Street Scene 2009
The Streets of San Diego – San Diego, CA
8/28 – 8/29/2009
Written by Nadia Ibanez
Fergie – Black Eyed Peas
It’s Monday morning and I’m still recovering from this weekend’s Street Scene 2009. Not only did the heat wear us local San Diegans down, but the intense energy buzzing through East Village was also a huge factor in the amazing music festival.
I think Friday was the best day for the event. We got there around 6 pm and the streets were pretty dead. Maybe it’s the economy, or maybe because the first night launched off on a work/school day, but the lack of people – compared to previous Street Scenes – was definitely apparent. Even the beer gardens were pretty ho hum! We still managed to have a stellar time.
The afternoon lineup was great background music while we walked the streets and checked out the vendors. Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band were the first band on our list of must-see artists. The tiny front man and his band packed quite a punch that night with their set. The Omaha native has a prominent following in San Diego (he’s also known as the poetic and soulful, Bright Eyes) and the crowd was totally into the show. He played some album favorites like “Danny Callahan” and “Souled Out.” That man definitely has a country swagger to his step.
The rest of the evening jumbled into each other. With so many astounding performers on all five stages, it was definitely a feat to map out the evening so you made sure to catch your favorite songs by each performer. We walked the blocks and came across DJ Donald Glaude. He somehow managed to mix Journey with Lady Gaga, Kings of Leon with today’s top 40 rap all stars…pretty cool mash ups.
We walked over to the Zarabanda stage to watch Girl Talk and I’d have to say this might have been my favorite set of the whole weekend. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when we walked into the area. I remember lots of neon colors, streamers flying through the air, about 30 crazy scenesters showing their best moves on stage and some amazing music mash ups of today’s music of all genres blended with tunes from the 80s and 90s. Seriously amazing.
Cake put on a great performance, even though front man, John McCrea, was incessantly complaining about the sound in his crazy neon colored glasses. It took a while for them to play my favorite songs, but it was still enjoyable while we sipped on $7 beers and noshed on $8 bratwursts. Modest Mouse sounded awesome as we walked through the streets between acts. There was a huge crowd there and they played their top hits. Indie band and this year’s groups to watch, Cage the Elephant, also put on a great performance on the Green Stage. The crowd went nuts during “Back Against the Wall” and “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked.” I’d definitely would love to see them again when they come into town.
And now for the headliners. I loved Black Eyed Peas pre-Fergalicious, and I’d have to say their performance was a little lackluster in my eyes. The first few songs, minus “Let’s Get It Started,” were from the new album and were a little whacky. Sure, the LED screen was pretty cool behind them, the sound was clear, but seriously…who has their dancers come out with robot costumes and gives a shout out to Transformers?! Fergie, I think I liked you more when you peed your pants.
We got down to East Village a bit earlier on Saturday. Our first stop was Public Enemy on the Fulana stage, who I have to mention were more than 30 minutes late to start. Either I was looking at the wrong set times, or Flava Flav was too busy hitting on the stage hands, but it was kind of annoying. By the time Public Enemy came on, we could only watch one or two sounds because we wanted to head over to see Busta Rhymes. There must have been something flowing in the water, because he too, was more than 30 minutes to start. Not cool, guys! And because of his tardiness, he had a shorter set and never really finished a whole song.
Silversun Pickups rocked out later that evening and I have to say that my girl crush on bassist Nikki Monninger grew exponentially after seeing the band live. I had been waiting to see Thievery Corporation all month long. I’ve been a huge fan of the group for a few years now and they played all of my favorites. Every singer and musician in the band was beautiful and had an exotic touch to their look and sound. The swarms of fans were swaying, dancing, singing…couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Jack White’s (of The White Stripes) new band, The Dead Weather, also made their debut in San Diego and added a rocker, bluesy, rockabilly sound to this year’s event. Front woman, Alison Mosshart certainly stole the spotlight while Jack tore it up on the drums and guitar.
M.I.A. was Saturday’s headliner and she put on a great lights and laser show along with her unique musical sound. She undoubtedly knew how to get her fans amped – even if that meant throwing plastic horns into the crowd to get them excited about her music and enlisting a brigade of crazy dancers in florescent outfits to bombard the stage during every song.
It was amazing to be a part of 25th anniversary of Street Scene and to see the event evolve into a renowned musical festival. Can’t wait until Street Scene 2010!