The 2013 Ink-N-Iron Kustom Culture Festival – The Dark Side of the Billboard

Posted: June 12, 2013 in Cars, Events, Long Beach, Music, Punk Rock
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The 2013 Ink-N-Iron Kustom Culture Festival wrapped up at the Queen Mary this past weekend. This weekend-long festival celebrates alternative and pin-up culture with tattoos, custom cars, models, and endless loud rock music. As the weekend’s most anticipated day of the music lineup, numerous attendees decided to don their best band shirt or other band paraphernalia. Many of them had not heard of the unwritten rule of not wearing the band’s shirt to their show. Anyways, I digress – back to Ink-N-Iron.

In addition to the main attractions of the music, tattoos, and cars, Ink-N-Iron featured many other activities to keep guests occupied all day. The entrance placed guests immediately in Vendor Village, filled with lots of music memorabilia, merchandise, apparel, accessories, music albums, and more. Continuing forward from here placed guests between the Tiki Drive-In Stage and the Motorama dome, filled with more cars to gaze at. The wide area in front of the dome held more cars as well.

More cars parked on the grass in front of the Tiki Drive-In stage.

Attendees could walk into the dome for the grand Motorama central. In here, attendees could stroll down aisles with custom cars on both sides.

All the tattooing took place inside the Queen Mary’s promenade area. Vendor booths filled the entire room among all three floors, including some of the side areas. This area appeared more organized than previous years largely in part to most of the vendors that only operated on appointments that attendees booked weeks to months in advance. While some of the artists allowed walk-ups, attendees already knew that getting inked would require a previous appointment.

One of the side rooms featured a model that artists could sketch:

Of course, all the attendees would not pay the hefty ticket fee for simply cars and tattoos – they paid to see the live music. With a fully stocked weekend lineup, music fans would appreciate all of the three nights with lots of major bands like Sublime, NOFX, Offspring, and more. I attended only on Saturday and arrived in the late afternoon, so I first got to see The Dwarves. Best recognized for their sexually explicit album covers, The Dwarves has carved out a show presence that one could call Rated R, in a similar manner to how Guttermouth shows gained notoriety with the crowd spitting endlessly. If any true fans of The Dwarves showed up to Ink-N-Iron, they toned down their behavior a lot, as the crowd remained fairly tame – even the circle pit appeared controlled. The Dwarves played a continuous set, with no real breaks between songs, which included the single I Will Deny. They abruptly ended their set once 30 minutes had elapsed, continuing the notion of no breaks nor speaking to the audience between songs.

Rumors of Jello Biafra returning for this performance by the Dead Kennedys had circulated around ever since his cameo at Coachella this year. Alas, no sign of Jello ever appeared during the Dead Kennedys set. Entering the stage to a wild and packed audience, the Dead Kennedys played all of their hits, from Holiday in Cambodia to California Über Alles to Chemical Warfare to Police Truck and more. Without Jello, this felt more like listening to a Dead Kennedys cover band, much like how Pennywise sounded at last year’s Ink-N-Iron with Zoli Téglás on vocals. Regardless, the Dead Kennedys still delivered a killer show, with plenty of moshing and crowd surfing about.

Reuniting after an 8-year hiatus, Rocket From The Crypt made their way onto the stage in brilliant stage lights. Lead vocalist Speedo made an introduction prior to starting the set, reminding us all about the band members’ characters and personalities. Those not familiar with Speedo may think he dabbled with some marijuana prior to the set, but I assure you that he purposely acts the way he does. As they had a one-hour set, Rocket From The Crypt played all of their hit songs throughout their history, from their first album all the way through Live From Camp X-Ray. They intended to keep playing after an hour, but the sound crew unexpectedly cut them off mid-song. Technically, Rocket From the Crypt just played an extremely stretched out instrumental section, leaving the crowd to wonder what would have occurred if the sound crew allowed Rocket From The Crypt to continue playing.

At last, the band everyone paid to see – Iggy & The Stooges – burst onto the stage to a see of screaming fans. They opened their set with Raw Power, a fitting first song to get the crowd ripping and roaring. In typically Iggy Pop fashion, all throughout the set, Iggy sang and danced in a spastic yet sexually-suggestive manner, provoking all the women to scream in desire. The band played all of their popular songs, such as Search & Destroy and I Wanna Be Your Dog. They eventually got to Fun House, where similarly to Pennywise’s Bro Hymn, a handful of audience members climbed up onto the stage to dance with the band. The set lasted a good hour and a half, which started 15 minutes after the scheduled start time. No one minded the late start, not even the mosh pit that formed during the set and lasted the entire time.

Did you miss Ink-N-Iron? With the price to attend increasing annually, Ink-N-Iron may turn into somewhat of an alternative version of Coachella. In fact, sooner or later, Ink-N-Iron may even occur on two consecutive weekends! Some of this year’s attendees have voiced their opinion, stating that they will not return if prices continue to rise as they have risen the past few years. At this point, admission mainly covers the cost to see the bands performing. Next year’s lineup will greatly determine if the bands selected to play merit the price increase. Keep your eyes open for some more music festivals coming up later this year, such as FYF Fest and Riot Fest. Orange County sees three local punk rock shows this Saturday night, including one with Agent Orange – check my weekly Upcoming Events post for more details!

  1. […] AND Refused at Coachella. More recently, we have seen the reunion of Rocket From The Crypt at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron Fest, and the return of Mike Virus to Cheap Sex. Reunions work as a great marketing tool for getting the […]

  2. […] I personally wanted to hear Johnny On The Spot, but alas they did not play it, nor did they at Ink-N-Iron. After their last song, they abruptly left the venue, leaving signs that they would return for an […]

  3. […] Dead Kennedys performing California Über Alles at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on June 8, […]

  4. […] Dead Kennedys performing Holiday In Cambodia at the 2013 Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on June 8, […]

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