Some things do indeed go better on the second try. Day Two at Beach Goth certainly rose to the occasion. Traffic filterage and more security guards made entering the festival a breeze this time around. The days of dressing practically for a full day of loud music, blistering sun and various unexpected festival obstacles are long gone. Crowd characters got more colorful on Sunday, too, despite the battles they were facing. Basic zombie makeup and tribal painted faces with standard comfortable festival garb – aka shredded jeans and t shirts – were among the tamer options as full fledged Halloween costumes like Doug Funny, hot dogs, boys in dresses and dominatrix outfits stole the show. Even bands participated in the holiday spirit. It just goes to show that a typical music festival no longer exists due to the constant evolutionary nature of the beast. One thing Beach Goth holds true is the spirit of highlighting an eclectic group of artists who ultimately come to the stage to bring solid music and an even better live experience.
Kicking the afternoon off at the outdoor Beach Goth stage, the first band we catch is the surf rockers DIIV from Newport City. Following a thrashy band like Touché Amore is no easy task, but their melodic harmonies akin to the likes of Real Estate tone down the steamy crowd. Clad in their finest hippy-skater herum pants, these youngsters actually deliver an impressive live set. Their music translates well to an outdoor setting as it smoothly breezes across the crowd.
Meanwhile, Plague Vendor tears it up inside at the Graveyard stage. These west coasters breathe an air of punk rock that is so perfect for the setting, and people are buying what they are selling. Their darker rock n roll motif has its unique sounds that can scare in such an appealing way. They rev up the crowd just enough keep the room full throughout their set.
No rock festival is compete without one or two token hip hop acts these days. Tales of yesterday’s Sir Mix-a-Lot shenanigans carry over to today’s hot topic of conversation. It is certainly a tough seat to fill, but Juicy J somehow carries the torch and changes the game outside. He rouses the throngs of people at the main stage when he starts up “We Still in This Bitch.” Nothing too exciting to report, save the comical relief of punky crowd surfers and watching people try to rap along to “Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp.”
A surprising modest group shows up inside for The Shelters. Their fast rockabilly style keeps things moving along swiftly at the Graveyard. Surely, people elsewhere are missing out as their music is fun and easily danceable for the unassuming bystander. The stage clad in glow decor provides such a merry setting considering the thrashing that ensues all weekend. Best to cut this visit short to make way back outside for FIDLAR’s slam dunk performance.
By far, the pick of the day is FIDLAR. These skater boys kick it up about ten notches in the main space – setting the bar high for all major acts to follow after the sun goes down. Almost everyone fills up the outdoor sections and extra bodies spill into the surrounding beer gardens. Adding to the festive mood, the entire band wears matching collared shirts with ties and slacks. Who knew these kids could clean up so well? The juxtaposition of their fast garage punk rock songs with the dapper outfits creates an unlikely, yet ultimately pleasing pairing. No doubt the crowd is loving every minute of this set as most songs insight loud whaling sing-a-longs.
The first and last visit to the tiny Outer Space stage inside is for a glimpse at the latest version of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult. Twenty-five years plus have given this group its fair wear and tear; but their brand of alternative industrial rock maintains its strength in its pioneering nature. They are tapered down to a modest trio today, but the glimmer of their 90’s experimental rock still shines through. Fans in attendance are all a-smiles as each song peels back another layer of their musical history. Unfortunately, this visit is cut short because the stage’s timing is running late and unable to keep up with the day’s schedule of changeovers.
The switch back to the Graveyard for Nobunny is a choice well made. He refills the room with anxious hopefuls who eagerly flock to the stage. Donning his typical underwear and bunny mask with a leather jacket, frontman Justin Champlin delivers a solid set. His music always tastes sweet and sour. Sweet in its sinfully tasty pop punk nature which is laced with the tart garage punk that ultimately makes it a thrash dance party pit every time. Ending with “Chuck Berry Holiday” only sweetens the deal more.
To place a virtual cap on the weekend’s festivities, Beach Goth veterans The Growlers pull everyone outside for their encore headlining set. This time around they all are covered head to toe in metallic silver body paint and clothing comparable to most street performers in San Francisco’s Union Square. For the second night in a row, they create a large frenzy with their satisfying guitarmonies and special voice effects which only solidify their coining the term “beach goth” in their sound production. A rather carbon copy cover of The Doors’ “People Are Strange,” rounds out their high point in the night. After a quick break, they return and end with the newer “Love Test.” This indeed is the sweet icing on the weekend’s savory cake. Thousands begin the festival exodus, and all that hangs in the air is remorse that this event is over and the next one is a whole year away.
Other photos from the day
Del the Funky Homosapien
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
photo credit Owen Ela