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San Diego rock band Sweet Tooth plays for chance to perform at KAABOO

REGION — Three friends playing traditional rock n’ roll — that’s how singer and guitarist Jacob Schrimpf describes Sweet Tooth, the band that he and his buddies from high school started in early 2017.

“We were all three together one day … we played a couple tracks I had made,” Schrimpf said. “They sounded good, and that was kind of the genesis of it.”

With Schrimpf is Kevin Bingham on the drums and Trevor Barber as vocals and bass. Sometimes described as surf rock — implying a sort of “punky” laid-back sound — the three-man San Diego band feels like a straight-up rock experience that music blog Divide & Conquer describes as fluid, versatile and original. As current residents of Del Mar, Encinitas and La Jolla, the band members’ San Diego roots and lifestyle largely influenced their sound.

“I like to think the music is definitely an extension of us three,” Schrimpf said. “We were all raised here and that kind of formulated our styles.”

On Friday, July 13, Sweet Tooth will join three other regional music acts on stage at Quartyard in Downtown San Diego for the second to last piece of the KAABOO Discovery Tour. The crowd votes at each performance for their favorite act, who then gets a spot on stage at the larger festival, KAABOO Del Mar, in September.

“The purpose was to give us the opportunity to engage with local talent and provide them the opportunity to compete for the chance to perform at KAABOO,” Jason Felts, KAABOO’s chief brand officer, explained.  

Felts said Sweet Tooth brings something new to the table — he’s excited for their performance on Friday.

“I really like them,” Felts said. “They have a pretty unique sound, and they’ve got great stage presence.”

According to Schrimpf, Friday’s audience is in for a no frills, high-energy set.

“I like to think we have a strong, pretty powerful vibe when we’re all three firing,” Schrimpf said.

Currently, the band has two self-released EPs of three songs each, available on YouTube and their website. The first one, “Chum,” was recorded live and released in 2017. Schrimpf said the group experienced so much growth with their latest EP, “Caviar,” which was released this year.

“The second one was an improvement off the first one, and I think that’s going to be the trend,” Schrimpf said.  

As Sweet Tooth gradually moves toward a full album, the opportunity to perform at KAABOO would be a game changer for the band. Felts reminds fans that the experience is more significant than just performing for a large crowd.

“The exposure they’re getting is well beyond our guests,” Felts said. “It’s an entire music industry they’re seeing into.”

Because they are a newer group, Sweet Tooth has grown its following pretty organically through Instagram and word-of-mouth. Right now, Schrimpf said they’re focused less on marketing and more on producing quality content, so they’ll be ready for the exposure from KAABOO should they get it.

“When the opportunity affords itself, marketing isn’t going to do much, but having the chops will,” Schrimpf said.

When asked how it would feel to perform on the Del Mar stage he’s grown up at, Schrimpf opted to save the answer for if they get the opportunity. Regardless of what happens, he said Sweet Tooth plans to reach as many people as they can with their music.

“It’s kind of always been our goal since the start,” Schrimpf said. “We want to make good quality music and see how far we can take it.”

Sweet Tooth performs as part of the KAABOO Discovery Tour at Quartyard in San Diego on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m., with winners announced at 10 p.m. More information, visit