DRIVING FORCE The Limousines, pictured here at SXSW, rep the 4-0-8 wherever they go. They’re back for a hometown show at C2SV on Sept. 28 at Agenda Lounge. Photos by Matt Crawford.
C2SV Music Festival is bringing big names, such as Iggy and the Stooges, the Lemonheads, Thee Oh Sees, Bosnian Rainbows and Deafheaven, to downtown San Jose, paired with some of the best bands in Silicon Valley.
The roster of South Bay bands at C2SV runs the gamut in terms of style, including electronic, Latin, indie rock, folk, metal and punk. The festival offers a chance to really get a handle on just how diverse San Jose’s music scene has become over the past 5-10 years.
Here’s a guide to this year’s local lineup:
Thu 26: Dinners
Café Stritch, 9pm
For a group of lo-fi rock & roll slackers, Dinners have created a nuanced and interesting indie rock album, Black Rabbits, that pays homage to the ’90s lo-fi indie heyday. It is best enjoyed on vinyl, where all the subtle details can be heard at peak audio quality—at least, that’s what the vinyl-worshiping members of the band would say.
Fri 27: The Limousines
Agenda Lounge, 9pm
The Limousines are San Jose’s biggest active band for a reason. Their take on ’80s-inspired synth-pop so perfectly straddles the line between clever, heartfelt and generation-defining, plus the songs are just so damn catchy. Together Giovanni Giusti and Eric Victorino make amazing dance-pop loved all over the world.
Fri 27: Talky Tina
Café Stritch, 8pm
Talky Tina’s brand of pop punk shows influences of rockabilly, punk rock and everything in between.
Fri 27: Containher
Hedley Club, 8pm
As a singer-songwriter, Containher brings a theatrical and haunting vision to her music, both in the chords she chooses and in the imagery in her lyrics. Stylistically, she is versatile (folk, electronic, indie-rock) and she frequently collaborates with other artists.
Fri 27: Amonie
San Jose Rock Shop, 8:30pm
Amonie already has so much going on with the four members they do have (two guitars, bass and drums), a singer would just get in the way. Every song is like an incredible musical journey, with a heavy emphasis on dynamics and texture. Plus, they play really, really loud.
Fri 27: The Flames
Blank Club, 10pm
Fun fact: The Flames’ drummer is none other than No Name, a local on-air DJ who at one time hosted LIVE 105’s morning show, but now is on Alice. Hopefully his boss at Alice is OK with just how punk rock No Name is, or at least his band, Flames. They play the kind of raw, drunken punk that touring bands in the ’90s used to play in backyards all across the country.
Fri 27: The JurassiC
If jazz and soul were on a single continuum, JurassiC would land exactly in the middle. Their grooves tend to pull from classic soul and funk, while the chords and melodies lean more into the jazz realm. But even there, the influences for everything they do are all over the map. It’s a big jumbled mess of beautiful music.
Fri 27: Soulful Obsession
More than just a live rap band, the quartet at times plays jazz, uptempo R&B, soul and straight-forward hip-hop. The group’s songs weave in and out of these different styles.
Fri 27: BVMO Crew
Fahrenheit Lounge, 11pm
Taking their name from a popular beverage store chain, these DJs spin funk, soul and hip-hop. It’s great dance music with lots of obscure song selections and deep cuts.
Sat 28: Curious Quail
Café Stritch, 2pm
If there’s any band in San Jose right that so totally has the support of their fans it’s indie-folk group Curious Quail. Their fans voted for them to play BFD this year and helped the band reach its $6,000 Kickstarter goal to fund an upcoming album in a matter of days. Big things are on the horizon for Curious Quail.
Sat 28: B.Lewis
Pagoda, 11pm (San Jose)
B.Lewis has gotten a lot of international attention for his original electronic arrangements, which often lean into instrumental hip-hop territory. Pitchfork recently gave him major props for his production on the new Bad Rabbits album. At C2SV he’ll be performing a DJ set.
Sat 28: The Bang
St. James Park, 4:15pm (San Jose)
The Bang revives lesser-known ’60s soul gems, particularly from girl-fronted bands, and contributes to the genre with exceptional originals that sound like they could have just as easily been lost soul classics themselves.
Sat 28: Haptic Synapses
Works/San Jose, 8:30pm (San Jose)
Haptic Synapses are a full-fledged electronic improvised trio. Each member makes beats and programs on the spot without coordinating in advance, playing off each other in real time to create an exciting and spontaneous musical experience.
Sat 28: Brother Grand
Agenda Lounge, 9pm
Ben Henderson has played passionate folk songs for years, sometimes solo, other times with a full backing band. Brother Grand is an offshoot of this, but with upright bass player Endika. Performed as a duo, the songs sound surprisingly thick. It’s just what Henderson’s brilliant songs have always needed.
Sat 28: Dirty Pillows
Blank Club, 10pm
Is a bass guitar really all that necessary for an indie-punk band? The Dirty Pillows don’t think so. With Millhows on guitar/vocals and Jeff Jagged (owner of On The Corner Music) backing him on drums, the duo mixes elements of jangle-pop, garage, ’90s indie-rock and punk rock into a fun, tight, energetic package.
Sat 28: Bibles and Hand Grenades
Blank Club, 11pm
Bibles and hand grenades may not be two items that go together so well, but the band Bibles and Hand Grenades do bring seemingly dissimilar genres together quite naturally (country, metal, old school rock & roll).
Sat 28: Shinobu
Café Stritch, 11pm
It wasn’t too long ago that Shinobu broke up, with each member moving away from the Bay Area. Slowly the members have returned and they’re seemingly playing more shows now than ever before. Their brainy, self-deprecating throwback jangle-pop with a punk-rock edge is as good as ever, only tighter.
Sat 28: Picture Atlantic
Hedley Club, 11pm
Picture Atlantic opened for Coldplay at the HP Pavilion and they’ve toured up and down the West Coast on their own many times, drawing packed houses wherever they go. As far as guitar-driven indie-rock goes, San Jose has no bigger band than quartet Picture Atlantic. Fans love their mixture of passionate heart-on-the-sleeve songwriting and driving indie-rock beats, textured with keyboards and nuanced guitar work.
Sat 28: Sonido Clash
Sonido Clash is a collective of like-minded, cutting-edge DJs and musicians pushing the boundaries of modern Latin dance music. They mix traditional Latin genres like cumbia and merengue with electronica and hip-hop. The collective includes Philthy Drones, Turbo Sonidero Futuristico, Raul y Mexia and Chatos 1013.
Sun 29: The Albert Square
Café Stritch, 4pm
When singer-songwriter Sim Castro reformed post-punk band Albert Square this past year, it was almost like a new band emerged. The songs were looser, more intense and had an almost unhinged quality about them. Castro’s songwriting still has those same subtly complex ’90s indie rock leanings, but with more urgency.
Sun 29: Cartoon Bar Fight
Café Stritch, 6pm
Falling somewhere between dream pop and indie folk, Cartoon Bar Fight could be 2013’s answer to the Cranberries. They create a lot of lush arrangements and earnest melodies, and have a knack for writing interesting concept albums. Their next release will be about space, according to the band.
Sun 29: The Trims
Café Stritch, 7pm
Proving that the ’80s offered more than just cheeseball radio pop songs, the Trims hone in on the darker, more interesting, underground post-punk bands from that decade for influence, while blending it with a modern alternative dance-rock sound. They have a gift for creating immense, consuming layers of guitar sounds while still keeping the tunes pop-friendly.