Southern California Beach Party March 17, 2006
Southern California Beach Party at Cerritos: Shooting the Musical Curl
By Glen Creason
Dude! What a totally bitchen’ concert! You could say three thousand former gremmies and a hodad or two were stoked to surf city by the out of sight sounds of the sweet “Endless Summer Band” lead by the Beach Boys’ Al Jardine on cruising night at the Performing Arts Center.” Man, even Dean of Jan and Dean was on stage singing in that totally cool falsetto blasting the past with everything from “Drag City to “Dead Man’s Curve. I haven’t felt this good since I had a date with Sexy Lexi Tarnowski at the Rosecrans Drive-In back when gas was twenty-seven cents a gallon and Spanada was a fine wine.
Strangely enough, on a night that was billed as a Beach party, an activity I haven’t joined in many a grunion run I made an epiphany that I hope everyone else in attendance did likewise. Little did I know when I tuned into KRLA or KHJ in my high school years to groove on surf music that these tunes would become a defining sound for my place in this world. Being a native So. Cal. “boy” I say with pride that this is OUR music and at this show it came to life beautifully. Like gazing out at the mighty Pacific Ocean itself this stuff just does not get old. The Beach Boys and the rest of the genre have aged pretty well even if all of us haven’t. Yet, on this evening my peers were up and dancing with all they had, dusting off moves I aint seen since that last sock hop at O’Connor gym. I’ll bet there was a lot of Alleve used on Saturday morning after this rump-shaking resurrection. Yet, for a glorious two and a half hours we were all roaring up Beach Boulevard in a big Fairlane ragtop, with warmth on our sun-bleached full head of hair heading for the Huntington pier and the surf was up.
Al Jardine, a founding member of the Beach Boys has put together a skilled band involving two of his talented sons and other vets of the surf music scene. Musical director Billy Hinsche (remember Dino, Desi and Billy?), bassist Ed Carter and sax-man Richie Cannata lead the way but young Adam Jardine pulled yeoman’s duty on the demanding vocals. Their set was a virtual hall of fame jukebox including a very clean sound and spot-on harmony. “California Girls,” “Catch a Wave,” “Dance, Dance, Dance.” “Don’t Worry Baby,” “I Get Around” and “Little Deuce Coupe” represented the play list of the Summer time car radio of my youth. Then again, when Jardine broke out a six pack of chart toppers including the marvelous “Sloop John B,” “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” “Cool, Cool, Water” “Good Vibrations,” “Kokomo,” and the very groovy “Help Me Rhonda” the entire hall was flipped back to the Summer of 65.
The opening set starred Dean Torrance with another fine band that would have been a very hard act to follow by any standards except that Beach Boy golden hour that followed. Adding greatly to the sound was Cerritos’ own Phillip Bardowell who sang the Jan parts, laid down a thick bass and added some nice reggae. Dean sang his trademarks “Little Old Lady from Pasadena,” “New Girl in School,” “Drag City” and vroom vroom “Dead Man’s Curve” and the band rocked hard, getting entire sections of the delighted audience to their feet for wild frugging in a finale that roared through “Let’s Dance,” “Little Honda,” “Runaround Sue,” “Twist and Shout,” and the finale, a rocking Surf City. Certainly the highlight of this excellent, high-energy set was the emergence of a future guitar super star in the girl-person of eight-year-old Melissa who won the “air guitar” audience participation contest during a rocked out “Johnny B. Goode.” Melissa won the hearts of the assembled and a brand new Fender guitar. While the guys in the band were great they weren’t even remotely as cute as Melissa.