Image courtesy of Society for Long Beach Music.
Why does Long Beach still matter to the rest of the music industry? That's the question organizers of Society for Long Beach Music and Falling Mirrors Collective would like to answer this Thursday at the Federal Underground, during an event that seeks to showcase both local and popular talent in one, perfectly curated night of multiple musical genres.
On Thursday the two organizations will partner to showcase the talented likes of Bobby Blunders, Via Leaves and Bootleg Orchestra, three local bands that will open for Santa Ana-based beatmaker and hip-hop producer Free the Robots, the passion project of Chris Alfaro (pictured), who has shared the stage with Los Angeles-based experimental hip hop club Low End Theory performers Flying Lotus, Prefuse 73 and DJ Shadow, among other talented artists.
Menchie Caliboso, who co-founded Society for Long Beach Music, is a major advocate for Long Beach’s music scene rife with raw talent and has been working tirelessly to not only lift local musicians up to the limelight, but to bring nationally renowned artists to the city as well, for everyone’s benefit, fans and artists alike.
“When people think of Long Beach music, Snoop Dogg or Sublime often come up,” she said. “We want to expand that conversation to include other Long Beach-bred musicians who have reached success in the world of popular music.”
Caliboso explained that a number of musicians and producers who live in Long Beach have paid their dues for their passions behind the scenes of the multi-tiered music industry. Many of them have now reached a point in their careers where they prefer creating their own original content and “hustling” as independent artists, instead of continuing the slow climb up the commercial success ladder for the sake of another artist’s work.
“Those musicians are here in Long Beach and this show is just one manifestation of that,” she said.
Reggae, soul and jazz collective Via Leaves, the house band of the monthly R&B/hip-hop showcase Fight Club LBC, is the creative work of Kelsey Gonzalez, former bassist for legendary rapper Nas and Grammy award-winning singer, Miguel and is the current bassist for soul singer Anderson Paak. Indie rock and soul group Bobby Blunders is spearheaded by Jesse Carzello, former guitarist of Free Moral Agents, the rock group spurred and directed by the beloved, Grammy-award winning keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens. Owens also makes an appearance on Free The Robots’ album, Ctrl Alt Delete.
New to the scene is Bootleg Orchestra, a local soul and jazz-inspired trio featuring members of The Vespertines and a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Caliboso is a multi-instrumentalist and the producer of the group, which released their debut EP in May of this year.
Free the Robots (Alpha Pup Records) has released three albums and six EPs, in addition to producing five albums, and will be returning from a tour of Asia to perform homecoming shows in both Los Angeles and Long Beach. Free the Robots borrows from psychedelic rock, funk, and jazz to create an analog, video game-infused hip-hop sound, says Caliboso.
This unique combination of artists performing together, according to Society for Long Beach Music, seeks to celebrate the bridge that connects Long Beach with popular music and show how the Long Beach music community has impacted the pop genre.
Tokotah Ashcraft, spearhead of the Long Beach event and production company, Falling Mirrors Collective, says that the city is bursting with creative talent and the music industry already knows that.
“The Long Beach music scene is already blowing up and it’s only a matter of time until people will drive down the 710 more often to see what we will do next,” she told the Post. On putting together the event, she focuses on building a vibe and sense of community.
Those who attend on Thursday will have the chance to experience a little electronica, indie rock, soul/jazz, reggae and hip hop, sourced from a local standpoint and bridged to include a producer among the first wave of LA’s renowned experimental beatmakers.
Tickets will be sold at the door for $7. Doors open at 8:00PM; show begins at 8:30PM.
Image of Chris Alfaro courtesy of Free the Robots.