The crowds at local clubs will look a little different this weekend, with music bizzers from across the country flying in for Gavin's SF02, the second round of the annual music convention. Headquar-tered in the Press Club, SF02 features panels, cocktail parties, and live band showcases at over 30 local venues. But unlike schmoozeathons like CMJ and New Music Seminar, SF02 is intended to have a low-key, grass-roots feel.
“SF02 is not the kind of event where people are shaking your hand and looking over your shoulder to see if anybody more important is behind you,” says Bonnie Simmons, who is co-organizing SF02 with Queenie Taylor.
“South by Southwest is considered the granddaddy of a certain convention philosophy, a casualness which has been a sort of model for us. You could compare the scenes in Austin and S.F.: They share a sense of humor and fun, although the music is different. But SXSW this year seemed very, very big, which is not a negative aspersion, though at this time we feel the right thing for us to do is focus on regional, unsigned music.”
Things kick off Thurs, May 18 (to run through Sun, May 21), with a musician-oriented gabfest with Deborah Iyall moderating. Elliot Cahn of Cahn-Man Management (which handles Green Day; see profile on Page 11) will deliver the keynote address the following morning; other highlights include “Rock Jeopardy” and the second annual Rock Walk (held in conjunction with Bay to Breakers). In the spirit of SF02, the panels are geared toward people relatively new to the business, covering topics as varied as on-line music, publishing deals, touring, radio format and publicity
As for the heart of SF02 — the music — the lineup is more eclectic this year; Simmons comments that a much higher percentage of bands who sent in tapes were granted showcase slots this time around. In response to remarks that urban music got short shrift at SF01, Kevin Clark organized nightly R&B, funk, reggae and “beat of the street” at Geoffrey's Inner Circle in Oakland.
“The East Bay is an important part of the local music scene,” Clark says, “and we wanted to make sure it gets the credit it deserves.”
Interested parties with $175 can still register by calling 495-3200, although all club events are open to the public. “The best thing [people] can do is just be a fan and pick this weekend to see their favorite groups,” Simmons says. “Nothing shows a healthier music scene — or puts a band in a better light — than a packed club.”
So to make things easier, we've tagged the showcases in our club listings and highlighted a host of SF02 bands.
Now there's no excuse to stay home.
By Sia Michel