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Davis, California

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Major Show, Minor Labels

It’s easy to put off the local music scene as a
subculture of bands that nobody’s ever heard of. Call them indie – the
all-inclusive local category that’s about as descriptive of its music
as “domestic” is to cars.

Yet despite the genre’s sheer diversity of styles, it still manages to pull the underground movement together within the local scene. And at Davis, all students will have the opportunity to get acquainted with many of these artists this weekend.

It’s all happening at the Major, Minor Festival, an all-day event of independent music held at the Old Firehouse on Saturday. The festival will feature 10 local and regional bands, starting at noon and lasting the rest of the day.

Chris Larsen, vocalist and guitarist of Sacramento- and Davis-based band Buildings Breeding, worked in conjunction with KDVS 90.3 FM to put on the show. As the lead coordinator of the event, Larsen contacted and booked each of the bands.

Among the lineup are Davis-based groups such as The Standard Tribesmen and Underground, Underwater, Sacramento artists like Two Sheds and Birds and Batteries as well as Bay Area bands such as The Mumlers and The Botticellis.

“It was an idea I had been kicking around for a while, and I presented it to KDVS and we were able to work out a date,” Larsen said. “They agreed to let me run a show.”

When asked about why he chose the bands he did, Larsen offered no specific selection criteria.

“We [Buildings Breeding] were really bummed on playing shows where we were the only band that sounded like us, and the rest were doing something totally different,” Larsen said. “I just kind of tried to get a collective of bands where it would be a really well-rounded mix, where you can watch band after band and it would all make sense. We all have the same kind of ideals, and we’re all kind of going for the same thing.”

Others see few similarities between the actual sounds of each individual band. The festival’s indie category has little in relation to the styles that will be played, according to Will Sprott, lead vocalist and guitarist of The Mumlers.

“I know personally a few of the bands that are playing on the bill,” Sprott said. “There’s not really any particular similarity. It’s a good variety of different kinds of music.”

“I’ve been playing with a lot of these bands for a couple of years now,” said UC Davis alumna Caitlin Gutenberger, lead vocalist and guitarist of Two Sheds. “They’re all really good, and they write good, honest music.”

The event’s large lineup contrasts with the typical smaller Davis venue, and audiences are expected to fill the Old Firehouse. Many bands prefer the larger setting to the intimate one or two-band show.

“I really like festivals; I think they’re incredible,” Sprott said. “It gets the whole community excited about music, and it gets people to see stuff they wouldn’t normally see.”

Both Gutenberger and Larsen listed the on-campus factor as an advantage for both themselves and audiences since the festival is open to all ages. Other venues such as Sophia’s Thai Kitchen and The G Street Pub, who have featured bands like The Mumlers and Two Sheds in the past, only permit audiences 21 years and over to their shows.

“I think it’s neat to have something like that right on the campus,” Sprott said. “I just think it’s a neat thing to be involved with – these sort of under-the-radar happenings that are going on.”

“It’s just something fun and different to do that doesn’t cost that much money,” Gutenberger said. “If you don’t like one band, the next band might totally be your thing.”


JUSTIN T. HO can be reached at arts@californiaaggie.com.



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