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Festival Follows Eclectic Avenue

Pop music: Brea event featuring punk, pop, funk and more is a reaction to a frustrating local club scene.

September 12, 1997|JOHN ROOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Skie Bender has channeled her frustration with the local music scene into an all-day music festival featuring an eclectic lineup.

Ten bands, covering punk, pop, funk and rockabilly and including all-instrumental and performance artists, will play Saturday as part of the IV (Independent Visions) Festival at the La Vida Roadhouse in Brea.

At $6 a ticket, it's a bargain.

"Most of the time with all-day festivals, it turns into just a bunch of punk or ska bands, kind of like a wall of one-dimensional noise," said Bender, who organized the event and is the lead singer of one of the scheduled punk-rock acts, the Fire Ants. "So I wanted to present bands reflecting a variety of sounds."

Bender offers this rundown on some of the day's talent: "Rosemary's Billygoat is artistic and visually oriented, while All Day Wire is fun and funky. Mystery Train is this cool rockabilly band. Ya know, a mix of good stuff like that."

Certain to be absent, though, are trendy, fashion-conscious bands that are cashing in on what's currently hot in the pop market.

"I wanted bands who play more from their heart, who have remained true to their vision, rather than just following the fashion of the day," she said. "These musicians know it's hard to get recognition, but they keep plugging away because it's what they love."

*

Take Jon Melkerson, a singer-songwriter-guitarist from Huntington Beach. Formerly of Eggplant and Eli Riddle, Melkerson now fronts the guitar-rock band Lunar Rover, considered to be one of the best indie-rock bands around. But despite his immense talent, his bands have been met with commercial indifference.

Part of the problem, Melkerson says, is the vastness of Orange County works against attracting record industry attention and fostering a communal vibe among bands.

"I think the biggest problem is that there is no downtown in Orange County, where there are a bunch of clubs within walking distance," he said. "Everything is so spread out that it's easy to get overlooked or feel cut off."

"But I'm sure this type of festival--with 10 bands at the same place on the same day--will help some," said Melkerson, adding that he plans to take advantage of the day's lineup. "It's a cool, rustic venue and I know I'm really looking forward to seeing Gasoline; they remind me a lot of [disbanded punk power trio] Firehose."

Bands in order of appearance: Jack Rabbit Cortez and the Vericose Veins, Moonwash, Flavor, Lunar Rover, All Day Wire, Gasoline, Fire Ants, Fred Wilson F.B.I., Rose Mary's Billygoat and Mystery Train.

* The IV (Independent Visions) Festival takes place from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday at the La Vida Roadhouse, 6105 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea. $6. All ages. (714) 996-0720.

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