As a Coachella first-timer two weekends ago, I thought it was great—but only to a point. There were no surprises or spontaneity from the bands, at least on Friday, the day I went. Instead, massive corporate promotions were the rule, as well as some serious hand-over-fist profiteering at the expense of fest refugees who were hoping to stave off hunger, heat and thirst. A festival designed for music-heads to hear some serious aural creativity? Sorry, but Coachella ain’t it.
So how can we keep from becoming jaded in the face of such crass commercialism? Through shows like Rhino Fest. Put together by a gaggle of employees from Claremont’s finest record store—yeah, those things still exist—and going off at the Old Baldy Brewery, Rhino Fest smells like everything we love about good rock shows, without everything we hate about outdoor festivals. There won’t be expansive vistas of parking lots, $10 beers, ghastly porta-potties or any neck craning to catch a possible glimpse of whomever you’re trying to see. Instead, there’ll be lots of great local bands, DJs (who is DJ Spicy Mango? Dunno, but we love him/her already!) and relatively cheap beer—more like an epic all-night rock extravaganza than a festival. (Speaking of sweet, delicious libations, we recommend trying an Old Baldy Brewery exclusive—Mom’s Peach Ale. It’ll get you drunk!)
Local festival notables slotted to play Rhino Fest include the stripped-down and dirty Birthday Party-esque Holy Curtain and the darkly crushing and progressive Lux Nova Umbra Est. Among the out-of-towner must-sees, there’s Iron Mtn., who’ll also bring some spooky, proggy, metalish riffage. The Sea Beasts will also lay some playfully sad, smoggy melodies (and they’re also playing the Saturation Fest—see this week’s music feature for more on that). (Phil Fuller)
Rhino Fest, with Iron Mtn., Gravity Clutch, the Iron Monkeys, the Uncalled For, Lux Nova Umbra Est, the Sea Beasts, the Holy Curtain, DJ Spicy Mango, DJ Whyknot and DJ Christian, at the Old Baldy Brewery, 271 N. 2nd Ave., Upland, (866) 377-6853; www.myspace.com/rhinorecordsclaremont, www.myspace.com/thestonedevents. Fri., 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Free. All ages.