The G-Funk Fest - The Observatory - March 15, 2014

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Yes, that's Spice-1 and MC Eiht on the same stage at the same time.
The G-Funk Fest
The Observatory
March 15, 2014

It's been three years since west coast hip-hop's most respected crooner Nate Dogg passed away. Like all other hip-hop artists who have passed, his death only seemed to bolster his impact and bring it back to the spotlight. It's well deserved too; what would California summers and springs even be like without hearing a Nate Dogg hook somewhere during your daily routine?

Though the G-Funk era seems pretty dated in 2014, it lives on through the artists of the era who still produce music and do shows, and through its impact on the current West Coast revival. The Observatory celebrated the life of Nate Dogg and and his contemporaries in the fashion it knows best: hip-hop bills filled with west coast rap veterans, including Warren G, MC Eiht, Spice 1, Kokane & Big Hutch of Above the Law, and 2nd II None. That's four musical sectors of California -- Long Beach, LA, the Bay Area, and Pomona -- covered within a few hours.

See also: The Top Rappers in OC


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Final Conflict Explain Their Break-Up Just in Time For Their Reunion

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Angela Boatwright
This weekend, Alex's Bar celebrates 14 years of coolness with anniversary shows. Friday's lineup includes the recently reunited bands Final Conflict of Orange County/Long Beach, and hardcore band BL'AST! from Santa Cruz. You can also see the Stitches and Smogtown, and Saturday's show features Swingin' Utters, Old Man Markley, the Black Tibetans, Devil Dogs and Transistor LB.

Yeah, those are all great bands to interview, but I knew I had to speak to Final Conflict singer Ron Martinez. Not only was the 48-year-old a staple of Orange County punk (he booked shows everywhere -- including Chain Reaction -- and worked at Greene Records), he's been a friend for a decade and we hadn't spoken in far too long because he moved to Austin, Texas, four years ago, which might have something to do with the healing of my liver.

Friendship aside, Final Conflict was always a powerful live act. And the group's 1987 record Ashes to Ashes slays and if you don't own it, you should because it's like that dream you had when Black Flag and Black Sabbath became the same band.


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Rival Sons' Schtick-Free Rock is Ripe For NYE Homecoming

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Ready to rock Long Beach.

If you were to peruse the Weekly archives from the late '90s and early '00s, there's a musician whose name was covered in Costco-sized tubs of music journo slobber and repeatedly heralded as the next big thing. We had it bad for Long Beach's Jay Buchanan from the first note. It was only a matter of time before Buchanan was a huge star, we screamed, and anyone who didn't agree could just pull up a chair in Hell.

Since 2008, Buchanan's busied himself fronting the 290-horsepower Z28 of rock bands, Rival Sons. Guitarist Scott Holiday's blistering Led Zeppelin-style riffs combined with our old friend's lyrical lovelies and haunting, pitch-perfect vocal chords torqued the band to fame abroad.

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Wink Musselman:Long Beach's Debonair Lounge Legend Returns

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Wink Musselman holding the press at arm's length.

Back in the '90s and early '00s, there was no question who the star performer was in Long Beach. Wink Musselman, lounge singer extraordinaire, would definitely be the first to confirm that he, Wink Musselman, was--correction--IS the star wherever he goes.

He's a little Oscar Wilde, a tad Engelbert Humperdink, a smidge Gary Coleman of 'Different Strokes.' But know this: Wink Musselman is all fabulousness.

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The Porch is a House Show Venue With It's Own Scene, And It's Own Record Label

Categories: long beach

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Courtesy Casey Terrazas
The Porch Party gang

On a recent Friday night, up-and-coming Long Beach hip-hop duo the Natives began placing their equipment in a draped corner of Casey Terrazas' living room as nearly 100 friends mingled in anticipation.

Some stood in the kitchen and noshed on homemade hummus and spanakopita, while on the stoop, others sipped craft beer. Still others filled the small front yard of the Fourth Street house known to local artists and music fans as the Porch.

Before the Natives launched into one of their lyrically conscious, DJ-backed tracks, however, a Long Beach police cruiser pulled into the middle lane of the street--ordinarily a buzzkill for any house show. But this isn't your typical house.


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Jetpack Jones: Lakewood's Laidback Emcee

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Jetpack Jones
At a park in Lakewood, David Jones can barely have a minute to himself without catching up with the constant stream of people who recognize him. It's a weekday evening, but the grounds are crowded like Saturday afternoon, and within minutes Jones amasses a small huddle of people around him. The attention isn't even for the fact that, as Jetpack Jones, he's become one of the city's few rising rappers. This is where he was raised, and he doesn't need to have blog buzz to make connections. "I'm just a chill ass dude," he jokes.

To the digital world outside of Lakewood, Jones has started to receive acclaim and assemble a respectable fanbase as a rapper. He hasn't become known for the usual gangsta rap proclamations expected of a West Coast rapper, nor does he fits into the latest LA indie trend. He takes a tranquil, melodic approach to his music that turns his quip into being a "chill ass dude" into actual, concrete fact.


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Crooked I: "No One Wants to Hear A Dumb Rapper"

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Last Tuesday, on the release date of his debut album Apex Predator, LBC-rooted rapper Crooked I had a moment of reflection at the intersection of Palmer Court and 20th St in Long Beach, at the studio apartment of his teenage years. He sat and admired his surroundings. It was here at this apartment--where he lived with his older brother--that a 15 year-old Long Beach kid born Dominick Wickliffe decided he wanted to take up being an emcee as his life's work. Some years later, the 34 year-old rapper went from a kid idolizing hip-hip heroes to actually becoming one himself.

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10 Songs to Celebrate the Defeat of DOMA

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Courtesy Big Freedia
Big Freedia
According to my Facebook feed, apparently the gays can get married. Or something like that (I didn't read any of those posts). I'm excited not only because legalizing gay marriage is the right thing to do, but because I've learned weddings are the best way to pick up chicks. So, more weddings means more girls, which is totally not gay (not for me, anyway).

Even more importantly, the term "holy matrimony" is single-person code for "massive party" where everyone gets wasted and has a blast. And you know who throws the best parties? The gays, which means gay weddings are going to be fucking awesome.

So hooray to all my homosexual brethren and sistren! You've now earned the right to be as miserable as every one of my married friends. But before you can be miserable, go weeks without sex, get hit with under-the-cover farts, feel the frustration that comes from your husband/wife's lack of dishwashing ability and sit through countless uncomfortable Thanksgiving dinners, you need to get wild.Here, to help you get wild, are 10 gay-friendly songs sure to make any party fabulous.


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10 Songs LBSO Probably Shouldn't Play in a Firehouse

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Just like the Wu-Tang Clan, the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra is for the children. If they weren't, the group wouldn't be presenting a family-friendly concert Sunday at the Engine Company No. 8 fire station in Long Beach at 4 p.m.

The event, part of LBSO's "Sound & Space" concert series, is an interactive show featuring a brass band and the west coast premiere of a song called "Fire in the Big Top." The tune -- narrated by Bob Joles, best known as the voice you hear on the Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland -- "tells the story of Tom and Maggie, two children living in Long Beach in 1906, who sneak off to watch the circus and are surprised by an adventure they will never forget."

The LBSO's press release doesn't mention how long "Fire in the Big Top" is, so there's no way of knowing if they plan to perform other material. But if they do, here are 10 songs you probably won't hear.

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Rocket From the Crypt Bassist Petey X Never Says Never When It Comes to His Band Reuniting

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Greg Jacobs
There's no shortage of good bands playing the Ink-N-Iron festival this weekend at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Sadly, we can't pay much attention to bands that are merely "good" when the world's greatest band of all time is playing. That's right, folks -- Rocket From the Crypt is performing Saturday night and if that's not enough to get your ass off the couch--even for a festival focused on cars and tattoos-- then it's time to start reevaluating your life.

It's a big deal any time the world's greatest band plays (full disclosure: I'm kind of a fan), but it's an even bigger deal when the show marks the first time in nearly eight years that the world's greatest band is playing on American soil. An announced show, anyway.

Rocket From the Crypt held an uber-secret gig on Easter at Bar Pink in San Diego (this writer attended), but that performance was for approximately 100 heathens who view the six members of Rocket From the Crypt (singer/guitarist John "Speedo" Reis, bassist Pete "Petey X" Reichert, guitarist Andy "ND" Stamets, drummer Mario "Ruby Mars" Rubalcaba, trumpet player Jason "JC2000" Crane and saxophonist Paul "Apollo 9" O'Beirne) as musical Messiahs whose triumphant return to the stage was infinitely more important to humanity than some bearded hippie who rose from the dead.

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