Features & Columns

Silicon Valley Sound Experience

Silicon Valley Sound Experience

In suburban garages and on downtown streets, the Silicon Valley Sound has found a groove. Technology-fused genres have forged a style that befits a valley where American traditions and immigrant cultures easily mix.

In 2007, in a Blossom Valley garage, an 18-year-old played some complex mixes on a Mac and burned a disk for me. Five years later, B. Lewis tours the country as a well-regarded remixer. In 2010, The Bangerz electrified a closed S. First Street during their breakthrough Subzero collaboration with San Jose Taiko, weaving a seamless sonic tapestry of ancient drums and modern beats.

The Silicon Valley Sound is a raw counterpoint to iPod perfection, polished granite buildings and Google-esque minimalism. The YouTube video "Baggage" shows Anya and guitarist Matt Gonzalez in Parque de los Pobladores before it was concreted over and tidied up, litter on the ground and a trashcan in the foreground. Local band names remove any traces of varnish: we're shit-kicking, dirtbagging, getting down, soiling pillows, careless with our passion—and every day we're mumling, mumling.

Access to easy distribution and media tools should logically transform this creative explosion into a scene. Silicon Valley is the new Hollywood, and iTunes, YouTube, Netflix, Roku, Yahoo, Facebook and Google have replaced the studios and labels that gatekept prior generations of creativity. But like prophets ignored in their time, the valley's musical talent heads elsewhere to find audiences, and high technology brands conduct a long distance love affair with an annual festival in Texas.

The Silicon Valley Music eXperience is our attempt to fire things up around here with a showcase for local music, inspired by our friends in Austin and Toronto. It's a one-day event this year, but with some luck, we expect it to grow bigger in annual incarnations.

The music begins with the 3pm kickoff party at Myth with DJ Cutso and special guests and continues at San Pedro Square Market with the 6pm VIP party and 7pm show with Careless Hearts, Doctor Nurse and Dirty Pillows. Venues around downtown will keep the party going throughout the night.

Pick up a wristband for $15 at Myth or San Pedro Square Market (or in advance for $12 at SVSX).

Shitkickers, Talky Tina, The Forgotten
Johnny V's hosts a lineup at SVSX featuring three of the many flavors of punk rock: rough-and-ready cowpunk from the Shitkickers, melodic pop-punk from Talky Tina and "Streek Punk" from the Forgotten.

Will Sprott, Fierce Creatures, Mike Huguenor and B. Lewis After Party
South Bay fans may wonder where Will Sprott of the Mumlers has been. The singer/songwriter known for sparking the South Bay's wave of freak-rock a few years ago hasn't been nearly as ubiquitous here since he moved to the East Bay.

Dirtbag Dan, Antwon, Cities Aviv, G.I.F.T. and Ichy the Killer
Usually known for it's rock 'n' roll tendencies, the Blank Club hosts a rare hip-hop show for SVSX on Saturday featuring battle rapper Dirtbag Dan, up-and-coming San Jose MC Antwon with Cities Aviv, DJ Ichy the Killer and G.I.F.T.

Anya & the Get Down, Sweet HayaH and Amy Dabalos & Co.
The Hedley Club at Hotel DeAnza will host a variety of vocal talents at SVSX that play along nicely with the art deco decor of venue. Anya & the Get Down headline with Amy Dabalos and Sweet HayaH on the bill.

Curious Quail and ColorScout
Curious Quail started off as a guitar/electro project by Mike Shirley-Donnelly but quickly grew to feature members with their own eclectic tastes and backgrounds in music.

Veronica Malki and The Line-Up
SVSX gets a dose of jazz, R&B and more at The Mmoon on Saturday with performances by Veronica Malki and The Line-Up.