San Diego has no shortage of festivals, street fairs and community gatherings, many of which feature live music and many of which are also free. And a handful of them happen to take place along Adams Avenue in Normal Heights; one is the Adams Avenue Street Fair, which happens every fall. But this Saturday, June 1, is Art Around Adams, a free, family-friendly event that includes art, live music, crafts and other wares. And considering it’s a showcase for a lot of great local talent, I decided to pick a handful of bands playing the fest that attendees should check out. Marujah: The self-described “hardest working border band” has long found a unique fusion of Latin Alternative, punk, ska and rock, which makes for a vibrant live show. The band took home a San Diego Music Award for Best World Music Album, and with good reason. They’re the best at what they do, and arguably the only band of their kind in San Diego. (3 p.m., Kensington Club Stage)
The Hiroshima Mockingbirds: Looking to hear some great rock ‘n’ roll? Of course you are! The Hiroshima Mockingbirds are making some extra-fun, psychedelic, garagey rock ‘n’ roll, which is even better when experienced live. And when I say rock ‘n’ roll, here, I mean the purest, rowdiest, most direct meaning of the word. It’s all fuzz, reverb and hooks. (4 p.m., Loudspeaker Main Stage)
Satanic Puppeteer Orchestra: Full disclosure—Professor B. Miller, the mad scientist behind this robot cabaret act, is a good friend of mine. But even if he wasn’t, I’d be going out of my way to tell people to check out this local act, which has been going for more than a decade. It involves a singing robot, and well, do you really need to know more than that? (7 p.m., Lestat’s West Stage)
The Sleepwalkers: One of the bands playing this year’s fest that have been at it longer than most, The Sleepwalkers have been providing the region with soulful, rootsy riffs for 27 years. A band that combines rockabilly, blues, roots rock and cumbia (thus coining the term “cumbia-billy”), The Sleepwalkers are a unique bunch. That fusion of sounds results in a batch of great songs in a uniquely Southwestern style that’s a lot of fun to hear live. I hesitate to say only San Diego could produce a song with this musical makeup, but so far, that’s not wrong. (7 p.m., Blindspot Records Stage)
Parker Meridien: One of my favorite things about the San Diego music scene is not just its eclecticism, but that it’s also so collaborative. The three members of Parker Meridien all come from different backgrounds; John Rieder plays in sludgy duo Secret Fun Club, Nathan Hubbard is an accomplished jazz and experimental drummer/percussionist, and Parker Edison has long been one of the city’s best emcees. But together they create a funky, immediate and awesome live-band hip-hop sound. (6:30 p.m., Loudspeaker Main Stage)
See the rest of the lineup here.
Other Recommended Shows This Week:
The Specials (May 30-31, House of Blues): Iconic two-tone ska group The Specials are celebrating the 40th anniversary of their debut album. But this tour is more than a nostalgia trip. They also happen to have a new album, Encore, which was released earlier this year. Hear a mix of the new and old (here’s hoping they play “Friday Night, Saturday Morning”!).Dani Bell and the Tarantist (June 1, Soda Bar): You could randomly pick any of the Redwoods Music family names out of a hat and be guaranteed a fun show. Dani Bell and The Tarantist make tuneful, catchy indie pop, made all the more theatrical with masquerade attire.The Creepy Creeps (June 1, The Casbah): While we’re on the subject of masked bands, there’s none more notable (or infamous?) in San Diego than the Creepy Creeps. They’ve made their name on playing high-energy shows full of surf rock while clad in any number of oddball face masks: Luchadors, gorillas, you name it.
Parker Meridien | Photo: Kelly Hubbard