Smith, and even CocoRosie. But though dreary, Two Sheds' songs are utterly beautiful in the same stark, sublime way as the desert scenes that grace their record covers. Singer/guitarist Caitlin Gutenburger's voice turns both dusty and sweet, a perfect instrument for pulling along her band's mellow, lo-fi stomps. (Tuesday, Feb. 2 at Thee Parkside with Grand Lake, Fake Your Own Death and Kuma/Koshka.)
is on a mission to prove that you don't need guitars to play metal. The Oakland trio layers doomsday riffs and searing, distorted solos into intense, panoramic compositions--using only cello, violin and drums. Shred-tastic songs like "Air Raid," "Inferno," and "Fight II" easily evoke their titles, and with all these sludgy riffs, blazing solos, and "Whoa, that's a violin" wonder, Judgement Day has found a fascinating direction for the future of metal. (Saturday, Jan. 30 at Bottom of the Hill with Battlehooch and The Hot Moon.)