TVD Live: Phono Del Sol Music Festival, 7/13

The third annual Phono Del Sol music and food festival took San Francisco hipsters by storm this past weekend. It was a perfect mix of indie rock, Ray-Bans, food trucks, and beer.

While I am not a huge fan of this type of festival, I was going to see one band in particular, Cool Ghouls. This four-piece psychedelic garage pop band is all the rage here in San Francisco, and for damn good reason. Even though they went on very early in the day, these guys would leave a lasting impression that the rest of the afternoon had to live up to.

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Cool Ghouls recently released their debut, and it’s quite the solid record. Their sound falls somewhere in between early Beatles, The Byrds, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. It’s low-fi rock ‘n’ roll with big harmonies, big soul, and a live horn section that truly sets them apart. I really loved this band’s set and would have been completely satisfied with my Saturday afternoon seeing them alone.

But good thing I stayed because even though I wasn’t too familiar with the rest of the day’s line-up, it would turn out to be a stellar one, for the most part, that is. Phono Del Sol is produced by The Bay Bridged—a non-profit project focused on supporting and promoting the best in San Francisco Bay Area Independent Music.

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After the amazing set by the Cool Gouhls, who by the way had vinyl and cassettes of their new record on sale (super cool), I stopped by to see Blouse play on the second stage. Not bad, but not really my thing at all. A bit too synthy and snoozy, to be honest. I think they would have sounded much better in a dark club instead of a sun-drenched stage, but that’s just me.

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Social Studies would take the main stage next. These guys (and a girl) were absolutely spectacular. At moments, it reminded me of early Muse with a female vocalist. They truly had the songs and the stage presence to make the sunny afternoon much more enjoyable—one of the highlights of the day for sure. Their new record is called Developer, and it’s one of the better records of 2013.

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Next up was another pleasant surprise, a San Francisco trio called Painted Palms that was discovered a few years ago by of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes. These guys were fantastic and reminded me, for lack of a better description, of a modern-day Soup Dragons crossed with Jesus Jones. Really cool stuff, and I would absolutely go see them again.

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The second-to-last band of the day, and the final band to take the main stage were local legends Thee Oh Sees. I had never seen these guys before, but this afternoon music festival was about to get bitch-slapped. These guys were absolutely incredible live. One of the best live shows I have seen, to be quite honest. They were like a cross between Refused and Queens of the Stone Age. A punk-infused garage-psych sound that begged the question “Why in the hell are these guys not HUGE?” Well, apparently they are, and I missed it. This crowd was going bonkers, and I may have discovered my new favorite local band.

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There are a ton more photos of these guys below, as they were the true highlight of the day.

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And finally…. Yacht took the stage to end the day on a high note. This LA-based dance-pop-electro foursome has shared the stage with LCD Soundsystem, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Vampire Weekend, just to name a few. They had a great energy and really finished off the day strong. It was essential to calm the crowd down from the raucous Oh Sees sets just minutes earlier.

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Cool Gouls

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Blouse

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Social Studies

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Painted Palms

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DJ Aaron Axelson from Live 105 spinning in between sets

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Thee Oh Sees

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Yacht

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  • http://thevinyldistrict.com oliviaung

    I’ve seen the Thee Oh Sees twice now, and I can confirm that they will (figuratively) bitch-slap any audience.

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