Talkin’ ’bout freedom
As in Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom, which might prove this weekend that eight is not enough
KDVS puts on Operation: Restore Maximum Freedom indie-music festivals each year, and deejay Rick Ele has been involved more or less all of them. So he’s no doubt the go-to guy for the scoop on the 13 bands and hundreds of fans who’ll converge on Woodland’s Plainfield Station for eight hours of unexpected sonic goodness this Saturday. Here’s his lowdown.
Who are you stoked on this year?
I’m especially excited about seeing Nothing People kicking off as twilight dims, because their new album this year, Late Night, is just the perfect nighttime mood setter full of dark wonder. I’m also really excited for the Mantles, because no band in recent memory has pulled off a fuzz-soaked 12-string guitar sound as brilliant as they have. And, of course, I wonder what Mom’s gonna do, given this unusual outdoor setting.
Has the Mantles, Thee Oh Sees and Nodzzz San Francisco-garage-school of sound caught on in Sac?
Of all the Bay Area garage-punk bands, certainly Thee Oh Sees have made the biggest impact here. And maybe the Sic Alps and Hospitals are next, and then Nodzzz and also the Ty Segall family tree of bands. But the Mantles have had a following here from the beginning due to their bassist Matt Roberts, who lived here in Sacto in the ’90s and had been involved in the scene here. His record label put out records by Nar, which was a much-loved band from which the Bananas and FM Knives had sprung.
People in Sac like to make excuses as to why they can’t make the pilgrimage out to O:RMF. Persuade them.
It feels more like a backyard barbecue in the Midwest somewhere once you get here. So even if you don’t know who half these bands are, it can be a really great time to enjoy this really friendly and welcoming yet unexpected vibe. The Plainfield Station is as much the star of the show as any of the bands are.
Where are you booking shows now, and how is the live-show scene in comparison to years past?
Most of my shows are going on at illegitimate spots still, and I haven’t really gotten too many opportunities to book wide-appealing crowd pleasers. … But with Luigi’s [Fun Garden] and Javalounge and now Beatnik Studios, it’s looking pretty positive for all-ages shows. I finally checked out a show at the Fire Escape in Citrus Heights, and that’s probably the best-sounding live show space in the area. When a band I like is playing there, I won’t hesitate to drive out there anymore for sure.
Which O:RMF band flies under the radar but is one you think people shouldn’t miss?
One up-and-comer that I’m really excited about is G.Green, who we added late to O:RMF VIII. G.Green has been playing in Sacramento for about a year now, mostly as a solo act with an acoustic guitar, and sometimes electrified.
Tell me more.
G.Green has been a vehicle for Andrew Henderson, who moved to the Sacramento area from Utah where he began G.Green as a bedroom recording project. He’d recorded some of the songs as noisy indie rock, while others had low-rent electronic accents, and some were plucked on acoustic guitar. He played mostly as a sort of weird-folk troubadour, and I think a lot of people were confused by him or downright hated his music at first. … I’ve had to explain too many times to so many people about why he’s such a special performer.
What’s your fondest O:RMF VIII memory?
I’m very happy that O:RMF VII was the scene of the first O:RMF stage dive during the Mayyors’ set. Next to that, I’d say that the best moment was the feeling of the slightest little breeze on the back of my neck during the stunning psych-rock surge of Eternal Tapestry. It was really hot that day.
How much is that beer at Plainfield Station, again?
Well, it’s probably best not to quote me on that, because the price is subject to change, but last time it was $5 for a big PBR pitcher.