‘Epic Future Radness’ festival makes its debut
There are few San Diego music festivals more appropriately named than Epic Future Radness. Set to roll through City Heights’ Til-Two Club on Sept. 19 – 20, the two-day jubilee marries the anything-goes ethos of skate punk culture and the sound of several promising SoCal psychedelic and garage rock bands.
With a lineup that includes some of San Diego’s finest, most compelling — and loudest — groups such as Artifact, the Lumps, Monarch, Arctic, Amerikan Bear and OC-based headliners Dahga Bloom and the Blank Tapes, the festival won’t be short on extended jams or trippy fuzz pop.
Organizer Brian Clinebell, who’s also scheduled to perform on Saturday night fronting his own psych-rock band the Kabbs, took notes and inspiration from a different (and now-defunct) annual event, Johnny Rad Fest.
“Honestly, those were the most fun weekends of the summer for the past three or so years,” Clinebell said. “I wanted to bring that feeling back of an underground show but with up-and-coming bands that are doing great things music-wise in San Diego, and a few out-of-town acts that might not get as much buzz down this way.”
With all-encompassing sound ripped straight from the ’60s coupled with modern experimentation, anyone with a penchant for the raw sounds of early Pink Floyd, Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, Cream, the Velvet Undergound or the Sonics will feel right at home. That’s just one of the reasons Epic Future Radness will be so, well, rad.
“The psych scene here is pretty much one of the best right now outta anywhere, and so many great bands from San Diego to LA are playing all kinds of psych-inspired music,” Clinebell said. “I wanted to do one night mainly psych and another night of a mix of bands with different styles that meshed together nicely. I have been lucky to hang and know some of these guys so I had been scouting … just from going to shows.”
Music festivals are often tricky to put together, but the Kabbs’ frontman doesn’t seem too worried. For a debuting, unproven music festival, he’s staged what seems like a sponsorship coup, with apparel companies ranging from Converse and Brixton to Lazy Smoke, as well as Lurkville Skateboards and even Fender Guitar on board (multiple raffles will take place throughout both days).
“Sponsors came about through friends that I have met through skateboarding and through playing the Johnny Rad Fest events,” Clinebell said. “I just threw out the idea and people were down to help out. I actually have a bit of work to do and still need a beer sponsor — Modern Times?”
Until recently, even the mention of shows at the Til-Two Club or Tower Bar might invite cringes — after all, City Heights wasn’t exactly known for being a hotbed of artistic activity, or a particularly safe and inviting neighborhood. But along with North Park and Normal Heights, the San Diego borough has been enjoying a quiet renaissance in the last couple of years. When Tower Bar owner Mick Rossler bought the Til-Two Club in 2010, he worked to return the place to its initial Art Deco design — an authentic and fitting tribute to the club, which was originally opened in 1948. The quality of shows dramatically improved and the two music venues became legitimate destinations for show-goers ready to experience music that exists off the beaten path.
Clinebell explained the allure: “If you’re an up-and-coming band, I think that’s the first place you really want to play [out of town, or local]. You get cheap drinks and you’re hanging right with the band while they play. It’s just a different kind of vibe: It’s kinda grimy and good at the same time.”
Two-day presale tickets are available now at tiltwoclub.com for $20. Friday night tickets will be $12 at the door, and Saturday night’s tickets will be $10 day-of. Shows run from 8:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.
—Dustin Lothspeich can be reached at email@example.com.
Epic Future Radness lineups
Friday, Sept. 19
Saturday, Sept. 20
The Blank Tapes
Pearl Charles & the Pipes Canyon Band