I don’t think I’ve quite seen anything like what Roadburn are doing with this special segment in 2018. A kind of both helicopter-like overview and at the same time extremely detailed look into a local scene. A segment of sufficient magnitude to actually become a small festival within the festival.

What they’ve done is actually quite simple. In conjunction with this years Artist In Residence Earthless, they are bringing not just a couple, but 8 other bands from what seems to be a very thriving scene in San Diego and surroundings. And those bands cover quite a broad view into the contemporary retro/stoner/space/jam/whatever-you-want-to-call-it scene.

And on top of that, some skateboard-related extravaganza has been announced too, and I’m quite sure everything will be soaked in that laid-back, sunny, SoCal atmosphere as well. All in all – depending upon your relative musical tastes – a focal point for the whole festival, or a nice place to kick back and (re)find yourself after some of the more dark, heavy stuff.

All bands will be covered below, so please scroll through at your leisure – I can tell you there’s some mighty good stuff here :-)

Harsh Toke

Compared to compatriots Earthless, Harsh Toke have a lot more edge, are indeed harsher in sound and approach.

Also, they stand out for using different instruments/sounds like flute and brass, using a lot more effects, and generally being more trance-inducing due to their use of repetitiveness.

And some very nice, raw vocals on top, sets the scene thoroughly. Harsh Toke are perfect for when you just need that sharper edge.

Harsh Toke Set

Harsh Toke’s Set Live @ Unit B skatepark In Santa Ana CA December 22nd 2012 Youtube.com/HCProductions101

Liveset, Unit B Skatepark, Santa Ana, December 2012

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Light Up And LiveAlbum (2013)spotifyBandCamp
Acid Crusher / Mount SwanSplit Album w. Earthless (2016)spotifyBandCamp
Burn OutSplit EP w. Sacri Monti & Joy (2017)spotify

Sacri Monti

Sacri Monti are somewhat more laidback, playing a more proggish and also more jazzy, latin even, style of psych, with guitar tones that are more drawn out and crying.

Thoughtful and contemplative tracks with lots of wonderful thick, fat, ripe organ, creating this truly spacey and psych feel.

There seems to be this incredible old-school groove to what Sacri Monti do – a feel that is in a way completely genuine and fresh.

Ruthless Hippies TV – 001 Sacri Monti

Bearded Owl Productions presents Ruthless Hippies Television! Episode 001 Featuring Sacri Monti Hosted by Schmitty Filmed and Produced by Bearded Owl Productions. All Rights Reserved. Enjoy!

Live at Belly Up Tavern, June 2015

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Sacri MontiAlbum (2015)spotifyBandCamp
Burn OutSplit EP w. Harsh Toke & Joy (2017)spotify


Joy are probably the San Diego band on the ’18 lineup which draws most directly from the dirty psychedelic blues practiced in the late 60’s.

With copious amounts of fuzz and other effects, vocals laden with the anger and anguish we’ve come to expect from this specific type of music – and not hiding The Blues at all.

But even though the recipe might sound to be pretty straightforward, there’s nothing straightforward about the compositions themselves. More often than not Joy are taking the listener on a rollercoaster-ride of twisting, whirling, catapulting and looping that can make even the most hardened listener dizzy.

All in all, a perfect joy.

JOY (live at Casbah, San Diego, 2012/8/31)

Uploaded by Shoko Hachiya on 2016-01-05.

Liveset, The Casbah, San Diego, August 2012

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Bootleg Recordings Vol. 1Album (2012)BandCamp
JoyAlbum (2012)BandCamp
Bootleg Recordings Vol. 2Album (2013)BandCamp
Under The Spell Of JoyAlbum (2014)spotifyBandCamp
Ride Along!Album (2016)spotifyBandCamp
Burn OutSplit EP w. Harsh Toke & Sacri Monti (2017)spotify


Petyr are definitely among the heaviest of the San Diego Takeover bands, and also, in a regular sense, the most riff-oriented of them.

They create this seamless combination of the more riff-oriented and the more psyched-out material – hugely helped by a fantastic rhythm-section.

Add to that, a definite Sabbath-influence – and you have this great soundtrack for kicking back a few brews on a Friday afternoon after a particularly bad work-week.

Petyr – Full Live Concert San Diego Music Box 4-8-2016

Petyr opening up for Sacri Monti,Joy, and The Shrine downtown San Diego April 8th,2016. Lead Guitar:Riley Hawk Bass:Luke DeVingey Drums:Nick McDonell Film/edit:Jacob Nunez

Liveset, San Diego Music Box, August 2016

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PetyrAlbum (2017)spotifyBandCamp


Arctic are definitely also in Sabbath-territory.

The riffs, the texture of the music, the vibe, the dramatic elements of the music all points towards artists taking their cue from that venerable and inspirational band – and not simply copycatting it, but through their own love for this music crafting music that’s both a tribute to the legends, carrying the legacy and torch onwards, and still creating something that’s entirely their own.

And if you have any love at all for the riff and the Sabs, you cannot help but nod along and enjoy.

Arctic – Live at The Bootleg Theater 4/5/2016 pt.1

April 5, 2016 – Arctic perform live at The Bootleg Theater, Echo Park, Los Angeles, California. https://www.facebook.com/arcticskate Members: Figgy: Guitar. Nuge: Bass Guitar. Frex: Drums. Genre: Rock Hometown: SoCal

Liveset, The Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, April 2016

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ArcticAlbum (2016)spotifyBandCamp


2 singles are not very much on which to judge a band…

But, what is there shows some truly inspired drumming, great soulful vocals, great riffs. And Pharlee seems somewhat more doomy than perhaps the rest of the San Diego Takeover bands.

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ScornedSingle (2016)BandCamp
BurnSingle (2016)BandCamp


Again, not very much released material to go by (6 minutes).

But that track shows the foundation for a very interesting brew, drawing from diverse inspirations like NWOBHM and funk, with the vocals displaying something of the anxiety and desperation found in post-punk/new-wave.

Truly a groovy Volcano

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10,000 Screaming SoulsSingle (2017)BandCamp

Red Octopus

With a name like that – and with 2 tracks on their 40-minute debut 2010 album (enticingly called LSDemon) one would expect Red Octopus to be something in the vein of space-out, psych-tinged, repetition-infused, late-60’s-inspired weed-rock – and one would be truly, delightfully right.

On top of this there’s a more introspective, meassured approach than is normally heard in the more spacey realm, rendering a calm to the music that really lets you kick back and let the music carry you on its shoulders.

Also, the joy of playing oozes off these tracks, giving the impression that this band enjoys this as much as we do, and gets the same positive, energy-producing vibes from doing it that we the listeners experience.

RED OCTOPUS – live at the saloon “Creeper”

Live in Encinitas Ca at the Saloon Cocktail Lounge TOOTH’S Dirty Thirty Birthday Party Spider Fever opened the night with Operation Mindblow doing the amazing Light Show

Red Octopus live at the Saloon Cocktail Lounge, California, January 2012

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LSDemonAlbum (2010)BandCamp