October 4th, 5th and 6th the Sacramento River Walk played host to the TBD Festival, a three-day music, food, and shopping extravaganza. The audience ebbed and flowed through the little maze of stalls and stages that blossomed from metal storage containers scattered around south side of the festival. On the west side of the maze, sat a small stage sponsored by Red Bull and made from a matte black tour bus adorned with a single large disco ball.
Contra played this stage in the dusty heat of Saturday afternoon. The band consisted of five guys with two synths as well as the usual bass, guitar, and drums setup. They launched into their set without a word, and did not seem very keen on interacting with the audience. Music, it seemed, was the sole focus of their performance. They did not even introduce themselves until near the end of the set, when they revealed who they were and that they hailed from Sacramento or ‘this fucking town’ as the singer, in his blue Hawaiian shirt and black-rimmed glasses called it. Their music consisted of rhythmic, summery indie pop, and was not overwhelmingly loud like some of the other bands. It was catchy, fun, and inspired the crowd to bounce and dance a bit despite the high temperatures.
But soon the half an hour set was over and in the suddenly still air, the band filled off-stage. The crowd blinked and after a moment, shuffled off in a new cloud of kicked up dust.