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San Jose Mercury News - Wednesday July 29, 1998  -  Talented Scout Launches Stars with Wild Weekend

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IF SAT prep courses had Nadine Condon's success rate, the double 800 scores would be the rule, not the exeception. If body-building milkshakes had Nadine Condon's success rate, that 98-pound weakling on the treadmill next to you at the gym wouldn't exist. If laws against selling cigarettes to minors had nadine Condon's sucess rate, no one would smoke.

What Nadine Condon does is listen to bands. She sucks the ones she likes out of the quagmire. She showcases them. And then, more often than not, the bands get signed to lucrative record deals.

Condon's latest showcase is a doozy -- a hip, happening three-day fiesta featuring Bay Area talent that will take over eight San Francisco nightclubs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's being dubbed as Nadine's Wild Weekend. "Bands off of every one of my shows have gone on to be signed," says Condon, who looks every bit the behind-the-scenes rock type with her small boxy spectacles, her splotchy, pseudo-animal print sleeveless shirt and black leggings. "I support them early."

Among bands graced with the Condone embrace have been Counting Crows, which had 13 offers the day after its showcase. There also have been 4 Non Blondes, Seven Day Diary, Third Eye Blind, and just to ruin your theory that Condon picks only bands with digits in their names, Candlebox.

Condon is confident that this weekend's event, which features close to 70 bands, will have similar results. She doesn't want  to say who her picks are to be tapped by a label because she wants people to see everything the Bay Area has to offer. But my bet is that the Kinetics, at Bruno's on Friday at 11p.m., are up there.

"What gets me is when people talk about the good old days of San Francisco music," says Condon. "I say these are the good old days. Not too far in the future you're going to say, I saw these bands in a small club. I really think there is signable talent here."

Condon, whose self-named company was established in 1988, also delves into promotion, marketing consultation and artist management and development. She got her start working in the mid-70's for two yearswith San Francisco bluesman Nick Gravenites; contacts through Granvenites got Condon her breatout gig with Jefferson Starship, for which she directed promotion and publicity for nine years.

Since then, Condon, a self-described 29-year-old in an older woman's body, has become a mover and shaker in the mucis biz. Nadine's Wild Weekend was a brainstorm Condon had in early spring when she realized there wan't going to be a local music festival. With the help of BMI for which Condon does her showcases, the weekend was whipped together quickly.

Befoere you say wait what about Noisepop? That was in San Francisco! And what about  Poptopia coming to Hunter's Point in the fall? Condon is quick to point out that those events attract a very narrow band of music fans.

"This is not an underground, alternative indie type of scene. Mine is a bit more broad-based," says Condon. "Noisepop, Poptopia, these are very genre-specific festivals, whole weeend deals, conferences. I don't have a lot of extremes. My umbrella is a little larger."

The weekend also is a lot more manageable than most. Condon picked clubs that have in the past been supportive of Bay Area artists -- Bruno's, Hotel Utah, Transmission Theatre, Paradise, Above Paradise, Club Cocodrie, Bottom of the Hill and VSF -- and unlike behemoth festivals like Austin's South by Southwest, specified that there shouldn't be too many bands to wade through, nor should there be  a single seminar to attend.

"I'm a commercial person," explains Condon. "I'm looking at the big picture. I'm looking for bands to succeed."

Doug Tull, marketing director of Push, who has the incredibly addictive altrock band Skip Holiday slated to play at the Bottom of the Hill on Saturday at midnight, thinks the festival is a blessing.

"The San Francisco Bay Area, nationally, is a market that is often ignored," says Tull. "I'm glad she's doing this. I'm based in L.A., but I love the bands in San francisco. I think they're superior."

Condon, who's stretched out on a sofa in her Potrero Hill offices, obviously agrees. Rattling on at 10 miles a minute, Condon is already talking about Nadine's Wild Weekend II and Nadine's Wild Weekend III and Nadine's Wild Weekend IV. Maybe they'll block off a street, she ponders. Maybe bands will play on a cruise around the bay.

"Lets's have fun; let's celebrate what's heppening now" Condon initially decides. "I really see the scene as being really happeining now."

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