Music Tastes Good: Year One

music tastes good warpaint

Bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg and vocalist/guitarist Emily Kokal of Warpaint singing during their set later in the evening.

A look into the second day of Long Beach’s block party

Words and Photos by Isaura Aceves Contributor

Strong blue guitar riffs and soulful vocals were projecting from the stage as Dr. Dog performed their hit “Lonesome.”  But, once they arrived at the second verse, it was no longer just the singer, but the audience joining in. 

After each verse, the whole audience yelled “Hey!” in perfect unison as the singer continues to finish it. At that moment, there was no longer a separation from the audience and the band. It was as if the audience had become part of the band.

Once they sang the chorus, the audience kept their high energy and didn’t stop singing along with them. The band then stopped playing all at once during the song for a dramatic effect and continued playing the chorus. 

The singer walked onto the speakers off the stage, causing the audience go into a frenzy. As he sang the last line of the song “Nothing at All,” he held on the last note on top of the speaker and walked back on stage as the audience cheered.

music tastes good Dave Fisher

Dave Fisher of Lost Weekend giving his audience a rather seductive look.

This was only one of the amazing performances at Long Beach’s first big music festival, Music Tastes Good. It was a three-day festival from Friday, Sept. 23 until Sunday, Sept. 25, showcasing over 40 bands and restaurants in the streets of downtown Long Beach. 

The second day of festival held some of the biggest bands such as Dr. Dog, Warpaint, and Iron & Wine. The attendees were able to walk around, hear music, see art and enjoy good food throughout the weekend. 

The catchy lyrics and rhythm of Dr. Dog make it irresistible to not sing along to and drew in one of the biggest crowds during the festival. They’re a mix of folk rock and indie, creating a unique sound that has brought fans amongst all ages.

They played around 14 songs and many of their singles in their 60-minute set. 

Among their set, the song “Nellie” had me singing along nonstop. I tried to concentrate on taking a perfect shot until I gave up and swayed along their slower melody along with the audience.

Another performance that took everyone’s breath away on Saturday night was the bewitching band Warpaint. As they stepped on stage, the fog machine went on and the introductory bass riff started. This created a dreamlike presence as they started singing and harmonizing almost as if they were the perfect sirens. 

Everyone, including myself, seemed fully captivated by their presence as one couldn’t help but feel their strong bass line and melodic guitar synchronized with their beating heart. 

music tastes good lovelis

Dustin Lovelis really making “music taste good” during his group’s set

Once they finished the song, the spell was over. Guitarist and singer Emily Kokal encouraged everyone jokingly to start dancing as she said, “I just came back from a festival…[and] they were dancing naked so you have to meet us halfway. And take off your clothes.” They then played “New Song” from their latest album “Heads Up”. 

In comparison to their hauntingly melodic songs, this song held more of an electro pop beat. This upbeat tempo change had everyone on stage and in the audience dancing along with them. Their performance left me in a drunken stupor state as if I woke up from a dream.

Although the night performances may have drawn in the biggest crowds, early local bands also left an impression. The first band to perform was the Lost Weekend which combines country, folk and rock.  

The raspy vocals from the singer made you feel as if you were in a concert in the South through the band’s rich sound. Their performance left me in a happy mood for the rest of the festival. 

music tastes good Spider

Lead vocalist Hector Martinez and bassist Steve Westerkamp of Spider playing early on in the day.

Dustin Lovelis is a local artist from Long Beach that performed at the festival as well.  His indie alternative sound gathered quite a big audience as they waited patiently for his performance. His songs vary from slow to fast tempos which keeps you moving along with his band’s beat. He proves to be quite versatile as he implements synthetic keyboards and folk riffs with clean, consistent vocals. 

 Among my favorites of the festival were the punk rock band, Spiders that taught us no matter your age, rebellion never dies. Also, garage indie band Golden Drugs, alternative group Randy de Anda and emo girl punk band Girlpool were amongst my favorites.

This may have been the first year for the festival, but I can hardly wait for what’s to come next year.


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