Part two of three
Held at the Marina Green Park in Long Beach, the Music Tastes Good festival which took place on September 30 and October 1 was all about good times, positive vibes and wonderful weather that greeted those who attended. The delightful and refreshing ocean breezes cooled the spacious grounds with a gorgeous panoramic view of the boats docked nearby at Shoreline Village. It was an incredibly stress-free event. Music Tastes Good was comfortable and easy to navigate. The atmosphere was low-key, chill and relaxed but still it very lively and concertgoers were definitely animated, pumped and excited to experience the entire scope of the event.
The second annual Music Tastes Good blended music, food, and art together for a very enticing combination. The depth and breath of the bands that performed over the weekend were diverse as it was eclectic and literally offered something for everyone that attended of all ages in many genres. Most were considered alternative. The sites for all the music was on the Long Beach and New Orleans stages. Most of the sets overlapped or were very close timewise. The bands hit the stage in a promptly. The Long Beach Stage had a revolving platform which made performances very orderly and efficient.
The festival featured among the many acts were Ween, Seater-Kinney, Ride, Heaven 17, Digable Planets, Built to Spill, Los Lobos and Old 97s, Oh Montreal, Ledfloyd, Slaves (UK), Juana Molina, Dengue Fever, Peaches and Big Freedia.
Ween has eclectic catalog of songs inspired by funk, soul, country, prog, R&B, heavy metal punk rock, and more) Ween is popular as ever and a force to be reckoned with live and didn’t miss a beat; Sleater-Kinney is influenced by riot grrl and is a key part of the American indie rock scene. The band is also known for its feminist and left-leaning politics. Sleater Kinney played hard and strong live. They had a fiery sound that was sonically arresting and urgent; Ride (known for alternative rock, neo-psychedelic, shoegazing and dreamy pop) performed among their most well-known past material but songs from their first album in 21 years – “Weather Diaries.” Heaven 17 (an English new wave, synth-pop electronic band) performed a cheeky yet shrewd set of music from their past catalog of hits and lesser popularly known material with flair, style, and panache. Digable Planets (influenced by rap, hip-hop, and jazz) played a meaningful and substantive set. Indie rockers Built to Spill played a blistering, full-throttle set of songs. Old 97s (alternative country band) rocked out pretty hard and offer powerful and satisfying set including material from their new album, “Graveyard Whistling”. Los Lobos (influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, folk, R&B, blues, brown-eyed soul, Cumbia, boleros, and norteno) offered up a multi-faceted yet traditional straightforward set with a bluesy undercurrent. The incredibly popular, groundbreaking and edgy Of Montreal (an experimental pop band whose drawn inspiration from psychedelic pop acts throughout its career).
The rap-accented Ledfloyd got the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm up with a driving and determined set even if their lyrics were a bit simple-minded and sophomoric. The rabble-rousers and torch bearers of punk rock Slaves UK made it really hard for other bands come to the stage in their wake with a wild, aggressive, challenging and demanding set that making them one of the hardest working bands at the festival giving it their all and then some. Their pointed social commentary was very much rough around the edges but they make very valid observations and are definitely a band to watch as they grow, mature and develop as songwriters. Juana Molina performed a set that melds disparate influences and makes them her own, is known for her signature sound, considered an exponent of folktronica, ambient, experimental, neofolk, chill-out, indietronica, psychedelic, indie pop and progressive folk. Dengue Fever combines Cambodian pop and lyrics with a psychedelic rock does much the same as Juana Molina in creating a style and sound that is unique to her artistry. Tune-Yards was innovative and incredible. The songs were thought-provoking and challenged you to really think out of the box. Tune-Yards is the music project of Merrill Gerbus. When performing live, Garbus creates drum loops on the spot and layers these with ukulele, guitar, and vocals. Tune-Yard’s musical expression encompasses art pop, worldbeat, indie pop, lo-fi, folk, afrobeat, and R&B. Merrill Garbus has a remarkable multi-octave voice that is very versatile and expansive.
Peaches, leading her own distinctive and unforgettable gender revolt was every bit in your face, with sexually explicit and constantly provocative set. Gender identity is one theme of Peaches’ music, she playing with traditional notions of gender roles representation. Her lyrics and this live show deliberately blur the line between male and female. Peaches is known for her outrageous, daring stage costumes and flamboyant sense of style. Her looks are considered both nostalgic and futuristic; aggressive and glamorous. The music crosses all kinds of genres including electroclash, dance punk, punk rock, alternative pop, synthpop and alternative dance.
Meanwhile, Big Freedia and her posse of scantily clad dancers were shaking their rumps around the stage to a backdrop of heavy, thumping rhythms supplied by a DJ across the way at the New Orleans stage. Big Freedia is known for work in the New Orleans genre of hip hop called bounce music. Freedia has been credited with helping popularize the genre, which was largely underground since developing in the early 1990s.
In addition to the vast musical performances, Music Tastes Good offers several food choices for concertgoers from cuisine to casual dining. A taste tent event was set up where specialty/gourmet food was curated by chefs from the Long Beach area and New Orleans. There were a number of food trucks and standalone structures on the grounds offering vegan options to pizza in addition to cocktails, beer, and soda.
Vendors represented the Long Beach area as well. Handmade tepees were for sale among the many specialty items, band merchandise and more. The Long Beach Symphony and the Long Beach Public Library were a presence at the event. Attendees could make their own plants through urban vertical and they would, in turn, be donated to Stevenson Elementary School to foster and encourage city pride and inclusivity within the community.
Many art installed dotted the Marina Green Park inspiring creativity and provoking conversations and connections. A mechanical playing boom box was one and other was Joel’s Mixtape among the many displayed onsite.
The Music Tastes Good festival was an enjoyable and satisfying way to spend entire weekend combining things most people love like: food, music and art all in one place in a optimal, picturesque setting in pleasant surroundings with other open, like-minded people looking to have a great time and indulge in all pleasures that engage all appetites and senses.
Images by Caren Spitler