by Sophie Pay
Music tastes so good! With a revolving stage transitioning smoothly from one band to the next, the Long Beach stage at Music Tastes Good Festival brought amazement to everyone’s faces. With the ocean to the right and the skyline of downtown Long Beach on the other, there was no doubt this was the perfect place. In its second year Music Tastes Good traveled from the downtown streets to its new home at Marina Green Park. The lines were almost non-existent whether you were just arriving or walking around festival grounds to find a bite to eat.
It was very evident that this year's Music Tastes Good was paying homage to the late Josh Fischel, the founder of Music Tastes Good who sadly passed just a few days after the first MTG. A very large cassette tape sculpture stood tall with “Josh’s Mix” written on top.
With a very diverse lineup with bands like Slaves, Heaven 17, and RIDE coming from the UK to Juana Molina from Argentina to Los Master Plus from Mexico; all bases were covered. Headliners included bands Ween and Sleater-Kinney. One band in particular that caught my full attention was Vagabon fronted by Laetita Tamko, her songs poured out so many emotions. Stripping down to just guitar at one moment her emotions were escaping into the crowd and finding a place in our hearts. I felt as if I was taken into another world.
One memorable moment was when Heaven 17 started playing and instantly we were brought back to the 80s, the crowd transformed instantly into a London nightclub. Everyone was dancing and having so much fun; it was a sight to see.
As the sun began to go down, of Montreal hit the stage playing one of my favorite albums, “Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?” in its entirety to celebrate its 10 year anniversary, Singer Kevin Barnes came on stage sporting a blonde wig, turquoise mini skirt, and red tights bringing color into the performance. The night ended with RIDE, one of my top favorite bands who I got to see live for the very first time. The performance of “Lannoy Point” off of their most recent album, “Weather Diaries” was the best moment of the night. I found myself stuck in a trance for a split moment.
On the second day I took it very easy and arrived in the afternoon to see Furcast, Y La Bamba, and Jay Som. Into the day Dengue Fever played, an American band fronted by Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol got everyone in the crowd dancing. Their songs are performed in English and Khmer, a mix of psychedelic rock with bits of surf and garage sounds. David Ralicke, a member of the band broke out into a saxophone solo and the energy transmitted was tremendous.
The Old 97s was the last band of the day that I saw and they played their way through the rotating stage, still one of my favorite parts of the festival. The set included many songs off of their most recent album “Graveyard Whistling” including some crowd favorites, “Timebomb” and “Rollerskate Skinny”. They even went on to play “Question” following the request of a couple that were getting married soon. With the ocean breeze flying through, nothing could be more perfect than that moment.
The glowing Music Tastes Good sign lit up the festival grounds at night and kids were walking around with their parents having the time of their lives. The atmosphere of Music Tastes Good was like no other festival. My whole life I always hoped that a music festival would be in an arm’s reach and it finally happened, a place for people to discover new music. Growing up in Southern California most festivals take place in the L.A. area and getting there isn’t the easiest. Having a music festival in my hometown makes me proud and hopeful that Long Beach will now be known for its amazing music festivals.
Clips from Music Tastes Good Festival 2017:
Photos from Music Tastes Good 2017 (Photos by Sophie Pay)