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C2SV Highlights: Four Days of Music in downtown San Jose

In Music
Iggy And The Stooges at St. James Park. Photo by Peter Adams.

Iggy And The Stooges at St. James Park. Photo by Peter Adams.

Years from Now, people will be likely be talking about that “one time Iggy and the Stooges played St. James Park in San Jose” for a couple thousand music fans. For those of us that were there for it—year zero for C2SV Music Festival—it’ll be a badge of honor for years to come.

As memorable as Iggy and the Stooges were, the band’s performance was only one piece of the four-day music and technology festival, where an impressive lineup of well known and local acts graced stages at 12 venues and mingled on the streets throughout downtown San Jose.

Some Highlights:

• Without a doubt, the highlight of the festival was Iggy and The Stooges. Iggy Pop isn’t just the godfather of punk rock, he’s a true rock ’n’ roll weirdo. In the 60s when Jim Morrison was considered the most controversial figure, Iggy was cutting himself up, puking on stage and exposing himself—this was all to a largely unappreciative crowd.

At 66, hopping around on the stage like a maniac, times have changed. People adore him, and rightfully so. The Stooges ripped through several of their classics: “Raw Power,” “Gimme Danger,” “Search and Destroy” and “1970.” The songs were still fresh, and Iggy was still a wild, crazy freak, though a more friendly version that in the 70s. He periodically asked the lights to be turned on so he could “get a look at everyone” and jokingly referred to himself at one point as “a drug pioneer.” Highlights were powerful performances of “I want to be your dog” and “The Passenger.”

At the close of their set, the Stooges were joined by several fully painted naked models before closing with a “dirty nasty number that requires no brain whatsoever,” according to Pop, which turned out to be “Louie Louie”—possibly the most covered song of all time. The Stooges played the song raw, sleazy and just as bare bones punk rock as possible.

• Decked out in shiny silver space suits, Bay Area favorites the Phenomenauts closed the first night of C2SV with a rowdy Café Stritch performance that included an impromptu jam with the in-house piano that normally serves jazz bands.

• Local electro-pop stars the Limousines played an early set at the Agenda, starting with some of their heavier material and peaking with a full-on dance party with singer Eric Victorino jumping into the crowd at one point. The sound system was so loud it earplugs almost proved ineffective, but most in the crowd didn’t seem to mind.

• The Lemonheads play an intimate set at Café Stritch with Mad Men star Jessica Paré (“Bisou Bisou”) in the crowd. Most of the audience sang along to every song from lead singer Evan Dando in the smallest venue you’re likely to see him perform.

• Off! played for a full house at the Blank Club, running through blistering punk songs in the vein of Black Flag—a group singer Keith Morris once fronted, along with the Circle Jerks. A surprise moment arrived between Morris rants between songs when he teared up and paused for a few beats while introducing the song eulogizing his friend Jeffrey Lee Pierce, the Gun Club singer/guitarist who died in 1996.

• San Francisco black metal group Deafheaven played the San Jose Rock Shop. The singer, who has the aura of a serial killer was maybe a bit over the top, but he’s so committed to the part, and because the music is so intense, it all somehow works.

• Pagoda Lounge was especially funky on Saturday with the Coup and Dam-Funk channeling different points along the funk spectrum. The Coup started with a live band serving an updated take on Sly and the Family Stone-era funk with front man Boots Riley serving a heavy dose of politics easily disguised as party rhymes for those not following his lyrics. San Francisco punk legend and former Dead Kennedys front man Jello Biafra danced in the crowd earning a shout out from the band at the end of the set before Boots joined him to visit and take a few photos. (MC)

• Dam-Funk brought a DJ set with his original tracks, 80s boogie, electro and disco funk. He kept the party going and danced with the crowd for a few songs even after the house lights came on for last call. Toward the end of his set, he debuted new songs from his joint album with Snoop Dogg, set for release in January on San Jose native Peanut Butter Wolf’s Stones Throw Records label. (MC)

• Anya and the Get Down had to get down without their guitarist on the closing night of C2SV. The ever-busy Matt Gonzolez unfortunately didn’t show until after Anya’s set was over, causing the band to have to cut it short, but producer/keyboardist/sonic generator Marcus Daniels (aka snack|BOT) held down, especially on new single “One Less,” a fantastic new song Anya closed with about growing up—not growing up, as the case may be. As always, her soaring voice provided the best vocals to be found in the South Bay. (SP)

• Stumblebunny, a relatively obscure power-pop band from the 70s played an early set at Café Stritch. They played a bunch of now-seemingly mellow rock n roll songs while cracking jokes between songs about being added to the C2SV bill so they could tell old dinosaur rock ’n’ roll stories. One of them being that bass player Peter Jordan before Stumblebunny was the bass player for the legendary NewYork Dolls, after first being their roadie.

• Closing out the festival was a performance by up-and-coming Detroit rapper Black Milk, backed by a live drummer, a six-string bass player, keyboardist and DJ. The band played thick bouncy funk grooves with a jazzy, hip-hop edge, while Black Milk spit some clever word play on top of the beats. Even by the end of the fourth night on C2SV, a marathon of live music never before seen in San Jose, the audience still had a blast, dancing along until late in the night.

What did you like most about C2SV? Leave a comment with your personal favorites in our comments section.

Matt Crawford and Steve Palopoli contributed to this report.

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