Music News & Reviews

Three to see: A festival in Placerville, Tommy Alto and Built to Spill

Cosmic Family Gathering

Rock/funk/soul/jam bands

Today through Sunday

Nugget River Park

We hear tell that there’s some sort of really big music festival happening in San Francisco this weekend. But if gourmet food tastings and hourly social media updates aren’t your thing, this lil’ guy of a festival has you covered, whether you’re camping out or just rolling in for the day. Longtime Les Claypool sideman Mike Dillon and his band lead the way at this burgeoning annual gathering, which offers a feast of locally bred talent including Ideateam, Zuhg, the Bumptet, Massive Delicious, the Old Screen Door, Isaac Bear and tons more over three days. Highway 193 at Chili Bar, Placerville. (916) 671-0543;

Tommy Alto


8 p.m. Friday


Perhaps it should be of some concern that the classic guitar-driven approach seems to be falling a teeny bit out of favor among indie pop’s current elite – but there are plenty of bands not willing to espouse that theory. Canada’s Tommy Alto is one such group, a frisky and enigmatic “math pop” outfit who watched from the north as Built to Spill and Minus the Bear created an instruction manual for building an indie rock band around crafty, verbose and unashamedly gregarious guitar work. The results are precise and calculated, yet somehow surprisingly gritty. With Abby Normal and Pilgrim. 1400 E St., Sacramento. $5.

Built to Spill


8 p.m. Thursday


Why yes, I did just mention Built to Spill, thanks for noticing. I mentioned them because it’s nearly impossible to find any band feigning the title “indie rock” that didn’t take at least a few cues from Boise’s finest. They’ve never relied on any considerable mainstream exposure – they didn’t need it to join the likes of Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. to help concretely define what the genre of indie rock is really all about. Similarly, Doug Martsch didn’t need that exposure to cement himself as the most unlikely of gods in rock ’n’ roll. With Slam Dunk and the Warm Hair. Doors 7 p.m. 2708 J St., Sacramento. $25-$30.

Looking ahead:

Tele Novella. Sept. 1 at Witch Room

The name Tele Novella might not register quickly in this town, but what if we said “Agent Ribbons?” Natalie Ribbons’ new group picks up the thrift-shop psych pop where her old one left off. 1815 19th St., Sacramento. $8.