X Marks the Rock

X-Fest
WHEN: July 16, 3 p.m.
WHERE: Cricket Wireless Amphi theatre, Chula Vista
BANDS: Headliners Incubus and Bush, with Iration, Middle Class Rut, Viva Brother, Graffiti6 and Little Hurricane
TICKETS: $9.91 to $109.91
INFO: 91x.com

By Alex Zaragoza

?Things are about to get X-rated in San Diego.

We're not talking about an adult film convention-just a healthy dose of Bush...and Incubus.

Once again, heritage alt. rock radio station 91X has put together an epic lineup of big-name and breaking artists for its annual X-Fest, July 16 at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.

Since its inception in 1983, the daylong live music party has featured acts including Nine Inch Nails, the Ramones, Smashing Pumpkins, The Offspring and Green Day.

Headlining this year's X-Fest are aforementioned '90s rockers Bush (Swallowed, Machinehead) and Incubus (Drive, Megalomaniac), with support from legendary punk outfit, Face to Face; reggae crew, Iration; and England's Graffiti6.

Perhaps the most anticipated indie addition to this year's lineup are gritty Britpop revivalists, Viva Brother-formerly known as Brother and Brother (U.K.)- slated to rock the fest's "Next Big Thing" stage.

The band, which gained big buzz from appearances at SXSW and on The Late Show with David Letterman, is preparing for the August 9 release of its debut album, Famous First Words, produced by Stephen Street (Blur, The Smiths, Kaiser Chiefs). Frontman Lee Newell says the band, from Slough, England (birthplace of the Mars chocolate bar), is doing its best to conquer the U.S. music market.

"It seems to be working," Newell says via phone from the U.K. "We've done five or six tours over there. We want to be successful (in the U.S)-the food is a hundred times better than it is over here."

Viva Brother played a show at North Park's Soda Bar in April. Newell says he's excited to tear their set list a new one on a bigger stage.

"We've got a few tricks up our sleeves," he says. "No dancing midgets or anything like that, but we'll play loud and maybe I'll lose a leg."

Ladies, be warned. On a tour stop in Los Angeles, a few of Viva Brother's band members snuck up to the iconic Hollywood sign with some female fans to give them a dose of brotherly love. Newell says he'd "be happy" getting some post-show action at North Park's slightly less glamorous water tower.

Though San Diego's Little Hurricane won't be sexing it up at the N.P. water tower anytime soon, drummer and mandolin player Celeste "CC" Spina promises fans will need a cool-down after their set.

"We like to get the crowd going with some dirty slide guitar," she says. "It's a staple in our songs."

Vocalist and guitarist Zack Lopez of alt. rock duo Middle Class Rut, also appearing on the side stage, says he wants to make sure their set is too good to be forgotten.

"Some people are gonna want to see us play; others are just waiting for Bush to play Glycerine," he says. "We're just ?gonna go out there-no sales pitch."

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