Included on the menu at next weekend’s Music Tastes Good festival are a chef and a band who have paid their dues and done their homework in Long Beach.
Chef Arthur Gonzalez, participating at MTG for the third year, is Executive Chef at two Long Beach restaurants; Panxa Cocina in Belmont Heights and Roe Seafood in Belmont shore.
The Fling, a hard-working four-piece creating music in Long Beach since 2007, will take the MTG Franklin Stage early Sunday afternoon.
“My culinary approach is Classic Roots, with a seasonal Southern California edge,” said Chef Gonzalez, who spends his work hours shuttling between the Southwest Fusion-style Panxa and Roe.
“Long Beach is a great dining-out town because it’s just starting to build,” said the Chef. “We’re getting a lot of new restaurants and chefs. We have great ethnic neighborhoods with amazing restaurants and fine dining establishments.”
Chef Gonzalez got schooled in multi-ethnic cuisine at home when he was young: His Grandmother prepared Oaxacan food, his Mother contributed German dishes and he was lucky enough to experience cuisine from other corners of the world through meals at the homes of friends.
After becoming enamored of cooking during his rookie season as a firefighter, the Chef left the fire department and embarked on a culinary education which included stints at local mainstays Spaghettini and Mahe, and a comprehensive tutelage under award-winning Chef Eric Distefano at restaurants in New Mexico and Arizona.
Visitors to Chef Gonzalez’ presentation at MTG next weekend may find themselves hungering for Charred Queso Oaxaca or Chimayo Pozole from the Panxa menu, or perhaps a taste of Crab Croquettes or Hickory Grilled Salmon Steak from the Roe menu.
“I love MTG,” said Chef Gonzalez. “It’s my third year being involved and I’m so stoked to be a part of something big, helping it grow, and exposing our city to amazing music and food.”
Long Beach band The Fling has raised its profile in recent days, getting signed to Dangerbird Records after self-releasing their impressive debut album, “When The Madhouses Appear,” in 2011. They’ve been interviewed on KROQ and KCRW. Their sound could be described as being firmly in the “indie-rock” camp, but their guitar-army approach and eerily familiar-sounding vocal performances evoke serious classic influences. Indeed, the vocal effect created by the Lovelis brothers (Dustin on guitar, Graham on bass) is often uncannily reminiscent of Late-Period Lennon and McCartney.
“I listened to a lot of Teenage Fanclub a long time ago and I always thought it was cool,” said Dustin. “You can go all the way back to The Beatles, Beach Boys – there’s a lot of really great bands that have a lot of songwriters and they have all these different angles of who writes the darker songs, who writes the pop songs. There are just so many different angles when you have that many different songwriters. I think it’s really cool to bounce off each other.”
The Lovelis bounce their ideas off of Justin Ivey (drums) and Joel Bond (guitars, keys, vocals).
Like Chef Gonzalez, the brothers Lovelis got their creative passions ignited early, at home: Their Father, a musician, was a member of a band called The Fling before he disbanded it to concentrate on his family.
The musical model for The Fling’s melodic, multi-layered sound is “kind of always changing,” said Dustin, “but it’s ‘write a good catchy pop song and then bring it to the band and have them beat the sh*t out of it.’ Layer it with as much stuff as you can until you’re satisfied with both the way the song sounds and the song itself. And that’s a really fun thing to do – it’s fun to see the song that you’ve written take on a completely new life and become something awesome that you wouldn’t have done if you were just by yourself.”
Forecast for next weekend in Long Beach: Clear skies, warm temperatures, quirky-beautiful art installations, a cornucopia of culinary curiosities and a fine menu of rich sonic delights at Music Tastes Good.
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