Photos By: Summer Luu and Alexander Dantes

By: Amanda Martinek and Ned Molder

With all the explosive and awkward energy of a high school Halloween dance, Beach Goth 4 at the Observatory in Santa Ana was bigger, better, and beachier than ever. In it’s fourth year of life, The Growlers‘ goth baby is all grown up. With a two-day mandatory ticket going for $100, Beach Goth stepped it up in all aspects, including an incredible, eclectic lineup, more space, more vendors, better production and extra piles of weirdness including Selena impersonators, the Rocky Horror Picture show performing live multi times per day and weed, pill, and witch piñatas lining the sky. Since a majority of festival-goers were mid-teens to early 20’s, ListenSD decided to hand out some awards, high school year book style.

The Aquabats (Photo By: Alexander Dantes)

The Aquabats (Photo By: Alexander Dantes)

Best Cover Song: The Aquabats covering The Pixies “Where Is My Mind

The Aquabats‘ 4PM set on Saturday featured an entire zoo of stage antics, inflatable characters, and song choices including “The Cat With Two Heads” and a gothy ska (skoth?) cover of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”. But the highlight of the set came last when the band delivered a goosebump-inducing rendition of “Where Is My Mind“, complete with dancing Frankenstein and Green Alien and a smiling foam orange-brown blob that might have been gravy or vomit. Runners-up: The Growlers covering “Venus in Furs” by The Velvet Underground or No Parents covering “Duality” by Slipknot. My primest goth years were spent headbanging to Slipknot so that one struck a nerve of nostalgia– Ned Molder

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FIDLAR (Photo By: Summer Luu)

Best Band Costumes: 9-5 Office Attire from FIDLAR

Out of BG 4’s entire spectacular lineup, FIDLAR‘s was the set I most anticipated. With themes like binge drinking, roadtrips, wanting to die, and the track “5 to 9” about drinking and doing drugs from 5AM to 9AM, the FIDLAR aesthetic is quintessential beach goth. So I laughed a hearty “fuck yes!” when the four-piece walked on stage in full Office Space-style business attire, complete with ceramic coffee mugs probably filled with malt liquor. Runner-up – No Parents as Slipknot, especially the bat-wielding, keg smashing clownNed Molder

Best Festival-goer Costumes: Any pop culture reference to the 90’s

Kids these days love their 90’s references, especially when the kids themselves were 3 when the 90’s ended. Festival goers broke out their best early MTV and Nickelodeon throwbacks, with appearances by Fred Durst and Quail Man, plus backpacks and tees with Scooby Doo and Lisa Frank insignia. Throw in a Pauly Shore appearance and a full set devoted to Selena impersonators, and the decade itself wins our award for Best Festival Goer Costume. Runners-up – The Pope and Band of Nuns, Mormon Missionaries  – Ned Molder

Best Stage Antics: The Adicts

Maybe the original Pop-punk group, The Adicts are well-known for their high-energy shows and excessive use of confetti. Their Saturday set fulfilled all expectations from the start when Keith “Monkey” Warren met his Droog comrades onstage in a pair of silvery-white rainbow wings to the tune of “Let’s Go“. Monkey and the gang played nonstop while throwing endless rolls of decorative paper, shooting confetti, and tossing a dozen or so little stuffed animals into the audience one at a time. And I’ve never heard more crowd participation than when we all sang along with “Viva La Revolution“. Runner-up – The Aquabats and MC Bat Commander crowd “surfing” on a softop Odysea – Ned Molder

 

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The Drums (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Most Likely to Make You Think They’re From England: The Drums

Playing the perfect twilight hour on the Beach Goth stage Saturday, The Drums’ soft, posh voices, skinny, pasty white bodies and page-boy haircuts scream “across the pond”, even though founding members Johnny and Jacob met at Bible Camp in Florida and now reside in Brooklyn, New York. Either way, their fake British charm woo-ed the goth kid crowd during the most romantic sunset Santa Ana’s ever seen. Runner-up: Drowners, who’s lead singer is actually from Wales. – Amanda Martinek

Riff Raff (Photo Credit: Alexander Dantes)

Riff Raff (Photo Credit: Alexander Dantes)

Most Likely to Get Fat: RiFF RaFF

The fluorescent joke rapper from Houston, formerly known as a skinny white dude, must be hittin’ the rage juice hard lately, as it looked like the man on stage at 1:30 PM Saturday might have eaten his former self. Sporting tight, zippered jeans and festive orange and neon green kicks, RiFF RaFF got a bunch of white kids pumped with popular jams like “DOLCE & GABBANA” and “Tip Toe Wing In My Jawwwdinz“. Maybe throw in a squat or something next time you’re tip-toeing RaFF. Runner-up: Sir-Mix-A-Lot, but I guess he was never that skinny. – Amanda Martinek

 

Corners (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Corners (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Most Likely To Break Your Neck in the Moshpit: Corners

Corners’ music isn’t even particularly hard, but that didn’t stop the crowd from going completely ape shit through their entire set. Jumping in from all directions, stage diving from the front, stage diving from the back, there were a minimum of five people airborne at all times. Some crowd surfers made their way across by crawling via death gripping people’s heads, performing aerial gymnastics or kicking multiple people in the face. The brave souls who decided to stage dive from the back knocked 20 people to the ground with them, and I’m fairly certain at least four are in the hospital right now. In short, it was amazing. – Amanda Martinek

 

Together Pangea (Photo Credit: Alexander Dantes)

Together Pangea (Photo Credit: Alexander Dantes)

Most Enjoyable, No-Bullshit Set: Together Pangea

Because Together Pangea is one of my favorite bands, I was stoked to listen to their set and new songs from their EP The Phage without any other nonsense, antics or frills. Besides one painted face, the band showed up in regular clothes, played their songs and absolutely ripped. While it wasn’t very beach or goth, it made me extra stoked to see them again Friday Oct 30th at the Che Cafe. Runner-up: Mystic Braves, who also got on stage and ripped. – Amanda Martinek

Warpaint (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Warpaint (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Best Vagina Power: Warpaint

The absolutely lovely ladies of Warpaint give me a giant lady boner. They always sound amazing, kick so much ass and make me proud to be a female. Playing midday Saturday, they ruled main stage and mesmerized the crowds with crooning psychedelic ballads like “Love Is To Die” that send you to space and back. In a grossly male dominated lineup, Warpaint helped remind the gothians that girls rule and boys drool. Runner-up: Grimes and her ponytail whipping and damn sexy back-up dancers. – Amanda Martinek

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Grimes (Photo Credit: Alexander Dantes)

Don’t forget to check out our Exclusive Artist Portraits of The Coathangers!

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The Frights & ListenSD Panda by Summer Luu

The Frights & ListenSD Panda by Summer Luu

Best Up & Comers: The Frights (Check out our Exclusive Artist Portraits with them!)

Biased again, but these San Diego kids DESTROY. All of their live shows are explosive, immediately drawing in whoever’s lucky enough to watch. Slotted first on Sunday, the majority of Goth missed their set and I only caught “Beach Porn“, but I expect big things from these dudes in the future. They’re already opening for FIDLAR and going on West Coast tours, so more to come. Runner-up: SWMRS, who were also slotted too early and who I also missed and who I also love. Check out my interview with Cole here. – Amanda Martinek

 

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Juicy J (Photo Credit: Alexander Dantes)

Longest Smoke Break: Juicy J

Juicy J was just what we needed. Guitar punk bands start to blend together after a bender of a Beach Goth, so thankfully Juicy, who played early evening Sunday, helped shake things up. He even helped get the crowd drunk! What a guy! And after pouring Hennessy into the mouth of those wearing blue wristbands and rapping to “Smoke A Nigga“, he decided to do just that and smoke a blunt for at least five minutes. Like yeah! but do that on your own time J. – Amanda Martinek

 

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Julian Casablancas (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Biggest Disappointment: Julian Casablancas

Like so many of you, I fucking love The Strokes. I even gave Julian’s solo album Phrazes For The Young several true listens and thought it was actually pretty good. But his shit with the Voidz? What the fuck is going on Julian? Do you need help? Sloshing around the stage like a bum with a 40, Julian mumbled horrible sounds into a weird distorted mic Sunday evening and a little part of me died. If you’re going to do that, just don’t. – Amanda Martinek

 

Biggest Regret: Missing Wanda Jackson

The more I read about and listen to Wanda Jackson, the more I hate myself for missing her Beach Goth set. “The First Lady of Rockabilly”? “America’s first female rock and roll singer”? She’s 78 years old for Christ’s sake! And played Beach Goth! And her music is incredible. I don’t know who I saw instead, but I’m envious of all of you who caught such a legend. Runner-up: Also bummed I missed San Diego natives Mrs. Magician. – Amanda Martinek

 

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The Growlers (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Beach Goth MVP: Security Guards on Beach Goth Stage Right

These guys are my heroes. From our semi-permanent home in the beer garden, we watched these humble and thankless security guards lift countless drunk/tired/moshed out kids over the gate. Imagine deadlifting a hundred pounds of drunk weight one time. Now imagine Mac Demarco is playing his special blend of afterschool nap rock and everyone has to get out and pee at the same time, and do fifty more reps. Bonus points go to the two huge security guards sharing a cigarette and rapping along to every word of Juicy J. Runners-up – Beer vendors, food vendors, all other service staff, The fucking Growlers for putting this on four years in a row. Not Tom Green. What happened to Tom Green? – Ned Molder

Best Overall Performance: Die Antwoord

HOLY SHIT. Multiple costume changes. Animated tiny baby creatures with giant penises cumming through the sky. Explosive energy. Immense talent. A 10 year old wearing a bunny costume. Die Antwoord fuckin’ KILLED IT. Unlike so many of the rap performers basically karaoking to their own music, Ninja and Vi$$er rapped and danced and humped us all into oblivion. Their set was everything I thought it would be and more. I fink your freaky and I like you a lot. Runner up: FIDLAR, because you can’t have an anthem about drinking “Cheap Beer” and not expect a bunch of 16 year olds to freak the fuck out. – Amanda Martinek

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Die Antwoord (Photo Credit: Summer Luu)

Agree? Disagree? Agree to disagree? Let us know @ListenSD on Twitter.