band playing live at davis music festival

Davis Music Fest 2023

Three days, 40 bands, endless music. June 16—18.

By: Edward Bennett for The Dirt

The Davis Music Fest has grown significantly over the past 13-years. Music lovers are in for a treat with huge acts blowing through this quaint town like a pop-up SXSW. The roster reads like a veritable who’s-who of Pitchfork & Indie darlings across so many genres. There’s literally something for everyone across the 3-day event. 

John Vanderslice is a studio genius out of S.F. with strong pop sensibilities, a dizzying array of influences, and crushing lyrical chops on par with Stephen Merritt (of the Magnetic Fields). I’ve seen him rock & pop across the U.S. and his shows are consistently intimate no matter how large or open-air the performance. He recently jumped a groove to plumb JPEGMAFIA and Tierra Whack, so his performance is sure to shake.

In 2020 Iggy Pop said, “Death Valley Girls are a gift to the world.” The quartet of punk rock & roll psychedelic mystics from Southern Ca. underscored that claim with their 2023 release of Islands In the Sky. The unflagging advocates of self-worth pound out addictive rock while diving into holographic duality wherein we are all just simulations.

French Cassettes are indie rock + sunshine pop; emollient music to lose a lazy afternoon to through headphones or Marshall stacks. They veer out from the adjacent sounds of John Vanderslice, Sparklehorse, and Cracker into heady space fuzz bookended by bags full of acoustic accouterments.

Fashionista Boyfriend is a Sacramento vaporwave pop outfit that slides between M83 and Junobot. Lush synths and foggy drum machines wander through saturated pads and wavering vocals.

Kaz Mirblouk is psych rock diving into sounds of Hooverii and a curious sonic bridge between elements of early Jesus & the Mary Chain and Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins.

Maita is a prolific group out from Oregon that probes a triangle between Weezer, Lana Del Rey, and The Wild Reeds. Soaring female lyrical composition and delivery with aggressive fingerstyle guitar and sashaying angular distortion that gels … tk

Spacewalker is a funktronic artist from Sacramento. Think minimalist Salt-N-Peppa crossed with Bootsy Collins, but with more cowbell and unhinged drum machines. I cannot wait to hear them live.

Wolf Jett cranks cosmic mountain music aimed at catharsis; rising to the joy of letting go in an age of too much let gone.

Josiah Johnson just wow. Josiah parted ways with his old band, The Head and the Heart, to birth something beautiful in his heart-melting 2022 “Every Feeling on a Loop.” Josiah has been tight-lipped about his work since the release, but he has been drilling into soul and post-punk and experimenting with instrumentation that is refreshingly difficult to pinpoint. Spiritualized’s ‘Ladies & Gentlemen we are Floating in Space’, but Josiah carves out new territory for himself while leaving the past behind.

Details subject to change; check for updates here.

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