|If you're in a band,
Nadin Condon is a good person to know.
She's been hosting music-industry showcases in San
Francisco for nine years as the head of her own management, promotion and
And she was an integral part of the Bay Area music scene for more than
a decade before that. One of her early cients was Jefferson Airplane.
She handled publicity for the '80s incarnation of the group when it was a
Top-40 hit machine.
Over the years, Condon has acquired a reputation for spotting signable
Bay Area bands and introducing them to record labels, to the sometimes
lucrative benefit of both.
So when she lent her name to Nadine's Wild Weekend, a giant three-day
music festival that starts tonight, there was little risk the dozens of
bands and label representatives converging on San Francisco would ask,
But she's the first to admit that her instincts about who's destined
for stardom aren't infallible.
The Sextants who?
There was the time in 1990, for instance, where she invited label reps
to catch a show at the Nightbreak, a now-defunct club in San Francisco's
Haight-Ashbury district. The concert featured two bands that were little
known outside the Bay Area. They both got signed, but you've probably only
heard of one.
The first was a group called the Sextants. The other was 4 Non Blondes.
When the latter groups album came out, you couldn't turn on the radio
without hearing their hit single, "What's Up."
Guess which band Condon figured was going to break big?
"I thought the Sextants were superstars, and I did not get 4 Non
Blondes," she said with a chuckle during a recent interview. "The Sextants
album went nowhere, and 4 Non Blondes sold millions of copies.
"I've since come to love that record," she added.
Plenty of backing
When her instincts are right, they're right in a big way: Counting
Crows and Third Eye Blind are both alums of her showcases.
The concerts she hosts are sponsored by the nonprofit BMI (Broadcast
Music Incorporated), one of the two largest performing rights
organizations in the country.
BMI's in the business of making sure songwriters and publishers get
paid every time their songs are played in public. Nurturing young talent
at showcases today is a way for BMI to ensure there's a strong song
catalog to represent tomorrow.
Rick Riccobono, vice-president for BMI in Los Angeles, hosts showcases
in L.A. and San Diego, but about a decade ago, he decided he needed
someone to handle things up north. He chose Condon after attending a music
conference at San Francisco State and noticing she couldn't walk 5 feet
without an industry player stopping her to chat.
"She has this presence that is so positively commanding, (but) not
overwhelming," he said. "She's a draw. You want to be around her. It
became obvious to me that if I couldn't be up there sort of cultivating
the music scene, she was the right person to do it."
In the past, Bay Area BMI showcases have been relatively low-profile
affairs. But the dearth of major industry showcases lately -- the massive
SFO festival has been on haitus the last couple of years -- convinced
Condon it was time to try something bigger.
That was the impetus behind Nadine's Wild Weekend, sponsored by BMI and
the SF Weekly.
Starting tonight and continuing through Sunday, more than 70 rock, pop
and electronica acts will troup across eight stages around San Francisco.
The shows are open to the public.
Condon believes the Bay Area is bubbling over with great unsigned bands
these days, and she thought it was time to bring the music industry's
attention to them.
"I feel from my own experience of working in the industry for the last
20 years that the talent I've seen in San Francisco is as good as anything
I've ever seen," she said. "I just think that the energy is something you
Some of the Bay Area's biggest buzz bands and local favorites will play
the event, including Actionslacks, Carlos, Capsule, KGB, Mumblin' Jim,
Oranger, Red Plantet, the Kinetics, JoJo, Liar, MK Ultra, the Fistners,
the Snowmen and Blue Sky Roadster.
They come from all over the Bay Area, including Contra Costa and
One of these is Simon Stinger, a new-waveinspired quartet that draws
its members from Walnut Creek, Hayward and El Cerrito.
The band will celebrate its third anniversary in September, and it's
already a veteran of several showcases. In fact, it's due to fly out to
Atlanta for another one next weekend.
The group got a manager out of