30 Bands, 1 Place

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Head over to Monterey Fairgrounds on Saturday if you want to sample music by over 30 bands for the bargain-basement price of only $13.  The Monterey Rock and Art festival, now in its ninth year, claims to be the largest showcase of unsigned bands in Northern California.  The event was founded in 1997 with the intent of showcasing upcoming artists in the realms of both visual and performing arts.  Since then, it has hosted over 500 artists.

Saturday’s line-up features a host of well-known names from the Monterey and Santa Cruz areas, plus a few bands that may be new to you. Here is just a few of the bands you can see:

Salinas-based hard rockers Cringetone have just finished recording their debut album “Volume One,” and you can hear a set from them on Saturday morning.  If you like Cringetone, chances are you’ll also like Archaeon from San Luis Obispo.  A recent review of the band said “These boys have the charisma, determination and outright talent to tear a label to shreds.”

Lavish Green hails from South Lake Tahoe, and has self-released three CDs.  The band’s music has been featured on MTV, ESPN and also the popular Discovery Channel show “Monster Garage.”  The band’s latest CD, “Blue Moon Sessions,” is starting to receive radio play, so Saturday may be one of the last chances to see them before they hit the big time.

Dave Lemon grew up in Pacific Grove but now calls Seattle his home.  Lemon grew up listening to albums by Kiss and Black Sabbath, and at first emulated his heroes’ heavy metal riffing.  As the 80s turned into the 90s, he discovered the new wave of alternative rock bands.  After playing around the open mic sessions of the Peninsula for several years, in 1996 Lemon was drawn to Seattle, where he found a music scene more to his taste.  There, he formed his band, and released his debut CD, “Stumble In,” in 2004.

Popular Santa Cruz band Risby’s Nickel will be bringing their blend of rock, reggae, ska and even a little bluegrass to the Fairgrounds on Saturday.  The members of Risby’s Nickel have been together since 1998.  The band quickly became a popular feature at local parties because its songs were about Santa Cruz life.  After producing a 5-track demo and a live CD, the band released its first full length studio CD in 2001.  The same year, Risby’s Nickel entered a Battle of the Bands contest, beating 44 other bands from around the Bay Area to the $10,000 prize.

San Luis Obispo’s Travis Larson Band is currently causing a big stir with its unique instrumental rock music.  Larson’s guitar playing has been compared to Joe Satriani and Steve Vai, and since the band’s inception in 1996 Larson, bassist Jennifer Young and drummer Dale Moon have been dazzling audiences across the country with their chops.  The band has released three CDs and a concert DVD, all of which have garnered rave reviews in the US and abroad.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, July 14, 2005

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