Soda Springs will come to life at the end of July, when Cisco Grove Campground hosts Guitarfish Music Festival from Friday to Sunday, July 26 to 28.
Now in its third year, the family friendly festival features artists, environmentally-friendly vendors and a wide lineup of musical acts, headlined by the Pimps of Joytime, Orgone and Lyrics Born.
Pimps of Joytime
The Pimps of Joytime are at the top of their game, according to frontman Brian J.
“We’re in top form right now, really great lineup of musicians,” he told Lake Tahoe Action. “We’re at a really good place right now.”
The Brooklyn-based quintet is Brian J (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Mayteana Morales (vocals, percussion), Cole Williams (vocals, percussion), David Bailis (bass, keys, sampler), and John Staten (drums).
A heavy touring schedule in recent months is part of the reason the band is in such a groove, having played High Sierra Music Festival, Forecastle Festival and Electric Forest Festival among others.
“It seems like every weekend we’ve been doing festivals, it’s been good,” Brian J. said. “We’re getting to a lot of new people plus we feel like the energy of the name is getting out there, even from last summer.”
The group’s evocative moniker originated with a friend who was writing some music for Brian J.
“That was a little phrase that he came up with, and I just plucked it out,” the musician said. “When I heard it I was like, ‘That’s the name.’ There wasn’t any doubt.”
When not on the road, the band has been hard at work on its third studio record, anticipating a release sometime next fall.
“We’ve got this collection of some really good, cool songs,” Brian J. said. “A strong funk element but there’s also some stuff that’s just good old songwriting as well.”
While the Pimps of Joytime has appeared at Tahoe before, this will be its first performance at Guitarfish. The band intends to make sure the audience is engaged early on.
“We like to generate a good, positive, strong energy, so if it’s a crowd that needs a little more prodding we’ll work the energy and try to work up that reciprocal thing where the audience just becomes part of the energy of the music,” Brian J. said.
Orgone comes out with ‘New You’
Los Angeles funk band Orgone is returning this year for its second appearance at Guitarfish. The group played the debut festival in 2011, and has appeared at other venues around the lake.
“We’ve been coming to Tahoe for probably about four years now, probably three or four times a year,” keys player Dan Hastie told Lake Tahoe Action. “It’s nice to have, that we’ve got a pretty loyal and growing fan base there. People know what’s up and want to come out and definitely get down with us.”
Orgone is Hastie, Sergio Rios (guitar), Sam Halterman (drums), Darren Cardoza (trombone), Jordan Katz (trumpet), Gino Garafalo (vocals, bass), Fanny Franklin (vocals) and Chuck Prada (percussion).
Childhood friends, Rios and Hastie developed the band more than a decade ago, after playing together in a number of bands.
“Orgone kind of just naturally came out of our desire to play exactly what we wanted to play, which was things like Booker T and The Meters and Funkadelic and all kinds of things like that,” Rios said.
Over the years, the band has evolved from a quartet to its current lineup, the central touring group of eight with a broader recording group of almost 20.
Orgone released its latest album, “New You,” on July 16. It’s the first release for the band in some time.
“It’s been a long time coming. It’s been about three years since we put our last record out,” Hastie said.
“It’s had time to develop and really come into its own as far as the compositions,” Rios said. “We were working with some good lyricists. We’ve got some of our best songwriting, some great hooks. We’re really happy with it and really stoked to put out some new music.”
While Orgone had been on something of a recording hiatus, its music made some notable appearances in 2011. Recordings of the band were featured on Cee Lo Green’s award-winning track “Fool For You,” as well as other tracks by Alicia Keys, Estelle and others.
“It was basically a batch of a lot of music we did in three-week sessions,” Rios said. “Really without knowing, it was just completed arrangements with where they were going to end up. It’s been interesting to see something from, say, a couple years back where it ends up being a huge hit.”
Lyrics Born loves Tahoe
Born Tsutomu Shimura in Tokyo, Japanese-American musician Lyrics Born has been rapping and producing in Northern California since the early ‘90s. Among other collaborations, he achieved notoriety with hip-hop artist Lateef the Truthspeaker, combining to form hip-hop duo Latyrx in the mid ‘90s.
Lyrics Born was first attracted to hip-hop music as a child, when the genre was in its infancy.
“My generation was probably the first hip-hop generation,” he said. “I just remember when … I heard Sugar Hill Gang for the first time. I was probably in kindergarten or first grade or whatever it was. I mean it was mind blowing, it was just mind blowing. I had never heard anything like it in my life. And even at a very early age I knew I wanted to be an artist, but it wasn’t until that moment that I knew exactly what kind of artist I wanted to be.”
Lyrics Born acted on his childhood dream as a young man, first in the Bay Area and later at University of California, Davis.
“I started as a teenager in high school but I didn’t really go pro until I met Blackalicious and DJ Shadow and Lateef and Joyo Velarde at UC Davis,” Born said.
He credits the San Francisco Bay Area as a unique melting pot for hip-hop music.
“It’s everything. I think it’s just so eclectic,” he said. “I don’t think there’s another region in the world that has the range and the depth and the breadth really of style that the Bay Area has.”
The rapper is looking forward to the release of the second Latyryx album, 15 years after the duo’s debut.
“It’s looking like October, so we’re getting ready to start touring behind that in the fall,” the rapper said.
First though, Lyrics Born is keen to head back to Tahoe for his first appearance at Guitarfish.
“I love Tahoe. I absolutely love Tahoe,” he said. “The thing that’s funny is, it’s famous for winter sports but also the summertime is highly underrated.”
Guitarfish is a community festival with children’s activities, hikes, food vendors, yoga and more to raise awareness of overfishing and pollution of the ocean and to help preserve fresh watersheds, rivers and streams.
Visit guitarfishfestival.com for stage schedules, tickets and information.
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