The Dwarves and The Queers - Alex's Bar - July 16, 2014

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Ryan Ritchie
The Dwarves
The Dwarves and The Queers
Alex's Bar
7/16/2014

As far as Dwarves shows go, last night's at Alex's Bar was fairly uneventful. And by that, I mean no one got naked, stabbed, punched or vomited on. Then again, the self-proclaimed best band ever (seriously, they have a song called "The Dwarves Are Still The Best Band Ever") ditched their infamous on-stage debauchery sometime in the mid to late 1990s, so if you went to Long Beach looking for sex and violence, you were probably let down.

That said, the current Dwarves -- singer Blag Dahlia, guitarist The Fresh Prince of Darkness, bassist Chip Fracture and drummer Gregory Pecker -- still fucking rule. Of course, the absence of long-time guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed was sorely missed, but anytime a naked man in a wrestling mask isn't somewhere, absences will be sorely missed.


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Long Beach Summer and Music Series Lineups Announced

Categories: long beach

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Sarah Bennett
First-year Buskerfest winners Pawn Shop Kings
In a city like Long Beach that has long harbored a tenuous relationship with live music (aka it's hard to find places with the permits play it and rarely does the city make it easy to host festivals that feature it), an entirely free summer series that brings music to the streets sounds like downright insanity.

For the last five years, however, the Downtown Long Beach Associates--a nonprofit organization funded by residents and businesses in the dowtown area--has put on Summer and Music, a series of four events over four months that each feature local bands, food and beer in a themed, often family-friendly setting.

Though some of the events have changed concepts, locations and genres over the years, constants like Buskerfest (a good-natured competition which pits small-time bands against each other in the East Village Arts District) and Funkfest (with acts like Charles Wright and Fred Wesley, James Brown's bandleader) has helped Summer and Music be thrice named OC Weekly's Best Music Festival.

This summer, local music fans can expect more of the same and some of the different, according to the lineup for SAM's sixth iteration, released Thursday. Notably missing is Funkfest, which last year had to move to a ticketed system and this year will be a Queen Mary event held on September 1. Below are the four SAM events coming to Long Beach streets this summer:

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Long Beach Remembers the Life of Markus Manley

Categories: long beach

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Artists, musicians and friends will gather in Long Beach tomorrow to celebrate Markus Manley, a local community activist and co-founder of Work Evolution Laboratories (WE Labs), who passed away March 18 due to complications from autoimmune hepatitis. He was 39.

As an artist, concert promoter and entrepreneur, Manley had a unifying impact on wide swaths of Long Beach culture for years. His community work culminated in WE Labs, an office and workspace for small business start-ups, freelancers and creative professionals that has become a downtown hub of innovation. Before that, Manley established himself as a force for good by filling Long Beach venues like the Blue Café and the Basement with local music and community events.

"Markus was the brains behind one of the first free music festivals in downtown Long Beach that featured local bands, which was a predecessor to summer music festivals like Buskerfest," says Menchie Caliboso, who collaborated with Manley and Sarah Bennett to start an organization called the Society for Long Beach Music, which champions the LBC's outsized impact on music and culture. "The essence of his role in Long Beach was that when someone had an idea that they wanted to execute, he was a really good resource ... if you brought him an idea, he would help it take off."


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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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