SXSW 2013 Bands I Wish I Had Seen

Earlier this week I posted about bands I saw at SXSW, however, there's always bands you wish you saw but for whatever reason, you never did get that opportunity.  This is my list of artists I wish I had seen this year, bands that I highly recommend, some of who's songs are my favorites right now.

Kitten - I honestly tried three times to see this LA band of 18 year old musicians and missed them each time due to schedule changes at the venues. Their vocalist Chloe Chaidez is a cross between Karen O and Siouxsie Sioux; add to that an 80's revival sound and I can't get enough of it! 

Foxes - the first time I heard this song I fell in love with it instantly; this UK singer has an EP out and is currently working on full album which I can't wait to hear! I also recommend you check out "Clarity" by ZEDD to hear her vocals on a good dance track.

Bastille - an impressive indie-flavored pop quartet from London that are topping the charts for a good reason; I'm even more blown-away after seeing this a capella / acoustic video. 

Haim - these valley girl sisters have a reminiscent feel of Fleetwood Mac incorporated with a modern R&B pop sound; I just want to dance along with them. 

Alt-J - very original English alt-rock band who's music is full of layers with hints of folk and pop; my personal favorite is the song "Dissolve Me" but there's no video yet.

San Cisco - this Australian four-piece is getting a lot of attention lately and I was curious how well the 19 year old band members would perform live; they definitely have potential.

Petite Noir - Chris Ely on my management roster knows Yannick Ilunga from his time in South Africa so I wanted to touch base with him in Austin. Sadly his only non-badge required show was at same time as Green Day, so I missed him by 30 minutes.

Twenty One Pilots - you can hear Eminem's influence in this duo that consists of a rapper/pianist and live drummer, who actually does a back flip during their performances; plus you can't help but sing along to this catchy tune!

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - the fact that they hit number one without being on a major label proves the music industry is changing. They were the must-see act this year but I didn't want to deal with hours of waiting in line and sadly got my RSVP too late that would have let me cut the line at Woodies Awards.

King Loses Crown - I hung with these SF guys quite a bit even though I didn't get a chance to see them play, but I can vouch that they are amazing live and this video is absolutely incredible!

I really hope you enjoy some of these artists as much as me!  xoxo



SXSW 2013 Review

As expected, I had a blast at SXSW this year even though I didn't get to see some of the artists/bands I really wanted to catch.  I was happy to hang out with some great touring bands, including Eliquate, Alabaster, Fight The Quiet, King Loses Crown, and Death Valley High, plus stayed with my wonderful friends Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, who blow me away with their talent, generosity, and hospitality.  The best part was that I won tickets to see Green Day live at ACL Live/Moody Theater, as well as to the screenings of both their documentary films Broadway Idiot and Cuatro through their Idiot Nation fanclub! Did I mention I caught Billy Joe's hat!!!  Seriously the BEST Green Day show I've experienced, plus having San Jose band Stickup Kid as opener gives me hope that Pounders will make it someday!

Here's a list of some of the bands I saw and why I enjoyed them:

Fitz And The Tantrums - great high energy band that gets the audience going with their pop-rock meets soul sound, so I was bummed that I missed the first half of their set; might just be my favorite set of the festival.

A Silent Film - I'm a sucker for UK indie bands that bring back that classic 80's new wave sound, plus the vocalist hits all those notes perfectly live. I met the band after their set and they were so stoked I bought their new album that they autographed my CD and gave me the best hugs. I love a band that knows how to make a fan feel special!

On An On - a new discovery from a SXSW playlist on Spotify; a bit too mellow for my mood at the time, but still very beautiful to experience live.

The Limousines - couldn't miss the chance to see these Bay Area favorites showcase music from their new album Hush; not only did I love all the new songs, I also loved the venue's well suited lighting and ambiance that fit perfectly with this duo's electro-pop sound.

Death Valley High - my SF boys did a great job rockin' the Texas Rockfest outdoor stage playing songs off their forthcoming album; I especially loved their cover of "F**k The Pain Away" by Peaches.

Fight The Quiet - these Arizona alt-rockers have made Nashville their new home and just released their new EP The City Below; sadly the venue's sound gear wasn't up to par, but the band handled it like champs and still had the audience lovin' every moment of it!

Alabaster - my Seattle friends showed off their new songs that are fresher and catchier than anything Paramore is putting out these days; makes you wonder why they haven't broke into the mainstream yet.

The Material - memorable female-fronted LA band that grabs your attention with powerful vocals over their power rock sound, yet with a touch of emotionally charged ballads in the mix.

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades - this talented Austin duo will blow you away with songs like "Space Jam" that will not only make you laugh, but amaze you with KG's harmonica playing and Nate's charm; their the new Tenacious D!

Eliquate - honestly didn't see them play at SXSW as I wanted to, but have seen them play in the bay, so it's only fair I give this Santa Cruz hip hop band credit for being all around amazing guys with great songs!

Later this week I'll post about the bands I wanted to see but missed!



Old Radio Interviews

About 5 years ago, I was managing South Bay bands Jade of Days and Point 3 and working very closely with The Moderna Complex.  My friend Tavius had a DJ slot at KSCU (Santa Clara University) and we had some fun interviews with him.  Feel free to check out the recordings of those on-air radio sessions.  :-)



Why Bands Should Book With Barb Rocks

Barb Rocks may not book every venue and every weekend in the south bay, not because it hasn't been offered to me, but because I choose to put on a few top notch shows every month at the best venues in town. This gives me the time to put together quality shows by organizing well thought-out line-ups with good drawing professional bands, without over-saturating the market. It's no wonder that Barb Rocks shows are known as the best shows in the south bay with the most consistent draw and best payout!

Some promoters like to talk big and make false promises, but that's not what you get when you book with Barb Rocks. Instead, you get a well-rounded experience that bands and fans rave about. My goal has always been to put on well-attended shows that everyone can enjoy from beginning to end, so that the venues, bands, and fans have an unforgettable experience. For over 7 years I have established myself as the most reputable promoter for rock shows in San Jose, and I'm proud of this accomplishment. Plus I use the best sound guys in the South Bay that have great PA equipment, so that everyone gets to experience the best sound quality while enjoying the show.

Even though I may be booked up to 3 months ahead, I also have connections with venues that need open slots filled on shows, so even though those are not Barb Rocks shows, it still helps bands get shows at venues. My network and connections run deep and all over the west coast and I will always try to help out bands as much as possible. So if I can't get you on one of my shows, I can at least help bands get on other shows.

I pay out bands 70-100% of door monies collected at the show based on draw, minus expenses incurred by the show (ie. flyer design, door guy, sound).  If the show does well and the bar sales are high, then the higher the percentage bands get paid out.  I pride myself on running on organized, well-booked shows, and have the reputation to back that up. Feel free to check out the band testimonials on the "About" page and see what they say about me.

If you're looking to book shows with me, use the contact form and provide me with your band name, URL with music samples, list of venues and bands you have played with, accurate estimate of draw numbers on both weeknights and weekends, whether your primary draw is under or over 21, and referrals if you have them. My show dates are always listed on my page, so please let me know what date(s) you have in mind to play. Please note that if four bands are already listed under a particular date, that means that show is already fully booked.

It's also important for bands to know that they should spread out their shows in the same market at least 3-4 weeks apart for best results. Let's keep the venues, promoters, bands, and fans happy and make sure that each show draws well and is a success for everyone involved!!



Santa Cruz Artist Stormy Strong Signed to Barb Rocks Management!

It gives me great joy to announce that Santa Cruz artist Stormy Strong has signed management deal with me!  Stormy is a very talented singer/songwriter that has won three songwriting contests for his song "Save You" from Billboard World Songwriting Contest, Great American Songwriting Contest, and Disc Maker's Indie Music World Series, plus his song "Sail Away" won The Best Music You Have Never Heard on KGO Radio in 2007.

Stormy's song "Jumpstart The Heart" was chosen as #1 in "Rick's Picks 2012" on 'The Best Radio You Have Never Heard' podcast, which also included songs from Smashing Pumpkins, Regina Spektor, Arcade Fire, Rage Against The Machine!

Stormy's unique cover of The Pixies "Where is My Mind?" has been popular on iTunes, Spotify, Rdio, Mog, and iHeart Radio.  It's also the song that originally caught my attention 6 years ago when I first booked Stormy at the Cupertino Brit!  His new EP "Take Her Down" was recorded with music industry icons Lyle Workman (Frank Black, Todd Rundgren, Beck), Sean Beavan (Guns N' Roses, Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails), Tim Narducci (Systematic) and Chris Manning (Jellyfish).  Since 1996, Stormy Strong’s brand of "alternative saltwater rock"sinks in with razor sharp hooks, honest bitter lyrics and raw emotion, biting with an unforgettably addictive sting.

It's an honor to work with such a talented songwriter, so please welcome him to the Barb Rocks family!  I'm working on some show bookings for Stormy, so stay tuned for announcements and keep supporting local music.  You never know, you might just see a well-known pounder slaying drums for Stormy! ;-)



Order Your Custom Barb Rocks Clothing Items!

The wait is finally over!  I can officially take orders for Barb Rocks logo-printing clothing items!  Instead of just buying a stack of shirts in one color and various sizes, I've decided to give you more custom options:

1) Give me an item of clothing you want printed with my logo.  It can be a tshirt, tank top, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, etc. in any color.  Cost for silk-screen is only $5!

2) Choose a clothing item from below links; just let me know which item, your size and the color you want, and I will give you exact pricing.



Long Sleeve Shirts:

Hoodies (logo would print on back):

You can also browse through rest of American Apparel site to see other options, though I will need to clear your selection with my vendor to ensure it will work with silk screen printing.

Once your price is determined and item is on order, you can PayPal the money to me.  I need a total of 50 items to get the order started.  It's all pretty easy, so please make your selections!

Thank you for your support!



All City Elite added to Barb Rocks growing Management Roster!

I'm happy to announce San Jose's very own All City Elite has decided to work with me as their band manager!  All City Elite, A.C.E.s as it is commonly referred to, is a collaboration between various Bay Area recording artists and musicians who were looking to create an exciting new sound, with broad appeal, but without being confined by specific genre trappings. This, along with an energetic stage performance and a strong focus on the digital distribution of their media, has already led to an impressive fan turn out and overwhelming support from friends, family, and colleagues alike.

Having known Rob Hurtado for years through the Jade of Days friend circuit, I was excited to see him perform with ACE last year when they opened for Filter; a very high-energy show that Pounders were also a part of.  This Saturday will be ACE's first time playing a Barb Rocks show and I'm stoked to see this lively band in action once more!  In the process of booking ACE for the show, we started chatting about their management needs and it turns out, they were looking for a local manager that could help them get more shows, press coverage, radio airplay, and overall better exposure in Silicon Valley and beyond.  Considering I specialize in just that, mostly in the local market, and am a fan of their music, we found that we were a perfect fit to work together.  I'm very excited for this new endeavor and look forward to working with such a musically talented group!  Help me welcome All City Elite to the growing Barb Rocks "Empire"!



Barb Rocks growing her management roster with South Bay's very own Chris Ely!

Chris Ely first contacted me in June (2012), referred by the talented Dewey Rogge, and I could tell by our first phone conversation that we would get along well and do great things together.  There was just something natural and easy about our conversation, two like-minded people that love music and just want to share that passion with the world.  It took five months to finally get Chris and his band on one of my shows, but I knew in my gut that it would be a good show and that it would lead to a solid business relationship.  His song "Lost Souls" moved me the first time I heard it, and to this day, I'm still smitten by that song.  Today, I'm happy to announce that Chris and his band have decided to work with me as their manager, and I look forward to our journey together!

I encourage you all to check out Chris and his band at their next show, Wednesday, November 28th at The Blank Club, playing with Drop Dead Sixty and Cosmic Machine (21+ FREE show)!

Chris Ely's band consists of Gus Fjelstrom (bass), Nick Grant (drums), and Nick Tresko (guitar/keys).  Chris and I both feel that they need to come up with a name that suits them, so if you have any suggestions, let's hear 'em!  Chris Ely & The ___________?


Chris Ely began his musical journey in the San Francisco rock scene.  Originally a bassist, he first picked up a microphone when he was elected to sing in a newly formed band.  Overcoming his shyness, he learned to embrace the role of lead singer.  A year later, Chris seized an opportunity that led him to move to Africa in 2001. As a songwriter, his music took new shape and purpose.  He was forever changed from witnessing the immense poverty and plight of those suffering from HIV/AIDS.  After eight years oversees, he could no longer neglect his passion for music and songwriting.  Since the prospects of the music scene in Africa were murky at best, Chris decided to return home to California.

In the Fall of 2009, he took a job as a high school teacher.  He utilized his first summer off by crafting a fresh sound while crammed into a new apartment.  But before embarking on a solo project, he played in two bands, as well as offering his talents as a bassist to a local hip-hop artist.  Eventually, at the repeated request of friends, he began work on a solo project.  As Chris fine tuned his new sounds, a story began to unfold in the songs while he grappled with American culture and the life he had recently left behind.  These songs became a diary of his recent journey called "Can’t Stay for Long."

Between the edgy rock riffs and atmospheric synthesizers, something honest and refreshing emerges in "Can’t Stay for Long."  Chris has a way of mending tense and complicated moments with his soothing voice.  Coupled with a distaste for politics and the ache of broken relationships, his vulnerable lyrics invoke optimism in the human soul.



I am now managing San Jose darlings POUNDERS!

I'm sure many of you already know who the Pounders are since they've been leaving quite an impression throughout the Bay Area when they perform, but for those of you who haven't discovered them yet, it's about time you get DOWN TO POUND!

Imagine Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day) with Travis Barker (Blink-182) laying the foundation of the music, mix in some heavy Les Claypool (Primus) influenced grooves of a self-proclaimed "Bass God," and you have the wonderful formula that makes up Pounders.  This trio literally owns the stage with their electrifying stage antics, creating buzz each time they perform, leaving audiences longing for more.

With the release of their new album Chasing The Sun in Winter 2010, Pounders are eager to get their music out to the masses.  In the upcoming weeks the band will be working with San Jose filmmaker Frank Door and his company Element 151 on a music video for the album's namesake single, as well as opening a new all-ages venue in Los Gatos to appease the younger audience and grow the local music scene.

Pounders have already had the honor of playing Vans Warped Tour in 2008, the "Bring It Back Tour" stage at Left Coast Live in 2009, the Morgan Hill Friday Night Music Series and Wine Festival, Santana Row Music Series, the Whiskey A Go-Go in LA, and various Hot Topic stores throughout California, plus they shared the stage with Mike Herrera of MxPx at their own CD Release show.  With even bigger things are in the works, everyone will soon be DOWN TO POUND!

I encourage you all to check out Pounders at their next show, which will be announced soon!  Also, check them out on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter:



Metro Best of 2010 staff pick: Best South Bay Scene Queen

"We can't take credit for calling Barbara Wahli the queen of the South Bay scene; it was actually a DJ on FCC Free Radio. We're not even sure it's a great title for her, as she's about the farthest thing from a diva we can imagine. But it is admittedly catchier and more glamorous than what we'd say, which is simply that Barbara Wahli is the hardest-working woman in South Bay rock.  Not only does she promote Barb Rocks shows all around the South Bay, but she's also a real advocate for local bands.  If she hears something she really likes, she will champion that band, and in a few cases (A Four Star Affair, Drop Dead Sixty, Letters Make Words) even manage them.  Her energy is infectious, and her ear for local talent remarkable."



I am managing East Bay band Drop Dead Sixty!

For those lucky enough to be at my August 21st show, you were in for a treat!  It was the first time Drop Dead Sixty performed on a Barb Rocks show and they were AMAZING!  Imagine Stone Temple Pilots meets Muse with a theatrical front-man with vocal styling similar to Michael Hutchence (INXS) that even Scott Weiland would appreciate!  I was so impressed with this band that I asked to work with them, and they happily accepted my management offer this past weekend.

Drop Dead Sixty is comprised of guitarist/keyboardist Gavin Billy Cougar, vocalist Michael Kerosene, bassist/backup vocalist Joe Dalva, and percussionist Matt Young. After a four-year-long stint in high school with a band called Calibur, life-long friends Mike and Gavin decided to reunite musically and start something new, which was the beginning of Drop Dead Sixty in January of 2009. Having played a couple of shows with (in separate bands), and keeping in touch with Matt Young, he was the first choice and immediately recruited as the drummer for the new project, along with Mike's brother, Matt, who would fulfill the role of bass guitarist.  By the end of 2009, Mike's brother parted ways with the project and soon Joe Dalva answered an ad to try out for the band. With the newly recruited Joe Dalva, Drop Dead Sixty was again ready to move forward, first by re-emerging as a live act in April 2010, then announcing a new full-length album, due out by Winter 2010.

I encourage you all to check out DDS on Fri Sept 24 at Mountain Charley's with Almost Honest (8-10pm) and/or Sat Oct 16 at X Sports Bar + Music Lounge at Homestead Lanes with California Is Burning and Hello Monster (all ages with full bar).  Also, check them out on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter:



Barb Rocks is now working with Cadent!

Barb Rocks is proud to announce that she is now working with Cadent, an up-and-coming female-fronted Bay Area band. Cadent features a wonderful blend of rock, pop, alternative base with a touch of R&B vocals that makes them a force to reckon with! With such few female-fronted bands in Northern California, it's refreshing to hear such a mature sound out of the "younger" band with power-house vocals that touch your soul. Currently recording at Castle Ultimate Studios, the band has already released three of their tracks, with plans to release a full album soon. Plus Cadent just placed 3rd in the San Jose edition of Your Music Olympicks after being selected "Editor's Choice" by Your Music Magazine. It is my pleasure to work with such a diverse band that I feel will take the local scene by storm, with hopes they might just be the next Paramore!

Check out Cadent's websites:



Nemesis Media teams up with local bay area promoter Barb Rocks!

We are pleased to announce that Nemesis Media  will be teaming up with bay area promoter Barb Rocks in an effort to better serve the local music community in and around the bay area. Combined, both companies can offer bands a wide variety of services which include, but are not limited to,

Show Booking
Tour Booking
Professional Recording Services
Short Run CD Manufacturing
Apparel Manufacturing
Music Videos
Artist Management
Event Production

We couldn't be happier to be teaming up with one of the best promoters in the bay area! Bands who are interested in any of the above listed services, please feel free to contact us or Barb Rocks at the appropriate websites listed below. As always, thank you to everyone for their continued support; without you there would be no scene.



Metro's Best Live Music Venues 2009

Congrats to the VooDoo Lounge and Britannia Arms for placing 2nd and 3rd respectively as "Best Live Music Venue" according to Metro readers. I realize it says Britannia Arms - multiple locations - in the issue, but we all know which Brit they are referring to since the Downtown one only does DJ music and the Almaden one only has cover bands, so I'm confident that it's mainly the Cupertino location that is the reason they are being listed in this category considering all the rock, hip hop, open mics, and other live music shows going on there. The Blank got 1st place as they have for many years, but it's an honor to know that my hard work is paying off and people know where to go for the best bands! Who knows, maybe one of my venues will make 1st place next year!! Keep supporting local music and the local music scene and let's grow San Jose!



Important Barb Rocks News

I wanted to thank all of you for your ongoing support of Barb Rocks Presents. These past three years have been very exciting and quite fulfilling for me as a person and as a staple in the local music scene. Barb Rocks Presents has surpassed my expectations long ago and it's nice to be recognized as a leader in the scene, as well as respected for all my hard work and devotion. Being part of the San Jose music scene's revitalization has been very rewarding so far and I look forward to bringing you many more quality shows.

West Fest and Left Coast Live have brought my knowledge and experience to a whole new level and I hope that many more big things will continue to happen. I've recently been contacted about booking another venue in downtown San Jose, with hopes to bring more good live entertainment to the downtown scene, including weekend dates! I will be announcing the venue and shows as soon as more details are finalized, and I'm sure you will be very excited about the news and opportunity!

Upon recommendation from a business colleague, I wanted to inform everyone about one big change in the Barb Rocks enterprise. Denver Nitze, which some of you may know as Naomi Thomas, is no longer an associate of mine. After almost a year of working for me, Denver has decided to start her own booking/promotions business working with some of the same venues and bands as myself. Therefore, I wanted to let everyone know that Denver no longer represents me or Barb Rocks Presents, nor are her shows and bookings related to me or my business. I wish her the best of luck in her endeavors and hopefully there will be no conflicts due to our mutual business connections and associations.

I thought that this would also be a good time to get some feedback from everyone in regards to Barb Rocks Presents and how you would like to see my business expand. I've always enjoyed getting feedback from people I work with in regards to their experience with me so I hope to hear from you.

I'm excited about this upcoming summer of shows, including my birthday bash on Thurs July 2 at the Cupertino Brit, as well as Your Music Olympicks battle of the bands starting on June 20, with the finals on Fri Aug 7 at the VooDoo Lounge. I hope to see all of you out there supporting local music. I truly believe that right now is the time for San Jose to come alive and grow with more live music. Let's make it happen!