Summer and Music Returns to Long Beach while Funk Fest Stays Alive with George Clinton and the P-Funk Family

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De Lux pumps the crowd with dance’n’punk at Fingerprints. Photo by Brian Addison.

For anyone who received the notification from the Downtown Long Beach Associate (DLBA) regarding the 2014 Summer and Music (S.A.M.) concert series, there was one glaring omission: the Long Beach Funk Fest.

Funk Fest’s disappearance was from the announcement was shocking because the fest was not, in the words of S.A.M. co-founder Justin Hectus, some funk-wannabe-yeah-sure brouhaha that doesn’t exude everything funky about funk. The Long Beach Funk Fest’s point was to get down to the sound; it was true, genuine funk.

But rest assured: the festival will not only be at the Queen Mary under their hospices, it will feature none other than George Clinton and the P-Funk Family that is Parliament Funkadelic.

2014SAM 04Hence why the announcement, given last night at S.A.M. co-founder Rand Foster’s famed Fingerprints record shop, was slightly held off: the Funk Fest is not only alive and well but it’s being hosted by the biggest Mary in town while hosting the reigning king of funk that is the iconic George Clinton. We are, after all, talking about the man (and his many band members) that brought us “Atomic Dog.” This, unquestionably, was to be something special.

The funky departure from the DLBA to the Queen Mary is not necessarily a moment for pause more than it simply shows the power of the original mission of S.A.M.: to show off Long Beach as both a venue for music and a center of gravity for its creation.

After all, with the appearances of Los Angeles-by-way-of-Texas brother duo PawnShop Kings and oh-my-gods-LCD-Soundsystem-is-making-babies-with-the-Talking-Heads LA duo that is De Lux, Hectus and Foster made one message very clear last night: S.A.M. ain’t goin’ nowhere and will continue to foster a music scene in Long Beach like no other celebration.

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The PawnShop Kings bring the on soul and southern rock.

Hosting a trio of artists last night—the aforementioned PawnShop Kings and De Lux as well as Long Beach-based The Hawkline Monster—Fingerprints offered a hint of what is to come this summer as S.A.M. hosts four major events, one of which is entirely new.

Classics returning to the spaces and places of the LBC first include Dancin’ in the Streets, bringing its third year running after Nick Waterhouse—the soulful Californian who shares a label with De Lux and will be making a stop in Long Beach for his tour (more on that later)—brought Long Beach to its feet in 2012. Returning will be local fave DJ Lithuanian Prince, along with the Allah-las (classic surf rock meets LA), who will turn the Promenade into a can’t-stop-your-feet party come June 28.

2014SAM 02The beautiful mixture that is film-meets-music-meets-bike that is the Bicycle Drive-In is back in full force. I know: it sounds odd but last year’s showing of The Triplets of Belleville in the Park(d) Plaza with a performance by Hedgehog Swing and a handful of others was cooler than the other the side of the pillow. This year will feature Rosie Harlow & The Tall Tale Boys with a yet-to-be-announced feature film at the A Lot on North Pine Avenue on August 2.

Buskerfest, arguably the most significant event that S.A.M. has created and certainly its most popular, returns to set up shop in the East Village as local and regional bands compete across four stages. The point is simple: to keep it simple—flatbed trucks as stages, minimal equipment, and serve some musical honey to busk the crowd for wooden nickels. PawnShop Kings won this honor five years ago—and come September 6, a new winner will be crowned.

The newest addition to the 2014 S.A.M. is Twisted at the Pike, which will feature the aforementioned De Lux and buzz-soaked Fartbarf, the crew which dons creepy-yet-amusing gorilla outfits while pounding out some of the most danceable robotic beats this side of Chromeo.

Long Beach, let the sounds of summer soak in. Grab a beer, bop your head, shake your feet, chill out, kick back—whatever you do, just go to S.A.M.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food to politics to urban transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 12 nominations and an additional win for Best Political Commentary. Born in Big Bear, he has lived in Long Beach since college. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.