Rob Castellon, founder of Whittier-based Wiretap Records, hopes local music fans will take notice of the bands again during his annual Attention Fest.
Although some of the artists on the bill aren’t known yet, he bets that once people see them live, they’ll quickly become fans.
“These are definitely bands that people will want to know about, they have to know about these bands,” said Castellon, who, after a two-year pandemic hiatus, is bringing Attention Fest back to Hangar 24 in Irvine on Saturday, October 22.
It’s a free punk, ska and rock festival that will feature 13 bands ranging from up-and-coming bands to scene veterans looking for a post-pandemic boost. These are all bands that Castellon says are making exciting music and reviving the post-lockdown music scene with their live shows.
“The goal is to give these artists some face time, to get people to see them live,” he explained. “Once people see a band performing, they resonate with them.”
Attention Fest’s lineup includes artists like ska punk rockers Rundown Kreeps, a young band from East LA who are currently touring nationally to promote their second album “RDK.”
“They’re a bunch of Latino kids who are really making an impact on the Los Angeles scene,” Castellon said. “These guys are really, really energetic. It’s ska punk with a reggae vibe and a Latin flavor.
Even Southern California ska-punk veterans Codename: Rocky are on the bill.
“They just released a new record for Wiretap this year and these guys are still really bringing it,” he said. “It’s always full of energy and always a good time.”
There are also a few bands from out of town, including Las Vegas-based pop punk band Mercy Music.
“What drew me to these guys was the songwriting,” Castellon said. “I think the songwriting is very mature. It’s not a standard take on love songs, especially in the new album they released last year, they’re about anxiety and mental health and stuff; it’s a little deeper.”
There’s even a band from Australia called Catholic Guild.
“They’re a great, awesome indie-alternative band and who knows when these guys will be back here,” Castellon said, comparing the act to bands like Saves the Day and emo legends The Get up Kids.
Other artists include: The Last Gang, Bristol To Memory, Wicked Bears, Odd Robot, Regan Ashton, Sweet Gloom, Upper Downer, Taken Days and Little Low.
Although the first annual Attention Fest took place in 2017, the roots of the event began a year before, when Castellon released a compilation of songs on streaming services.
“The name of the compilation was called ‘Attention’ and it was a way of exposing my artists that I work with, but also exposing all the bands that should catch your eye, that should get noticed,” said he declared. “It was a discovery playlist.”
It’s one thing to hear these bands through a streaming service, but it’s different to experience them in person, Castellon insists.
“The goal was to let people see them live and let the music speak for itself,” he said of Attention Fest.
For a newer band like Rundown Kreeps, there’s no better way to get noticed and gain new fans than by playing music live and loud, said vocalist and guitarist Richard Lamas.
“Most of my favorite bands are bands I’ve seen live,” he said. “I really enjoy walking into a place and seeing a band that I may never have known. And we’re really happy to be part of this lineup. You’re guaranteed a great show. Bands who play are excellent… and it’s free.
When: 3 p.m. October 22
Where: Hangar 24, 17877 Von Karman Ave, Irvine
Tickets: Free for all ages, but you must RSVP to eventbrite.com in advance.