The Growlers’ annual Observatory extravaganza Beach Goth is back – and it’s bigger and badder than ever. With so many legends set to grace the fine city of Santa Ana next weekend, here’s a preview to get you primed for a good time.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
These psychedelic soul/pop kingpins boast qualities a whole world of bands can only dream about. To have deadly songwriting chops, aesthetic grace, and improvisational might is a combination reserved for the absolute upper class of bands. Live, UMO’s stunning catalog just explodes with sensuality, pain, and fervor.
Sam Herring’s trademark dance moves will light up the faces of thousands of soul searchers at this year’s Beach Goth, but his onstage shtick would be nothing without his deep, tear-jerking lyrics and the band’s solid instrumental basis, refined over a ten-plus year career in indie music. They’ve got the goods, and chances are new material will be in the mix.
From Mac DeMarco understudies to renowned indie act in a matter of a few years, HOMESHAKE have built a great reputation by making immediately gratifying albums with tons of character. I can’t wait to see their wonky, blissful sound translate to a live setting, with sleek tunes like “Slow” and “Love is Only a Feeling” offering more than enough reason to check out the boys from Montreal.
One of the most gifted and prolific electronic artists out there, Nico Jaar has, at the ripe young age of 26, toured the world showcasing his virtuosic gift for analog synthesis and tonal amalgamation. Plus, he never fails to make a statement as a live performer. Two years ago, his former duo DARKSIDE absolutely ripped my neural fibers apart with a mesmerizing show at FYF Fest, and his pulsing, aggressive solo set at the same locale a year later proved his staying power is immense.
Archie Marshall is something of a mythical figure, a rare get among indie festivals. His top-line billing, however, serves to remind us of the monumental impact his full length 6 Feet Beneath the Moon had a few years back, with heaps of compositional strength and a bleak sense of universality. Audiences are certainly clamoring for his stone cold stage presence and magnetic voice, and I’m certain he’ll deliver a standout set.
Gang of Four
Post-punk legends like this don’t turn up at just any average festival in 2016. Uneducated showgoers should pay respect to one of the most influential albums of the late seventies, Entertainment, by rejoicing in this booking. Guitarist Andy Gill and company broke significant ground with their energetic, politically charged debut, influencing the likes of Nirvana, R.E.M. and the Chili Peppers in the process and the fact that they’re still touring is a minor miracle.
Another rare legacy act that can be credited with some of the dankest full album hip hop odysseys of the golden era, remaining members Bootie Brown and Imani are consummate performers ready to incite rhythmic havoc. They are fully up to the task of serving the crowd with a mix of their best, J Dilla produced work, and that will make this set one for the ages. Generations of rappers to come will surely be indebted the Pharcyde’s rollicking, innovative style.
One of the most emotionally arresting acts on a lineup that skews wacky and colorful, Justin Vernon’s majestically layered live setup will 100% incite tears during this headline show. I’m personally hoping for a heavy dose of Bon Iver’s seismically scaled romantic epics, but perhaps recreations of songs from his brand new release 22, A Million will prove even more intriguing to watch. Why would you miss it?