Last Saturday, I headed to Tijuana to check out All My Friends Music Festival, a daylong event held at a tacky, rundown mansion on the edge of a cliff. This type of thing could never have happened in San Diego—police would’ve shut it down because of noise complaints or code violations. But the cops were working security at this event, so it was allowed to rage until the early hours of the morning.
The festival could’ve been organized better—nobody bothered to post a band schedule, and vendors didn’t start selling beer until hours after the event began. But the vibe was fun, the food was cheap (props to the table selling Nutella on toast) and a Vice magazine photographer would’ve had a field day with the crowd of uber-hip young Tijuanenses.
Some of the bands seemed stuck in a mid-’90s time warp with dated emo and alt-rock offerings, but the music got fresher as the day went on. Among the highlights was San Pedro el Cortez, a badass garage-rock band that drove the crowd wild with vintage riffs. For a finale, they set off fireworks affixed to their guitar necks, letting yellow sparks spew all over the room. Did I mention code violations?
And then there was Dani Shivers, a young Tijuana artist who plays lo-fi goth-pop on vintage Casio keyboards. Wearing black eye shadow and a thin white shawl, she looked mysterious as she laid out warm synth chords and crude dance beats and cooed into the microphone. At once sinister and childlike, her performance was downright mesmerizing.
In the end, my biggest complaint was that the overzealous cops refused to let me bring in a can of Diet Coke. But if that’s what it takes to keep a fest like this going, so be it.