Currently situated on the scenic waterfront of Laguna Lake, Shabang has evolved from a small get-together on Cuesta Ridge to a full-fledged festival, complete with art, food trucks, games, and more.
For those readers new to SLO and interested in delving into the local culture of our city, Shabang serves as a sampler to the rich local music and art scene.
Shabang has been a mainstay in the local art scene of San Luis Obispo for a few years now, but it has evolved in popularity over time to the point that it is now a full fledged music and art festival. What was once a small get together amongst friends with common passions for music and creativity, is now a cultural staple for the local area, presenting not only local bands and artists, but bigger out-of town bands, food trucks, and other activities to keep festival-goers fully immersed and ready for more.
Once held at the high peak of Cuesta Ridge, Shabang has since changed location to scenic waterfront of Laguna Lake, conveniently located in SLO city limits and accessible by bike, public transit, and Shabang’s very own shuttle service.
The expansive background of Laguna Lake is the perfect venue for this festival as the hodgepodge of music and culture blends nicely with the natural atmosphere of the park. Concert goers share blankets to lounge upon the dry brush of the park and view the acts in natural comfort as a crowd of music fans general gathers closer to the stage to mosh and get closer to the bands.
Scattered around the festival grounds are booths for food, merchandise, and activities put on by local businesses. Food will be available from local food trucks in addition to a special beer garden put on by our very own SLO Brew.
Formed in Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2010, this eclectic group of rockers and poets is donning the Shabang stage as this edition’s headliners. The lovechild of White Fang bandmates and life-long friends Rikky Gage and Kyle Handley, their first album was released by the Gnar Tapes label as a cassette in late 2010, setting the standard for their lo-fi analog sound.
Not different from the analogue odyssey of Beck’s Mellow Gold or “tape” artists such as Ariel Pink or Cleaners of Venus, The Memories present a distinct sound of retro fuzz and genuine DIY. The band has done extensive work with Fullerton, CA’s Burger Records, which further progressed their tape-based sound.
On their most recent release, Royal United Song Service, the band pairs their signature sound with catchy love songs “based on other peoples’ memories,” as Gage describes on their bandcamp.
If you want to experience this six-piece rock outfit performing jingles about love, OK Cupid, and dogs, be sure to stick around for their set at Shabang.
Described on their facebook as “the world’s only certified, real life, technicolor ghost,” Depressed Spector is the solo project of San Luis Obispo’s very own Jake Schoonmaker.
Basing their sound off of ambient guitar melodies and themes of a blissfully eternal afterlife, DS has become a staple in the local scene in SLO, frequenting house shows as well as venues such as SLODOCO. If you enjoy the spacey instrumentals of early Pink Floyd and heartfelt noise of bands like Jesus and Mary Chain or Flaming Lips, Schoonmaker’s mellow music is worth a listen.
As DS is going last at this Shabang, Schoonmaker has promised a “scary magical set” complete with some “REAL travel channel ghost marathon shit,” so make sure to stick around for his supernatural set.
One of SLO’s best up-and-coming bands, Manic Expression is a refreshing return to the form of rock and roll, channeling the greats from Jimi Hendrix to Led Zepplin.
A power-trio between Ben Haag, Jeff Phunmongkol, and Preston Quilici, Manic Expression present deep blues-rock grooves and a psychedelic sound that melds well with the classic California backdrop of Laguna Lake and the rolling hills of SLO county.
On the diverse lineup of this edition of Shabang, Manic Expression is a new face that concert goers are not going to want to miss.
This time around, Shabang is continuing the fun and throwing an afterparty at SLO Brew downtown. Starting at 10 PM after the show, festival goers gain free entry into the afterparty with a Shabang IX wristband, in addition to drink specials from San Luis Obispo’s top producer of beer.
Be sure to stop by SLO Brew and check out local DJs SPYK3 and Alt9 throw down some exquisite EDM over fancy drinks after the festival this saturday.
Ian Ridsdale is KCPR’s Editor-in-Chief and DJs on-air from 4-6 PM Saturdays in addition to being a Cal Poly political science junior. He wrote the article. Whitney Engelmann is KCPR’s creative director and a Cal Poly graphic design senior. She created the artwork.