First City Festival hits Monterey this weekend for its second year in a row, and with over 30 live acts and free carnival acts, it’s clear that the choice event in Northern California is the two-day festival. Whether you’re going one or both days, there’s a lot of great talent to see this Saturday and Sunday, with headliners like Beck, The National, and The Naked and Famous.
We chose the New York duo Phantogram as the Day 1 pick for First City Festival, and the Day 2’s choice spotlight is focused on Geographer, a local band from San Francisco. The three-piece band has a classical-meets-indie-rock sound that heavily driven by synths and rounded by electronic elements, making them a multi-faceted band that is rooted within several genres.
Michael Deni (vocals, guitars, synthesizers) moved to San Francisco from New Jersey, and Nathan Blaz (cello, synthesizers) and Brian Ostreicher (drums, vocals) met while both were studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Blaz and Ostreicher moved to San Francisco, where they met Deni at a local venue’s open mic night.
Their first album, Innocent Ghosts, was released in 2008, and featured music that Deni had worked on while initially experimenting with a synthesizer he found off the street. After their album release, Geographer toured around the San Francisco Bay Area. Their big break came when the trio was dubbed by Spin magazine as a one of “three undiscovered bands you need to hear now.”
In December 2009, after signing to the independent San Francisco label Tricycle Records, the band released “Kites” as a single, along with a cover of “Age of Consent” by New Order. A year later, Geographer released their first EP, Animal Shapes. The six-song album was well-received and also featured remixes of two singles, “Kites” and “Paris.”
Geographer signed to New York’s Modern Art Records in 2011, and released their second full-length album Myth in early 2012. Since their formation, the band has played at several local festivals like Treasure Island and Outside Lands, as well as at national festivals like SXSW and Decibel Festival.
The band finished supporting Tokyo Police Club on a 2014 spring tour, and this weekend they’ll be playing at the First City Festival. Take a listen to some of their key tracks, like "Kites" and “Original Sin,” and if you like their sound, you can see them on the Cypress Stage at 7PM for a 45-minute set.
One day and two day general admission and VIP tickets are still available for purchase online.