There are only a handful of places in the world where you could go to a rock concert every night for a month and see something that's at least pretty good. Warren Teagarden wants to prove that San Francisco is one of those places. So this September, if everything goes according to plan, Teagarden is going to attend 30 concerts in 30 days.
Even for a seasoned live music fan, going to a show every night for a month sounds like a herculean undertaking. But Teagarden, a 40-year-old unemployed clerical worker and leader of local "independent rock 'n' roll band" Warren Teagarden and the Good Grief, isn't daunted. He tried a similar "September of Insanity" in 2008, and almost succeed, hitting 28 shows in the month. One night that time he was sick. Another night, the only show he wanted to go to was a pricey ticket, and his finances had already been pretty well decimated by going out every night.
"It's going to be rough," Teagarden says of the costs involved in an extended period of nightly live music. But, as with the last attempt, he expects to meet his goal with the help of smaller local clubs like the Hemlock Tavern, which books interesting lesser-known bands on a nightly basis, and usually charges only a $6 or $8 cover. He's got a few bigger-ticket concerts already picked out, too, like Ty Segall at Great American Music Hall on Sept. 2.
Before that, Teagarden (not his real name) will be on the other side of the stage, headlining the Hotel Utah this Sunday with the Good Grief. He understandably hates the phrase "indie rock," preferring to sum up his work, and his musical preferences, as "small local rock that's not trying to be this glamorous success." New song "Love Your City" is a rambly, folky jaunt, while "California Calls" is harder-edged rock. Teagarden's unusual vocal inflection gives both a sense of character.
Teagarden finds inspiration in odd places, including politics and history. "California Calls" was inspired by the 2010 initiative to legalize pot in California. "I had this vision of hordes of stoners emigrating to California, and that sort of reminded me of the Gold Rush," he says. "The song became kind of a compare-contrast [of] the way two different causes or events would contribute to people wanting to move to California."
California didn't end up legalizing weed, unfortunately, but there are still plenty of things that draw people here -- including live music. Teagarden envisions his September of Insanity project as a way to draw attention to smaller shows, as well as an illustration of the liveliness of San Francisco's music scene. It's "the idea of the 30 nights in a row, just saying that this is possible," he says. "That's what the music scene is in the city, that you can walk our your door any day of the month, any day of the week, and see great live music."
Warren Teagarden and the Good Grief perform at Hotel Utah this Sunday, July 21. 8 p.m., $6.