Posts Tagged ‘August 2013’

JFA performing Johnny D at The Gaslamp in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on August 24, 2013.

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Amerikan Made performing Quit Being A Pussy at The Gaslamp in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on August 24, 2013.

The Adolescents performing Kids Of The Black Hole at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on August 23, 2013.

The Adolescents performing Amoeba at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA. Filmed on August 23, 2013.

Common knowledge tells us that the general populace loves bacon. People go crazy for bacon, but perhaps too crazy at times. This phenomenon may explain the background behind the San Diego Bacon Festival. This outdoor food fest dedicated to everyone’s favorite strip of meat rounds up bacon lovers from all over to huddle around tents all for little bacon treats to satisfy a never-ending hunger for bacon. Taking place on the sunny grassy knoll of Preble Field of NTC Park at Liberty Station, thousands of hungry patrons swarmed to this location this past Saturday afternoon for an incendiary day of pigging out in the sun amidst a crowd of equally sweaty visitors. The $60 admission got anyone in for up to three hours of bacon eats and beer pours until supplies exhausted. This all sounds great in concept, but perhaps everyone overrated this festival too much.

As the first year for this festival, the organizers should strive to create an event without any major malfunctions. However, no one can expect an event’s first run to operate flawlessly, and this event yielded a handful of mistakes. I would not come down too harshly, as after all, this marks their first Bacon Fest, so allow me to highlight some of the major problems that the organizers can fix for next time.

The greatest problem lies with the amount of tickets sold. The organizers clearly oversold this event by a few thousand attendees, causing massive queues & lines all over the place. Just waiting for the entrance prior to the start of the actual event made us feel like standing amongst the audience at a large concert. Once every attendee funneled in, every booth saw even more lines consisting of hundreds of attendees on average in each line. Can you believe many people waited in a line for over an hour for a one-bite bacon corn dog? To rectify this problem, the organizers must limit the amount of tickets sold, or set a deadline to purchase tickets. In the morning, they announced on their Facebook page that they still had some tickets left for sale. This indicated some sort of limit, but a high yet negligible limit. The organizers can also rectify the overcrowding by inviting more vendors.

Speaking of vendors, the vendors did not prepare enough food for the masses. Over half of the food vendors ran out of food within an hour of opening. With each vendor providing samples instead of full meals, we all wondered how they could not bring enough food. Did the organizers not inform the vendors of how many tickets they sold? This stems back to the previous problem & solution of limiting ticket sales. If the organizers limit tickets, the vendors will know exactly how much to prepare. This also makes us ponder – what exactly construes a bacon festival? Immediately upon entering, two carts handed out bacon strips to every attendees – plain bacon strips. Most of the other food vendors made some sort of bacon treat, while some made food with no bacon in it at all, such as a chicken taco.

Nobody can accurately predict the weather, but we certainly can prepare for it. When the organizers planned this event many months ago, they could not forecast the exact weather conditions of this date. However, they can still prepare against it. So why did the organizers not take overall comfort into consideration? Nowhere in the festival could anyone find any chairs, tables, umbrellas, or misters to keep everyone cool. Southern California recently saw a heat wave, and this day out in the sun did not make for a comfortable day. Add to the fact that you have thousands of bodies in a small area coupled with heavy consumption of salty foods and beer intensifies natural dehydration. Attendees found some sort of comfort in the Hubert’s Lemonade stand, but any sensible human knows that you do not offset salt with sugar, and vice versa. Only one booth provided free water, and it remained quite unknown until the very end when everyone needed water. In fact, one man passed out from the heat early on in the festival. The organizers should take care of their patrons by including more shade in the form of umbrellas or canopies, as well as chairs, benches, and tables for more comfort. They also need to make water more accessible to the attendees, considering how much salt and alcohol everyone consumed. Misters would make for a great addition too.

For crying out loud, as much as I love Slater’s 50/50, they do not need to attend anymore food festivals or any other event similar to this. Do not misunderstand – I love Slater’s 50/50, but their popularity transcends any form of marketing or PR that this festival could hope to bring. I would wager that at least half of all attendees discovered the San Diego Bacon Festival through Slater’s 50/50. By this point, I would rather just go to the restaurant and order a real meal there instead of spend time in a line for over half an hour for a sample of what I can order for real.

Everybody loves bacon, and so do I. After this mayhem of a bacon fest, I believe everyone needs to take a step back and assess what transpired. People paid $60 or more to spend an afternoon waiting in lines burning in the hot sun all for a few bacon treats. Okay people, calm down with the bacon – you can find delicious bacon eats at many great restaurants in the area, and you do not have to suffer in the heat or sun. I cannot fully blame the organizers for these mistakes, as beginners naturally make mistakes. Should they return for a second annual run of this event next year, I hope to see them fix the problems and create a smooth-running event that both attendees and vendors can enjoy.

Downtown Long Beach‘s series of tasting events moved down to the waterfront for an evening of sampling eats on the pier. The Taste of Downtown Long Beach invites many of area’s restaurants, bars, and other food businesses to come together to serve samples to all visitors looking to explore what Downtown Long Beach has to offer. Due to Long Beach’s structure of regional neighborhoods, a sole Taste of Long Beach would require too much work, and would come up to a loss rather than profit. With Belmont Shore running theirs in the summer, and Naples Island running theirs once a year, Downtown Long Beach runs their series of tasting events approximately three-four times per year, each in a different location. Participating businesses remain largely consistent between each event, with a few changes to accommodate for new businesses and others that could not or did not want to return. With each event, the location moves around from place to place within Downtown Long Beach, from the East Village Arts District to the bustling Pine Avenue on a busy weeknight. Last week, the taste moved down to Rainbow Harbor for an evening of feasting on the pier.

Unlike previous Tastes of Downtown Long Beach, this one did not feature as many participants. Many of the standard businesses made an appearance, while some others could not bring a setup out to the pier, such as Federal Bar or Beachwood BBQ. Surprisingly, I saw for the first time Village Bakery, who had taken over the building last occupied by Shortnin Bread.

Shenanigans Irish Pub‘s Corned Beef Sliders and Fish & Chips

Wine Down Lounge‘s Cuban Pulled Pork w/ infused rice, Fresh Fruit w/ Chile & Lime, Homemade Potato Chips, and Mini Crème Brûlée

Pier 76 Fish Grill‘s Langostino & Lobster Roll and Watermelon Lemonade

The Village Bakery‘s Peanut Butter Brownie

Gladstone’s Lobster Mac & Cheese and Chocolate Ganache Mini Martini

Michael’s Pizzeria‘s Polpete al Forno

Visitors to this Taste of Downtown Long Beach could receive 90 minutes of free parking at The Pike’s parking structure. However, the website only mentioned this once, and very few of the visitors knew about this, and either resorted to paying for parking or took some other means to arriving that usually associated a cost or physical effort. I find this the fault of both sides – the website did not make parking an important point, and visitors must not have read the website thoroughly. Regardless, all visitors enjoyed tasting these fine eats out on the waterfront, despite the weather warmer than usual. Things will cool down by the next Taste of Downtown Long Beach which should occur in the winter.

One of the most talked-about annual events in Orange County, the Orange International Street Fair returns to the streets of Old Town Orange this Labor Day weekend. Free to attend and open to all ages, thousands of people gather on the streets to see and experience everything: food, drinks, music, dance, arts & crafts, merchandise, and more. From the Orange Circle at the intersection of Chapman & Glassell, four roads radiate out, each with different themed “streets” where guests can experience a particular culture or region from the world.

Visitors can experience culture from any of twelve different themed sections at this fair: Italian, Japan, Irish, Greek, English, Swiss, Denmark, Polynesian, Norwegian, German, American, and Mexican. Every section has its own food, drinks, vendors, entertainment, and activities.

The Orange International Street Fair starts TONIGHT at 5pm, while the fair starts at 10am the next two days: Saturday and Sunday. The fair ends at 10pm every night. The fair costs nothing to enter, and anyone can enter or leave at will. All visitors wanting to eat, drink, or purchase anything else from the participating vendors should bring cash, as many of the vendors will not accept other forms of payment. Most of the local businesses will remain open for regular business hours, but they will usually operate differently to accommodate for the increased foot traffic. Any visitor wanting to drink must bring their ID to show proof of age, and keep all drinks within the fair area. The fair takes place outdoors on the busy streets of Old Town Orange, so dress for warm weather, and apply sunscreen if visiting during the day. First-time visitors may not have an easy time finding parking. Visitors should look for parking the neighborhoods far from the site, and prepare to walk up to a mile or more to reach the fair. Try your luck at finding parking anywhere within the square mile enclosed by Walnut Ave, Cambridge St, La Veta Ave, and Batavia St. Aside from that, all other details should unravel as you stroll towards the fair and wiggle your way through the massive crowds. Though you may lose yourself in this crowd, you may find yourself having so much fun that the crowd will guide you to a delightful and pleasant visit.

Time to jump out of the pig pun and back into reality. Following a successful turnout at last year’s PigOut, the organizers have returned once again with PigOut 2.0 – bigger, better, and with pignificant vengeance. This celebration of everyone’s favorite pink-snout animal delivers the goods with 15 of Orange County’s top chefs all preparing a feast for the ages, and ten of Orange County’s top mixologists all shaking up wicked concoctions. The general admission of $75 allowed all attendees four full hours of all-you-can-eat pork goodies, and all-you-can-drink craft cocktails, plus beer courtesy of Noble Ale Works. Although this pigout took place outdoors on a hot Summer day, an adjacent tall building provided shade over the entire area within an hour of the feast.

All of the participating vendors did not follow any particular order or placement – they all just set up where available. This generated some crowding, especially near the front, around some of the more popular restaurant tables. However, every participating restaurant brought more than enough pork to satiate everyone’s piggy desires, so nobody had to worry about any particular food item running out. In between snacks, attendees could check out a silent auction table in the center of the area, full of prizes donated by the vendors. Prizes all allowed the winner to return to the restaurant for something special, such as a dinner or wine tasting.

Here we see HopScotch Tavern‘s Pork Belly Rillettes:

Fried Pig Ears, Pig’s Blood Cavatelli w/ Spicy Pork Ragout, and Crispy Pork Belly w/ Banana Ketchup & Soy Glaze from Broadway by Amar Santana:

The Detroiter from 320 Main: Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy, Cynar, Fresh Lemon Juice, Honey Syrup, and Stone IPA.

Pork Cheek Sliders from Juliette Kitchen & Bar, with Dried Tomatillo, Pickled Peppers, and Smoked Paprika-Yuzu Aioli. Juliette had a consistently long line for the entire event, thanks to their incredibly tender pork cheek meat.

Pig Pig Duck Sammies from Arc Restaurant – another restaurant with a consistent line, albeit not as long as Juliette’s.

One of the hard (as in alcoholic) snow cones:

From The Cannery. Note that they used pig’s blood for the mousse .

Mini Mortadella Corn Dogs from Pizzeria Mozza:

The Haven Collective wielded the main attraction: the Triple Porkarazzi, which they served as tacos, lechon-style. They also served Pâté de Cochon Trop Manger and BLT Wraps.

From The Cellar Cheese Shop. At the bottom, you have a French cookie topped with aged smoked gouda and bacon caramel. Ask no questions, and seek this out whenever you find yourself in Costa Mesa.

Cheers to Melissa’s Produce for bringing the only non-alcoholic drink to the pigout.

From The Attic, the only non-Orange County restaurant to participate.

From A Restaurant. Yes, this restaurant wins for the best existing pun ever. Can you imagine? “Let’s do to A Restaurant!”

With such a turnout, what more can we expect? Pay attention to August next year, as we may all see a PigOut 3.0 around that time, should all go according to plan. If you love the pork so much, you will want to check out the San Diego Bacon Fest, taking place this Saturday afternoon. PigOut may appear expensive to some, but bear in mind that admission needs to cover the cost to book all these high-profile chefs and bartenders. If you want to play with the best, you have to put in like the rest.

JFA has a new tribute album out, and they play absolutely nothing on it, as other famous bands cover their songs. To celebrate this release, JFA will play some CD Release shows, such as one that they wrapped up last Saturday night at the Gaslamp in Long Beach. This show had so many bands playing that it started at 2pm in the afternoon, leaving plenty of time for attendees to find something else to do following the show, such as stick around for live DJ’s all night or head down the road to a Manic Hispanic show. Taking place on a weekend filled with many other great punk rock shows, including the massive FYF Fest, JFA had to do something to bring out the crowds, so they also invited local punk rock legends D.I. to play as well. In addition, seven other great local bands played this show, making for one everlasting day of punk rock in Long Beach.

Rottbite opened the show with their street punk music set. Much like the last time I saw them, Rottbite followed a similar set list with songs that highlight their instrumental range. While the vocals did not come off as well as their last show, the hollowness of the venue allowed their instrumentals to resonate well within the walls. Although I enjoyed seeing them again, I would have liked to see them play later in the day rather than open the show.

Local Long Beach band Carpit set up on stage next. Since seeing them last October, they have not deviated far from their reckless set. Carpit plays like a typical punk band from the street, with elements of skate punk and hardcore punk. They really appear to love stickers, as they handed out Carpit stickers the entire time, and more after their set the rest of the time that they spent here at the Gaslamp. Their music bears a close resemblance to Whitekaps, but not as defined.

Another local Long Beach band, Speakout, played next. As probably the youngest band of the day to play, they carry more of a pop sound, similar to that of Slick Shoes. In fact, they even dared to cover a Linkin Park song, and people who know me know that I do not care for Linkin Park. The crowd seemed to love them, although at this point, the crowd consisted of mostly teenagers running around the pit without direction. I believe Speakout has their fan base, but they need a different type of show than this one, a more hardcore show.

The local bands continue with ComPreHend next. Lying somewhere between Rottbite and Carpit, ComPreHend play hardcore punk music with instrumental variety. By this point of the day, we now start to see the older fans gather in the pit, while the kids continued to slam dance around them. Nothing truly stood out during this performance – they played a good set that allowed the kids to expel their aggression.

Moving along in the day, Jurassic Punx played next. In a rush to get their set started, they forewent the routine sound check to start playing immediately, only to produce a completely illegible opening song. Not one of the instruments synced with one another, leading to what sounded like band practice. They eventually got everything squared away, and started their set for real, which contained many cover songs from 80’s punk bands. As a tribute band to the first generation of punk rock, they played hits from bands like Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, The Adolescents, and more. They could not contain their excitement on the stage, so once they had finished their set, they marched down to the pit to slam with the rest of us.

The S.C.A.B.S. (Social Critics Against Bullshit Systems) played on stage next. The S.C.A.B.S. play hardcore punk music akin to Black Flag with Henry Rollins. They spent a good amount of time during their set attempting to goad the crowd into moving forward to unintentionally start a pit. When all but a little girl remained put, the band themselves had to take matters into their own hands, and following Jurassic Punx’s lead, they got into the pit once their set had ended.

The night’s trio of headliners would now kick off, starting with Amerikan Made. Since their inception in 1992, Amerikan Made has lived the real punk rock life of partying hard, rocking out, and offending people. If I could name a band that most loves hecklers, I would choose Amerikan Made. Their no-nonsense songs combined with big-balled lyrics makes for the perfect punk show, including songs like Quit Being A Pussy. Once Amerikan Made had reached the final song in their set list, they received word that D.I. still had not yet arrived – as a result, Amerikan Made played two more songs to buy time. This would turn out more in vain than for benefit, as D.I. never appeared until way later in the night.

With D.I. nowhere in sight, JFA started setting up on stage, giving everyone in attendance an earlier headline show than expected. Even a private party off to the side completely unrelated to the show took interest and lined up along the side of the stage for a clear view. Fans who attended a JFA show in February would recognize the set list, as they played nearly the same songs in the same order. This did not daunt the fans, as they raged around the pit tirelessly all through the night. But by the end of JFA’s originally scheduled set list, D.I. still had not arrived at the venue. A phone call from the show organizer revealed that they did not know that the show started in the afternoon. To stall for some more time, JFA played some extra songs, but they could only play so much, as they had nearly exhausted all of their known songs and covers.

About fifteen minutes after JFA played their last song, D.I. finally arrived. Once set up, they started with On The Western Front, which led me to believe that they would play the same set list as the last two shows that I saw them at. Regardless, they still entertained the crowd, thanks in part to vocalist Casey Royer’s random ramblings between songs. Other than that, they performed exactly as they do in previous shows, so nothing exciting truly occurred during their set.

Miss out on this show? You can catch another JFA CD Release Show this Friday night in West Los Angeles. Tickets to this show cost $10 presale or $12 at the door. The first band starts at 8pm. No one under 18 may attend. If you want to know about more punk rock shows coming up, feel free to contact me via Twitter or my Facebook page, both linked on the left side of this window.

When such a legendary musician celebrates an important occasion, you can expect many other big names in the industry to show up and support. Last Friday, The Adolescents bassist Steve Soto turned 50 years old, and in celebratory punk rock fashion, he participated in a two-night punk rock show at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach. As one of the most influential bands in punk rock history, punk rock fans worldwide recognize The Adolescents and would never pass up a chance to see them in action. For this special occasion for Steve Soto, many bands that he had a significant impact on over time have joined together to play this weekend of punk rock, and many more band members came to support and enjoy the music. Individuals from bands such as Hari Kari, Death Hymn Number 9, Agent Orange, and Bad Religion all made an appearance throughout the night, and I believe many more bands also showed up that I did not spot. This post in particular will focus on Friday night’s show.

First up, we have Rats In The Wall. As the night’s hardest band, they most resemble street punk at its hardest. Lead vocalist Eva commands a vast amount of energy on the stage, and lets it all out with her furious voice, especially when she starts to sound like a post-hardcore vocalist. In fact, I see a little bit of Punch in Rats In The Wall. If you have not seen a female screaming vocals, you definitely have to check out Rats In The Wall.

Next on stage, we see The Crowd set up. After last seeing them play with The Adolescents back in April, I had anticipated that they would already garner a large audience by now, which they easily accomplished. For a night of old school punk rock, true fans knew to arrive by now to see the night get better from here on out. The Crowd’s old school sound resembles that of other great old school bands, such as T.S.O.L. With unrelenting poise and style, The Crowd delighted the fans, and got their energy up and riled to set the mood for the rest of the night.

Up next, The Middle Class stepped up to the stage. As another original punk band that got started even prior to The Adolescents, seeing The Middle Class again brought back many memories of the good old days. After 36 years since inception, The Middle Class still brings the punk rock intensity original fans grew up to. With more of a classic sound, they did not play as fast as The Crowd, so The Middle Class did not see as large a pit as The Crowd saw. However, the entire room totally got into the music, and appreciated every second of The Middle Class’ performance.

By this point in the night, I had spotted members from a few local bands in the audience. Everyone anticipated The Adolescents by now, and virtually no one could contain their excitement. Of course, The Adolescents chose the one song to start with that would incite the crowd the greatest. Also, not one to sit out on his own birthday, Steve Soto joined in with the band too, although since they had started after midnight, they technically started to play the day after Steve Soto’s birthday. Once they strolled on stage, the entire audience rushed the stage, while the band had not even started to play. This initial surge had knocked down vocalist Tony Cadena, but this did not daunt him, as he kept singing while on the ground. Throughout the set, other band members made special appearances on stage, such as Agent Orange and Bad Religion. The initial set ended after 1:45am, when the bar had already made a last call. This did not allow The Adolescents to complete their encore, but they went on to play Sonic Reducer anyways.

Saturday night’s show took what transpired on Friday and elevated it to a new level. More fans showed up Saturday night, and more famous bands showed up to support. One would think that after a weekend full of punk rock shows, the fans would start to feel exhausted. I still do not understand how some people managed to attend every show in Long Beach this past weekend. Remember to check out this week’s shows from yesterday’s list of this week’s events, as plenty of punk rock shows will play out this weekend, with more to come in the upcoming weeks as well.