It was an impulse decision. I hadn’t traveled to a show in almost eight years. At 35 with two kids and a shaky romance, bolting to San Diego and Tijuana for La Escalera Fest V, did not seem like a rational, adult decision. Then again, who wants to be a rational adult? I’ve seen those guys, I work with those guys. Rational adults are kind of a drag.
I hear a lot about how punk just isn’t what it used to be. I’m pretty sure everyone has heard that at some point in his or her life. Whether you long for the days of John Macias or want to see a Minor Threat reunion, the fact is, punk rock is just a vivid and vital today as it was in 1985 (or ’95). Most of you whiners just don’t know where to look for it.
La Escalera Fest is a good place to start. “Without each other we have nothing,” that is their mantra and it works. The whole climate is a throwback. It’s built on the same foundation all things punk rock are built on…community. Over the course of three days the bands you came to see become your drinking buddies, your ride home and your crash pad. These are small, intimate shows where the people standing next to you during one set are most likely the people playing next. That’s how it was – and how it remains.
Now Seis is upon us.
April 14-16 La Escalera Records will again ignite San Diego and Tijuana in celebration of its sixth anniversary with La Escalera Fest Six6Seis. The Tower Bar, Soda Bar, The Hideout, Red Brontosaurus Records and Moustache Bar (proud home of the blue drinks) complete the list of venues we will gladly visit.
For those making the trip for the first time here are some tips:
- Bring a passport, or at least a birth certificate. If you speak Spanish fluently you may be able to negotiate your way across the border, but a passport is much easier – plus Trump.
- Visit San Diego. Don’t make the mistake of sleeping until 2 pm only to venture to the next venue. Go to a record store. Eat tacos. Check out a brewery. Head to a beach, surf, then eat more tacos.
- Check out all the bands. You’ll probably go for the ones you know, but all the bands are great – that’s why they’re here. I hadn’t heard Spanish Love Songs, Squarecrow or Gentlemen Prefer Blood until I went to La Escalera V, now I can’t help but sing along.
- Make the trip south. The experience in Tijuana was unforgettable. The best photos, the craziest kids and the bluest drinks were all in TJ. Furthermore, tacos.
- Take out $50 in pesos at the most. You can stretch your dollar pretty far in Tijuana and, unless you’re planning on staying there for the night or visiting la farmacia, you probably don’t need more than $50 to eat and drink happily. Or just keep your cash green, most places accept your American dollars…even the taco carts.
Clear your weekend. Make an impulse decision. Rational adults are overrated.
If you’re still not convinced these are the bands hoping to make the trip with you (that “hoping” is for Civil War Rust…they know why).
Civil War Rust
The Shell Corporation
Gentleman Prefer Blood
New Way On
The Bigger Empty
Burn Burn Burn
Nights Like Thieves
Hoist the Colors
The Lucky Eejits
*The lineup has undergone alterations since its initial announcement in January. Then again, we’ve all gone through alterations since January.
Early bird pricing for La Escalera Fest Six6Seis ends February 17th, after which you’ll shell out an additional $5. I recommend the wristband bundle that gives you a three-day band (don’t lose the damn thing) and a t-shirt for $30. Non-bundle wristbands are $20. Purchase your tickets here.
onTheWeb: La Escalera Records | La Escalera Facebook | La Escalera Bandcamp