Dancin’ in the Streets Kicks Off Summer and Music’s 5th Year with Matt Costa, Sam Outlaw, Reverend Baron

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Residents dance in the streets at Summer and Music’s inaugural summer event. Photos by Angela Ratzlaff 

Families danced on chalk-dusted asphalt. Warm 1960s 45s spun on DJ Luthinan Prince’s turntables. Food vendors serving fresh pizzas and beer filled the nighttime air with a savory aroma–summer had officially arrived in the streets of Long Beach.

Summer and Music’s first event, Dancin’ in the Streets, filled the Downtown area with kids, elders and everyone in between. Performers included alternative artist Matt Costa, local country purist Sam Outlaw and folk-star-on-the-rise Reverend Baron.

“I didn’t know what to expect as far as coming here,” Orange County-based musician Costa admitted. “I’ve always had a fond connection with Long Beach. Even the first recordings I’ve ever done were recorded in Long Beach.”

Costa was introduced and later joined by the first performer Reverend Baron, who laid out a solo set of sleepy folk songs. He called back to traditional 1930s standards with a red hollow-body guitar and harmonica. Sweet melodies flowed in the breeze, instigating the crowd to clap their hands and sway back and forth.

reverendbaron5Summer and Music veteran Sam Outlaw took the stage next, fronting a full band that included steel pedal guitar, keys and a stand-up bass.

“I don’t claim to be a country guy,” Outlaw justified. “I was born in South Dakota. Quite frankly, growing up there was only one country band I was exposed to, which is this awesome western swing revival band called Asleep at the Wheel based out of Austin, Texas.”

Outlaw, who called Long Beach his home for seven years, participated in 2010’s Buskerfest, a Summer and Music staple.
Classic country sounds were revived during Outlaw’s performance, which was heavily influenced by artists like George Jones and Buck Owens. Drawled vocals stretched over the twang of steel lap guitar while a hollow stand-up bass thump kept the tunes grounded.

After remnants of honky-tonk vibes slowly dissipated from Outlaw’s performance, Costa took the stage with his full band, which included Reverend Baron on guitar. With poppy undertones and upbeat rhythms, the single “Mr. Pitiful” off of 2008’s Unfamiliar Faces opened up the set, instantly firing up hand claps and foot tapping.

samoutlaw4“To have some newer songs that really impact people, maybe even more than the older songs, that means something,” Costa said. “The old songs don’t go away, they are still there, but for someone to really feel passionate about something new, that’s important to me.”

Costa maintained the energy with a joint performance of “Good Times are Coming,” bringing out Sam Outlaw to join in during the chorus.

“We were all mutual friends, and we have a community of us through music we met each other,” Costa said. “I never know what’s going to happen exactly as far as what people are going to come on stage.”

A solo performance of “Vienna” rounded out the night, giving Long Beach an intimate moment with the folk genre that they may never forget.

Summer and Music’s next event, Funk Fest, will take place July 6 on Pine and Broadway. Tickets are $15 online or via Fingerprints and $20 at the door.

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