Tower XVI: The new trend with San Diego bands

Tower XVI. Photo by Jeff McLean.
Tower XVI. Photo by Jeff McLean.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about San Diego since being here, it’s that the music scene can be a little one sided.

Did I say a little? What I meant was the musicians in San Diego can try their hardest to beat you over the head with one style of music, whether you like it or not. Sometimes this can be a really good thing: (for example, Chicago and its extremely inspiring jazz scene.) But in San Diego’s case, the music scene doesn’t prove to be very inspirational; instead, it proves to be run down by facsimiles of people who label themselves and who either only listen to screaming, or only listen to vegan-inspired obscure folk players who also happened to go to their high school and only plays coffee shops that you have never heard of.

Before you start yelling at me from through the computer screen, begging to prove the opposite of what I’ve just said, let me first say that I get it. I get San Diego’s music scene and no matter how stifling it can be, I wouldn’t change it for a thing. The reason is because there are a new breed of local musicians who are also noticing this limited array of San Diego style, and they’re also willing to prove my point wrong.

This little city by the bay is slowly building up creations of bands that exemplify a smorgasbord of musical influence and talent, and these bands will not be silenced! Local musical chameleons Tower XVI, for instance, have a style that they’ve self-described as having something for everyone. And when I went out to their show to see the guys in their most comfortable habitat I have to admit, they weren’t lying when they said that.

With an impressive energy-driven set list that varies everywhere from pop-punk tunes to reggae-inspired, bass heavy dance jams, this band is on a mission to get the party started while simply doing what they do best. I didn’t know exactly what to expect next when it came to their eclectic set, and this was both refreshing and ingenious. The issue with trying to encompass several styles into one band is probably doing it without sounding like you just couldn’t make up your mind; however, with a band like Tower XVI, they seamlessly deliver music that touches the palates of many types of music lovers, not just one.

Tower XVI. Photo by Jeff McLean
From left: Dustin Jenkins, Mike DiBernardo, Brian Rash, Rob Smith. Photo by Jeff McLean.

And they’re not the only band that seems to be branching out and doing this. I’m seeing a trend in San Diego, and that trend is spurred by musicians who are tired of being overlooked in a sea of cookie-cutter duplicates. Musicians who are tired of doing their darnedest to exactly emulate As I Lay Dying, City & Colour, or blink-182. Not that there is anything wrong with those bands — I love Dallas Green just as much as the next person. But most of the people out here are not those bands.

Tower XVI is its own band, and that alone will allow them to blaze a path of glory as they continue to build their fan base in San Diego. At their live show, it was apparent just how much fun the fans were having, a trend that is sure to continue after they record their next release next year. When you have the energy of drummer Brian, singing along as he puts his all into each hit, it’s easy to have fun. And when you combine the musical prowess of bassist Rob and guitarist Dustin, who seem to be right on line with each other as if they were born playing together, it’s easy to appreciate the talent behind the music. Top it all off with Mike’s brutally honest and sometimes downright uplifting vocals and lyrics (for reference, check out “Dream Big” below), then the mix is eclectic and kind of perfect. San Diego needs more bands like Tower XVI; more bands that are interested in fusing their musical style to not just fit San Diego’s music scene, but also kick it into a brand new gear.

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11 thoughts on “Tower XVI: The new trend with San Diego bands”

  1. Great post and writeup. Thanks for the intro to T16. I went to school at UCSD and miss the SD area. Back in the day, a band to see was the Cardiff Reefers. Are they still around? Definitely dating myself. Cheers.

    1. Thank you! I’ve only been in SD for a short time compared to most but I love it here. :) I bet some of the die hard locals know of the Cardiff Reefers, but I don’t think they’re playing anymore. I wish they were, though!

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