Friday, August 21, 2015

Surf Guitar Convention at the Huntington Beach Pier 8-9-15

The culmination of the Surf Guitar 101 Convention was upon us and it was being held at the birth of west coast surf, Huntington Beach.

By this time my brain was so full of surf and fun, I wasn't sure if I was coming or going. I parked a half mile up the coast as I wanted to soak in the scene. I lived down here for almost a decade and I forgot they have a different dress code at the beach.

As I got closer, I could hear the surf beat. At last; the music was clear and I was once again in the arms of mother surf. There was a perfect little portable stage big enough for any surf band. It was set up on a sloping amphitheater. It was empty at first but filled up in time.

The surf was already cresting at 11:30 in the morning. I wasn't going to miss a second of the fun so I got there early. The Reventlos were on stage and knocking out the killer tunes.

I have few words. It is two weeks later and all I remember is fun and great music.

Jeff "Big Tiki Dude" was at the mike again. I asked him if he was exhausted yet...yes/no.

Here is Sean Berry, the most excellent owner and very busy producer at Double Crown Records. He has released 5 great discs in just the last 2 months. Just to mention a few: the new TomorrowMen, The Madeira, Burt Rocket and one from his own studio band, Other Timelines.

The place was nuts with stellar musicians. Here is Ran Mosessco, Mel Bergman of the Phantom Surfers and Julio Emilio Jimenez Nava.

Els A-Phonics were up next. They killed the day before and I was looking to seeing them again. From Valencia Spain, they brought a special flavor to the show. See them here:

Nacho Arnau on bass.

Eugeni Camacho on percussion.

Fernando Pardo from the incredibly great Spanish surf band Los Coronas was sitting in on guitar.

Juan Diego Sanchis is the other guitar god.

This was another great set. I caught my new buddy Dave Weber taking pics of Els A-Phonics.

The music was infectious and the crowd was up close and grooving.

It was about this time that David Arnson of the Insect Surfers got going. He has more fun than anybody I know.

What a nut. Surf music makes people happy. Even in some it's darker forms it is inspiring and adventurous. Great ingredients for fun.

Here is something you don't get to see everyday. No, that is not a dog in a baby stroller...that is a dog in a dog stroller.

Oh, and speaking of fun, here comes The Longboards. From Bilbao Spain, they brought a fresh approach to this great music. Dave Weber made the comment that they really brought fun and exuberance to their brand of surf. I agree.

Here they are getting a pic with the Huntington Pier in the background.

They were enjoying every minute of their time in California. I would loved to have been hanging onto their coat tails on this trip.

It was hot and I needed shade, preferably with an adult beverage attached. In between the bands I found a bar close by.

I had seen the Longboards 4 times in the last 4 days. I loved them and their full-on fun machine.

Jordi was having so much fun and it was infectious.

He and Alfredo performed these great semi-choreographed moves to the beat. The theater was marvelous.

Alfredo had a great style too. He had this little short step move he would make while he produced magic from his guitar.

I got to speak with Ander at length. He was a sweet fellow and truly a talented drummer.

Jordi was just so darned photogenic...

I loved these guys and it was great to see them again. They brought 100% to this set and they were going to make sure we remembered The Longboards.

As they closed their set and thanked the grateful audience, Jordi wiped away a tear. They conquered the the convention and in turn, he lost his heart to us.  It was a wonderful moment.

I loved the men from Bilbao.

Los Venturas were making their first appearance at the convention. Better late than never. Here Jeff is explaining that their schedule didn't permit their attendance yesterday.

From Belgium, Los Venturas are: Boost: groove-a-delic twang guitar, Michael: reverb drenched double pickin', Wellens: (rock)steady basslines, Klijnes: funky Hammond grooves, Pierre: high voltage drummin'.

They started by blowing us away with a wall of fuzz, reverb and feedback. This was going to be fun.

It just got better from there, the best news was that they had a Hammond!

You can connect with Los Venturas here:

They played a great set of double picking and penetrating guitar instrumentals.

As Jonpaul, the killer host of Fiberglass Jungle says, "surf is being played in every corner of the globe".  Here was a group of musicians from Belgium slaying the surf. We are fortunate to live in such an age.

It was an amazing set. A completely different sound than we had heard at the convention.

The cool matching suits, all with different shirts and all with the ultra cool boots, (dare I say Beatle boots?) really added to the great vibe..

I caught The TomorrowMen warming up by enjoying the show. Here Danny and Laika are grooving to the music.

Treyf looks cool in his new shiny suit from the future. He is a definite debonair time traveler.

Ran Mosessco provided many of the amps and equipment, stout fellow!

Meanwhile the merch was being hawked out back. Here is Duff Paulsen, John Blair and Ivan Pongracic talking about surf music.

Here is a guy named Chrome Oxide. Interesting fellow, he wrote in his little pad and in a notebook for hours while the bands played. I asked him how he concentrated in the din. He said he liked it.

Connect with him here:

Jeff was up again introducing The TomorrowMen.

The TomorrowMen were the weekends biggest stars I believe. They just released a much anticipated disc with killer packaging and art. Futourism is available from Double Crown Records here:

Danny Snyder had a heck of a weekend. He won the Fender Guitar raffle at the convention. His band killed at the 4 shows I saw and his new album has received great reviews.

The Longboards were still having their fun, mugging for the fans, squeezing out as much fun that was left in their visit.

Treyf was rocking the bass. A quiet and unassuming gent, he shines on stage.

Ferenc won the Most Popular prize at the convention. There is a good reason. He is creative, a brilliant writer and performer and just loves to play.

Laika was loving playing at this venue. What a great place to play music; right where the real surfers congregate and surf.

I was Red from The Sun, no not another time traveler. I was fried. This Seattle shade lover had had enough. I was going to miss the last band, a great band. But I had to go. I said goodbye to Els A-Phonics and Jonpaul in the parking lot and headed back to my hotel.

Thank you to Jeff "Big Tiki Dude" Hansen and Surf Guitar 101 for having this little shindig. I produce a show or two and know just how much work goes into a bill like this.

You can read my other related blog posts here: and here: and here: