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Get Outta Here 

Two big fests to get you off your ass and outta town

Wednesday, Aug 9 2006
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It's easy to get the feeling that there's no need to leave San Francisco. Between lounging in Golden Gate Park, noshing in the Mission, and catching shows all over town, one can quickly become bound within the comfortable cocoon that is our incredible city. And yet, there are certain events that force even the most sedentary residents to hit the road — especially unusual out-of-town music festivals. If you feel like getting the hell out of dodge this weekend, there is some truly great music to be had just a ways down south: The annual Quiet Quiet Forest Spectrum holds fort in Big Sur and the inaugural Bleeding Edge Festival explodes into existence in Saratoga.

Bleeding Edge Festival Do you really need a reason to go to the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga? Besides topping the list of the most beautiful places to catch a show in the Bay Area, the venue is also host to one of the most intriguing sonic gatherings 'round these parts in quite some time. Curated by Brett Allen and Robert Crouch, the brand-spankin'-new Bleeding Edge Festival is a one-day event hosting 19 bands on four stages, along with various audio and visual installations littered throughout the site. Highlights include such acts as Yo La Tengo, local electronic experimentalists Matmos with Zeena Parkins, multimedia provocateur William Basinski, and Montreal-based laptoppers Skoltz_Kolgen, among many, many others.

At heart, Bleeding Edge is a celebration of artists pushing musical boundaries to present challenging new experiences for your ears and eyeballs. Everything from the exploratory electronic noise of New York City's Black Dice to the soothing folk of Luke Temple will be on display. The Bleeding Edge is presented in conjunction with the 13th Annual International Symposium of Electronic Art and ZeroOne Festival in San Jose, a weeklong confluence of lectures, concerts, art installations, and film screenings occurring August 7th through the 13th. It's a worthy reason indeed to make the trip down to the South Bay.

Quiet Quiet Forest Spectrum Another jewel of a music happening is taking root just a little longer drive away — the Quiet Quiet Forest Spectrum. Nestled in the pastoral underbelly of Big Sur, this annual event (curated by "Nabob" Shineywater of Brightblack Morning Light) assembles some of the best and brightest of the freak-folk set for a day of intimate, stoned beauty. And this fourth installment is no different, with the likes of Grass (featuring members of Feathers and Espers), British psychedelic outfit Sunroof!, Los Angeles folkies Lavender Diamond, Peruvian traditionalists Huayllipacha, Lungfish side project Daniel Arcus Incus Ululat Higgs, and cowboy folk legend Ramblin' Jack Elliott set to play amid a canopy of redwood trees. And, of course, Brightblack Morning Light — which is also part of the Bleeding Edge lineup — will be there to deliver its awe-inspiring, Southern-tinged rock drone to the gorgeously mellow mix. There's almost no better reason to take a trip away from the city than to bliss out in one of the most beautiful places on Earth with some killer musicians providing the soundtrack. And with Brightblack's new, critically acclaimed album just out on Matador records, this is the opportune time to catch the group up close and personal.

So don't make any excuses — between Bleeding Edge and Quiet Quiet Forest Spectrum, the geographical voyages on display should only begin to match the sonic adventurism collected over the course of one long weekend in the outer Bay Area.

About The Author

Mike Munz

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