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Frosty Five: A Handful of Great Local Bands Play This Year’s 10th Annual SubZERO Festival

In Music
SUPER CHILL: The SubZERO Festival celebrates 10 years of keeping SoFA weird. Photo by Greg Ramar.

SUPER CHILL: The SubZERO Festival celebrates 10 years of keeping SoFA weird. Photo by Greg Ramar.

Time flies when you’re having fun. SubZERO is back for its 10th year with two days of art, music and culture in San Jose’s SoFA District. Popping off in tandem with the monthly South First Fridays art walk, the festival will feature wild street performances, food, drink and plenty of local creatives showcasing their work and wares. The event will also feature two music stages, with local acts playing until midnight both on nights. The musicians on the lineup are an eclectic bunch. Here are five highlights.

Future Twin
Jun 2, 9:35pm
Secret Garden Stage
If there’s one thing Future Twin has down, it’s how to flip between self-serious and whimsical on a dime. The San Francisco-based musical project of Jean Jeanie ranges from forceful pop to dreamy and meandering. Jeanie’s vocal style owes a bit to Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins and Annie Clark of St. Vincent. That said, none of these songs sound like retreads. “Getting Theoretical (Instead of Talking About Your Feelings)” begins with urgent percussion and a low-in-the-mix guitar lead that explodes as Jeanie belts out the chorus.

Human Ottoman
Jun 2, 9:45pm
Anno Domini Stage
Vibraphones, a cello and a drum set aren’t such an unlikely trio. You’d never know that, listening to Human Ottoman for the first time though. The group blends the three instruments into songs that range from melodic to jarring. On “Mulatu (The Frizz)” the group toggles between a haunting cello lead and a feather-light vibe solo—then back again. The percussion serves as the musical glue, allowing these contradictory tones to inhabit the same song. The group will likely play material from their raucous 2015 debut Farang.

Sonido Clash
Jun 2, 6pm
Secret Garden Stage
Sonido Clash is a collective of creators and curators based in San Jose. The music they make together often smashes together a variety of divergent sounds—including cumbia, EDM and hip-hop. It’s unclear how this group of DJs, producers and rappers will choose to entertain the crowd for the duration of their set. Whatever they do, it’s sure to keep the crowd moving.

Dogcatcher
Jun 3, 9:45pm
Anno Domini Stage
Andrew Heine—lead singer of Dogcatcher—isn’t worried about genre. “Thanksgiving Leftovers,” from the band’s eponymous third album, is propped up by a jazzy keyboard melody that Heine lets bloom into a rich wave of bass and trumpet, which ultimately crashes and makes way for the rest of the album. Heine’s uses his breathy vocal delivery to muse about relationships and life. Whether you can relate to his point of view or not, it’s hard not to get swept up in his infectious melodies.

Major Powers & the Lo-fi Symphony
Jun 3, 11pm
Anno Domini Stage
Richmond-based glam-oddballs Major Powers and the Lo-Fi Symphony are hard to pin down. This offbeat trio do a lot with a little, deploying drums, guitars and keys along with frequent three-part harmonies in quirky numbers that rock as hard as they jest. On “Fake It Till You Make It” from their sophomore album, One Trick Pony, the band starts out on a bouncy psycho-circus rumba—which recalls the old “Mr. Six” theme song for Six Flags—before blowing everything up and getting all Freddie Mercury with a massive Queen chorus. This is perhaps the funnest and funniest band playing this year’s festival.

SubZERO Festival
Jun 2-3, 6pm-Midnight, Free
SoFA District, San Jose

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