Long Beach Chills Out at Summer and Music’s Indie Rock at the Pike

The Blank Tapes 4

Photos by Angela Ratzlaff

Grey clouds, psychedelic tunes and blankets in the grass brought a laid back San Francisco vibe to the city of Long Beach during Summer and Music’s Indie Rock at the Pike event. 

The free concert took place in front of the Ferris wheel at the Pike in Downtown Long Beach Saturday evening. Even with the rain scare, locals still came out and stayed for the music, beer and bean bag toss games.

Local bands like Mystic Braves, Song Preservation Society and The Blank Tapes, pulled pedestrians from the sidewalks and set the mood for a kicked back afternoon. The main act, The Olms featuring J.D. King and Pete Yorn, capped off the evening, playing a set in front of a yellow gold hue from the spinning Ferris wheel.

“It was cool, I loved it,” Yorn said about the 1960s revival. “It seemed like a lot of cool rock ‘n’ roll musicians paying homage to a different time and kind of freshening things up.”

Song Preservation Society 4Echoes of fuzzed guitar and warped Wurlitzer keys filled Downtown Long Beach as some stopped to take a second glance at Mystic Braves’ long tunics and round-framed sunglasses. The group kicked off the festivities at 4PM with a set of original songs that sounded like they were recorded in the Bay Area circa 1964.

Following Mystic Braves was Los Angeles folk trio, Song Preservation Society. Consisting of Daniel Wright, Trevor Bhamson and Ethan Glazer, the three boys called back to the folk music movement from the ‘60s Café Wah? scene in Greenwich Village, New York. Their harmonized melodies and mandolin cameos reawakened a flower power sensation as some crowd members blew bubbles and swayed to the music.

Another Los Angeles group, The Blank Tapes, put a simplified spin on their surf rock grooves with their line-up of Matt Adams on lead vocals and guitar, Pearl Charles on snare, floor tom and tambourine and DA Humphrey on bass. As a glare from a peek-a-boo sun shone on Adams’ aviator sunglasses, Charles danced back and forth to upbeat rhythms while providing sweet backup vocals to songs about surf, sun and love.

Headliners The Olms took the stage at 7PM and greeted a large crowd of with the running theme of 1960s pop songs.

“I’ve always been drawn to that, because I’ve been collecting records for a really long time,” King explained about the throw back ’60s era. “Just the production, the harmonies, just the style, [is] like an explosion of color. Using that medium you can do anything you want to, you can infuse rock with anything else in a strange way. It’s really like picking out your paints as an artist.”

Mystic Braves 5

Dressed in a purple velvet suit and oversized vintage rings, former Long Beach resident King accompanied renowned alternative artist Yorn by playing keyboard, flute and trumpet for songs off their debut self-titled album. Tunes, like the pop infused “Twice as Nice” and the flute-backed “Another Daydream,” got the audience clapping their hands and dancing with each other.

Because Yorn and King have known each other for a good while, their push to come out with an album together came along naturally.

“We became friends eight or nine years ago,” Yorn said. “Two years ago, we started building a home studio, and making music in there. We had a lot of material that people were excited about, so we put out a record.”
The Olms plan to tour Euorpe and America, with booked shows including the fitting Bat Fest in Austin, Texas, where the boys plan on wearing capes in addition to playing a set of psychedelic tunes.

The next Summer and Music event, the Bicycle Drive-In, will take place on August 10 and will offer a film screening alongside summertime music. The most anticipated event, Buskerfest, will take place on August 17. Both events are free and are set to take place in the Downtown area.

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