A small lot formerly dedicated as a parking lot and the old Acres of Books building is the new temporary home for this year’s first Music Tastes Good Festival. This event plays on the idea of music tasting as good as the local food being featured at the three day concert. Of course, not to be overshadowed, the lights and the stage are art installations from artists who submitted work that was food and/or music related. The most noticeable installation is a Ferris wheel of sorts with a crank on the side so that participants can make the wheel spin. With LED lights and its peculiar concept of gradually opening and closing umbrellas with each revolution, it’s a show within itself. Not too far off are large letter cutouts that read “MTG” which acts as a landmark to the event and doubles as the perfect photo op inspired many to use the prop as a muse for their digital keepsake.
To frequent festival goers, the location positioned so close to residential neighborhoods and bustling downtown traffic looks to be an oddity. However being right in the thick of the downtown scene appears to bring peace and an expectation of a good time in spite of adjacent apartments with front doors and windows facing the main stage to ongoing music. Community is key here; the spirit of jovial interactions and meetups is alive as old friends and colleges link up at the festival. Parents act as sommeliers of music to their toddlers, exposing them to good music early on in efforts to train their musical tastes buds. Connections are forged with smiles, handshakes and hugs; food and booze are the gluten that binds everything together, satiating the foodie and the music heads alike.
Live and in color, Corey Glover of Living Colour came out sporting blue hair, coordinating perfectly with the stage lights, performing a cover to Notorious B.I.G.’s “Who Shot Ya”. Dispatcher recordings of 911 emergency calls tackled the issue of the current state of civil upheaval between police and black citizens asking “Who shot ya” as a question to victims of police brutality.
“When the mirror speaks the reflection lies” are the lyrics to perhaps the most poignant selection of the night, “Cult of Personality.” “Do you hear me?” Corey points to his ears as he sings to the crowd from atop one of the stage sub woofers. The crowd eggs him on as he sings with similarity to gospel singers in Baptist churches. The music breaks, and ensues is an acapella segment brandishing growls of repeating lyrics of “You’ve got to fight!” with perfect tonality. Corey throws the mic down and proceeds to sing to the mountains. When handed his discarded mic, he throws it down again only to continue singing to the crowd with fervency to “Fight for your right!”.
“Long Beach, nice to see you and to others, nice to meet you.” Jay Buchanan of Rival Sons gives a warm introduction before serving up creamy crooning vocals infused with familiar taste of passion which is the marrow to the energy fueled new song “Hollow Bones”. With every wail from Jay, the crowd yells back in excitement. Not to be mistaken for all party and no sentiment, Jay transitions from “Electric Man” with references a “sugar shack,” into a much more sincere ode to his son. Jay takes off his shoes as if to prepare to enter into a sanctuary he’s created on stage to facilitate the deep dedication this song holds for the life of his son in “Face of Light”. The band finishes with “Keep on Swinging.” Guitar picks and drumsticks leave the hands of the band and fly into the crowd. Catching one of these relics is the icing on the dessert.
Perhaps the shortest day of the festival, this line up was jam-packed with flavor. If this is just an appetizer to this three day festival, one could only imagine the appetites left hungry for the full course to follow.