Since weâ€™re supposed to be doing this â€œCity Guideâ€ thing on Thursdays to give our readers a heads up as to whatâ€™s going on event-wise in our respective regions, Iâ€™m just gonna take it a step further and dedicate todayâ€™s blog to shedding some light on a couple of huge events that will be hitting Northern and Southern Cali in the next few months.
Anyone who lives in the greater Los Angeles region is probably already familiar with Guerilla Union, and last year, the promoters started taking measures to make sure that other cities throughout the nation would know their name, or at least the name of one of the events they put on. Since its inception in 2003, the Rock The Bells festival has been one of the biggest- if not the biggest hip hop event to hit L.A. in some time, and in 2006, they stepped their game up by taking a version of the event on the road with Raekwon, Redman, Smif N Wessun, Ghostface, Pharoahe Monch, Supernat, EPMD, Dirty Heads and DJ Kool.
But anybody whoâ€™s ever been to the annual festival knows that San Bernardino is the motherfucking place to be when Rock The Bells takes over. I had a chance to fly down for it in 2004, when Redman, Dilated Peoples, Sage Francis, Eyedea & Abilities, Supernat, Chali 2na and DJ NuMark, and a reunited
As of a couple of years ago, the festival started pulling double time; besides the annual event in San Bernardino, all of us in Northern Cali could scrap a 6 hour dirve or a plane ride to head to the date in SF. And this year, theyâ€™re apparently adding a festival in New York. But the big news is that not only will Wu Tang perform again this year (although the presence of Big Baby Jesus will be greatly missed), but that a newly reunited Rage Against The Machine will be playing the festival as well. They will be playing one of the days of the Coachella festival as well, but for those of you who canâ€™t hang with three days of indie rock in the desert, Rock The Bells might be a little more up your alley. This year, the festival in S.B. will be on August 11th, and the SF event will be on August 18th. No word yet on the rest of the lineup, but you stay tuned to www.rockthebells.net for details as they become available. Based on some of the names they brought out for the last two years, you can bet the rest of the lineup will be crazy.
Besides doing some big things with big names, Guerilla Union has also done some pretty big things with some of the lesser-publicized names of the indie circuit. One of those things that will be seeing its second year in existence in 2007 is...
...the Paid Dues festival.
This year, Paid Dues features a whoâ€™s who in the world of underground hip hop- Felt (comprised of pint-sized Living Legend emcee Murs, and Slug of Atmosphere) will be headlining, and there will also be performances from Sage Francis, Brother Ali, Zion I & Grouch (go cop that Heroes in the City of Dope if you havenâ€™t yet), Blackalicious, Jean Grae, Visionaries, Pigeon John, Mr. Lif, Cage, Evidence w/ Alchemist, and oddly enough, Devin The Dude.
Iâ€™ve had the chance to see everyone on that lineup live- except for Jean Grae and Devin -at one point or another (some of them more than a few times) and I can safely say that just about everyone on that lineup rips it, although I have to be honest and say that I fucking hate Sage Francis. The festival is also being hosted by my homie Lucky I Am of Living Legends, so it should be a good time in between sets. Paid Dues will take place in San Bernardino at the NOS Events Center on March 24th. Tickets are $35.