Posts Tagged ‘ONK’

Last Thursday night, Long Beach experienced a night of ska, as Mustard Plug headlined a show at Dipiazzas as part of their west coast tour with Los Kung Fu Monkeys. Mustard Plug rarely travels out here to the west coast, so their trip pleased many of their fans out here. A major player in the ska revival era, Mustard Plug churns out ska-punk music mainly from their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Add to that all the the other amazing bands they rounded up for their tour, and you have the makings of a mobile wave of ska.

The Interrupters kicked off the night with their ska set. With a sound resembling Save Ferris, The Interrupters played much more mellow than the ska/punk music that followed them the rest of the night. They emphasized having fun and enjoying the night rather than getting rowdy. In the middle of their set, the band invited the father of the brothers (in white shirts) to play trombone for one of their Bob Marley covers. Especially for an all-ages show, Mustard Plug chose a perfect band to open the night. If you miss Save Ferris, you owe it to yourself to check out The Interrupters very soon.

Moving forward with the night, Operation No-one Knows (ONK) played their set of Mexican-influenced ska. Their set started mellow, but included some faster songs that got the crowd going hard. They also tended to cover a handful of popular songs, especially by Sublime. As one of the opening bands, their set did not last very long, which means they did not play as many original songs as they could have, as opposed to the cover songs they played.

Reuniting for one final show before throwing in the towel, Just Like Before took to the stage next. This skacore band from South Bay started small over a decade ago, but grew in popularity so fast that they found themselves already on the Warped Tour by 2004. Singing many of their songs in Spanish, JLB appeals to multiple audiences with their mix of songs, including a ska version of the Inspector Gadget theme, and the very vulgar Las Payasas. Close to the end of their set, another man carrying a guitar showed up on stage to do vocals for a song. I had a feeling he belonged to the following band, and I found out later that I guessed right. They closed their set with It’s A Circle, and when they noticed me singing along, they handed the mic to me so I could help sing the chorus. Totally rad! After discovering them back in 2004, I will miss these guys, as they show no signs of lost skill.

Another band I discovered in 2004, Matamoska played next, indicated by the vocalist entering the stage during the previous band. Another great skacore band from Los Angeles, Matamoska played a high-intensity set, complete with songs such as Night of 100 Frights, and an encore with De Verdad. The sound guy tried to get them to end early, but Matamoska held strong and kept playing all the way to the end of their set.

The sub-headliner, Los Kung Fu Monkeys, entered the stage after Matamoska. I discovered them back in 2006, when they played to a ghetto ska/punk style. Now they sound like they still represent that sound, but a lot more refined after years of touring and practice. The skacore band from Tijuana played many of their old hits, such as Short Fuse, as well as tracks from their latest album. A good portion of the crowd showed up only to see them, as many of them left after Los Kung Fu Monkeys had ended. All the better for me, as I knew that Mustard Plug would go next.

At long last, Mustard Plug entered the room and decked out the stage. As one of today’s most prominent ska-punk bands, anyone listening to ska and/or punk rock today has definitely heard of Mustard Plug. Conversely, playing at such a small venue surprised me, as I believe they deserve a grander stage. Their one-hour set consisted of twenty songs, which included hits like Lolita, You, Mr. Smiley, Brain on Ska, and finally closing the night with Beer. Their set even included a cover of Fugazi’s hit Waiting Room. A small venue does not allow much room for interactivity, yet during Mr. Smiley, vocalist Dave Kirchgessner reenacted the namesake character by “attacking” audience members with a foam knife.

Miss out on Mustard Plug? They rarely come out here to the west coast, so it may take some time before seeing them again live without flying out to Michigan. Plenty of other great punk rock and/or ska shows still take place in Southern California, so check my blog weekly for upcoming shows and events!

Orange County Restaurant Week
Now through March 2
Various restaurants in Orange County

For one week, numerous restaurants in Orange County will offer prix-fixe multi-course meals, ranging from $10-20 for lunch and $20-40 for dinner.

2013 OC Music Awards Showcase Series Finals
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm, February 26
House of Blues, Anaheim

This free and all-ages show will feature some of the nominated musicians for the OC Music Awards. Five different local artists will perform and compete for the title of Best Live Band awarded at the OC Music Awards in March. Come see the best of the 7-week series duke it out one last time.

Mustard Plug, Los Kung Fu Monkeys, Matamoska, Just Like Before, and more @ DiPiazzas
7:00 pm – 1:00 am, February 28
DiPiazzas, Long Beach

Ready for this ska show? Mustard Plug rarely plays on the west coast, so you do not want to miss out on this, plus the reunion of Just Like Before. Tickets to this all-ages show cost $10 presale and $13 at the door.

2013 Long Beach Health Freedom Expo
10:00 am – 7:00 pm, March 1-3
Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach

Seek out information about fresh, natural, and healthy living at this expo this weekend in Long Beach. Whereas other expos focus on sales and pushing products onto guests, this expo deals more with information and seminars, educating guests about a natural and healthy lifestyle. Tickets cost $20 for one day or $35 for the entire weekend pass. Parking costs $10, so I suggest parking in the neighborhood east of Alamitos Ave, or taking public transportation.

First Fridays
5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, March 1
Various locations
Long Beach:

This monthly artwalk occurs on the first Friday of every month. Each location offers different activities, but most will contain food & drink specials, art exhibits & displays, street performers, and more. Venice and Long Beach have the two largest gatherings of all First Fridays. Other locations include Westchester, Fullerton, and City of Industry. Most First Fridays locations cost nothing to attend, while the local businesses uphold their standard rules (e.g. bars 21+ only).

Noche de Estrellas
6:30 pm – 10:30 pm, March 1
Aquarium of the Pacific, Long Beach

This all-ages Latin-themed party celebrates the sea stars of the aquarium. Live bands, DJ’s, dancers, and more will keep the Latin music going all throughout the night. Entry into this party comes with the cost of admission into the aquarium.

Beer Savage Art Show
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm, March 1
Noble Ale Works, Anaheim

Independent artists from across the country fly in for one night to exhibit their work at Noble Ale Works this Friday night. Free to attend, this event will also feature a live DJ, food trucks, and a special beer release.

The Secret Affair – 60’s Night
9:00 pm – 1:00 am, March 1
Alex’s Bar, Long Beach

Occurring on every month’s first Friday, this 60’s night at Alex’s Bar will play all vinyl music of motown, northern soul, boogaloo, 60’s pop, and more. Feel free to dress up too, as the bar staff will hold costume contests and dance contests.

Bake ‘N Buy Fundraiser + Bake Sale
11:00 am – 4:00 pm, March 2
Jones Coffee, Pasadena

Buy delicious treats from various chefs and bakers from around Los Angeles, or fill yourself up from the Grilled Cheese Truck at this fundraiser this Saturday in Pasadena.

Grand Park Downtown BookFest
11:00 am – 6:00 pm, March 2
Grand Park, Downtown Los Angeles

Book lovers rejoice! Readers of all ages can enjoy this free gathering that brings together the joys of books and more. Live DJ’s will keep music on the entire time, and food trucks will keep hungry guests fed.

12th Annual Lantern Festival
12:00 pm – 7:00 pm, March 2
Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles

This free and all-ages festival celebrates Chinese tradition with recreations of street fairs filled with illuminating lanterns, music, lion dance, interactive arts & crafts, and more, all culminating with a glow-in-the-dark dragon dance at the end of the day. Local food businesses will sell authentic Chinese food and drinks as well.