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Six Bands to See at the Adams Avenue Street Fair

The Mattson 2, Tijuana No!, Hexa and other acts to check out this weekend at the free, annual fest
The Mattson 2 | Photo by Andrew Paynter

Attending the Adams Avenue Street Fair should be on any San Diegan’s bucket list. It’s more accessible than the average festival, for a variety of reasons. One of the most important of those is that it’s free—just mosey on over to Adams Avenue and the music, food and revelry is there to be had. It’s also family friendly and conveniently located right in the middle of Normal Heights, so it’s a pretty easy one to walk or bike to.If the festival is part of your weekend plans (and you can drop in and out at your convenience), consider hitting up some of these bands, which are some of the best on the lineup.

Tijuana No! w/ Ceci Bastida

Tijuana No! are a Latin Alternative band that are getting pretty close to the three-decade mark, having originally been fronted by famed Mexican singer/songwriter Julieta Venegas. Their sound blends rock, punk and ska with a political edge, and they’re pretty much legends at this point. See why their legacy endures when they perform with founding keyboardist and vocalist Ceci Bastida.

The Mattson 2

One of the cooler San Diego success stories of late, The Mattson 2 comprises two brothers whose sound swirls and blends genres into something stunning, psychedelic and altogether unique. It’s a little bit pop, a little bit jazz, a little bit surf and a little bit like a dreamy film score. Those in need of a vibes check should put this duo on their agenda.

Bobby & The Pins

Though they’re not the only band with this name (there’s one in Australia, apparently), this band is something of a supergroup of San Diego rock ‘n’ roll veterans, featuring members of Schizophonics, El Vez, Creepy Creeps and Mittens. It’ll be a party!

Cumbia Machin

Cumbia is an old style of music, but Cumbia Machin transforms it into something new. Joaquin Hernandez puts an electronic spin on a generations-old Latin music form and in turn creates a thoroughly modern dance party that’s rooted in tradition.


Last week, local dark pop outfit Hexa held a release party for their new album Sigil Sine—and if you weren’t there you missed a great show. But fear not; their set at Adams Ave. Street Fair should be one of the highlights for sure. Their sound might be incongruous with the hot weather of late, but with a late afternoon slot on Saturday, they’ll provide a darkly stylish transition into the evening.

Scary Pierre

I’d be tempted to recommend this band based on the name alone, which is fun to say. (Try it! Scarrrry Pierrre…) The style of music they play is entirely up my alley, though, kind of a post-punk spin on torch songs. It’s a solid mix of haunted moods and raw power.See the full Adams Avenue Street Fair schedule here.


Adams Avenue Street Fair

September 21 and 22

Adams Avenue in Normal Heights

Other Recommended Shows This Week:

Flying Lotus in 3D (September 19 at House of Blues): The music of Flying Lotus is eclectic and immersive, blending electronic and jazz sounds into a dazzling and unpredictable fusion. And now the L.A. beatmaker has added a 3D visual element to his show, so expect something overwhelming to say the least.The Strawberry Moons (September 24 at Belly Up Tavern): It’s record-releasing season in San Diego, and a lot of the city’s best bands are gearing up to put out new LPs. After a pair of notable release shows last week, here’s another one to put on your radar. The Strawberry Moons comprise current and former members of Shake Before Us and The Burning of Rome, and they have an eclectic approach to pop that ranges from earthy to dreamy. Their new single “Cigarette Hills” is swampy and psychedelic and very cool.Blackalicious (September 24 at The Casbah): Nia, the debut album by Sacramento hip-hop troupe Blackalicious, turns 20 this year. It was a pretty significant album for me in terms of it being an introduction to underground hip-hop, but its feelgood jams remain timeless, even as the landscape of rap music has evolved.

Six Bands to See at the Adams Avenue Street Fair

The Mattson 2 | Photo by Andrew Paynter

By Jeff Terich

Jeff Terich is the music critic behind the blog The Setlist. His writing has been published in Stereogum, Bandcamp Daily, American Songwriter, Fodor's and Vinyl Me Please.

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