Date: Friday, Jan 21st, 2011
Line up: Mike Pinto Band & HB Surround Sound
Location: DiPiazzas. Long Beach, CA.
What: All Ages, $10 Cover
On Friday night, Mike Pinto was kicking off his Coming In From The Cold winter tour in Long Beach, CA. Playing direct support was Huntington Beach locals, HB Surround Sound, who was celebrating their first show back together in over 4 years. The show was held at DiPiazza’s, a well respected venue in the heart of Long Beach known for housing some of the best talent over the years and on Friday Night, some of the scenes top artists came out to show support for Mike Pinto & HB Surround Sound.
The event was all ages & by 10pm, the venue was at full capacity with patrons waiting patiently to pay the $10 cover to get inside. As we know, the venue capacity is 150 required by the city, but there was, at one point in the night, over 380 people crammed inside and another 60 people outside in a line wrapped around the corner with high hopes of being allowed into the show.
I’ve played DiPiazza’s numerous times said Mike Pinto’s Drummer Todd Elrod, a Long Beach native. And I have never seen it this packed before
Joining me on the way up to the show from Oceanside, CA (about a cool hour south of Long Beach) was our staff photographer David Norris to help articulate this article with some photos. With the last name Norris, we naturally just call him Chuck but he strongly prefers to be called Sniper…Just an FYI!
So Chuck & I arrived at about 9pm as the venue was already nearing capacity. I took my seat at a booth waiting for HB Surround Sound to go on at 10pm, while Chuck set out to take photos for the night. As I’m sitting at the booth, eating the infamous DiPiazza pizza chased back by a couple of beers, I was greeted by every member of The Dirty Heads. They all piled in their tour van following a long day at the studio working on their new album, to come out and enjoy the nights show.
There were plenty of players in attendance for the night to show their support. As the place started to fill in, I also saw members of Pacific Dub, Zen Robbi as well as Tyler Lewis, lead guitarist from The B Foundation in the crowd. I guess as an artist, when you hear some fellow comrades are playing a show and you have the night off, you go out and show your support, throw back a few beers & enjoy the night among friends. Hell, I saw Mike Pinto’s tour manager Josh, representing a 3rd Alley T-shirt while also seeing fans in the crowd wearing B Foundation & Seedless T-shirts.
HB Surround Sound kicked off their first show in 4 years by playing all new music. If you’re an old HB Surround Sound fan, then you were not treated to old classics from previous albums. They played a 45minute set with all new music & opened up with the song Get Your Dance On. The group, as mentioned in our Most Anticipated Albums of 2011 article, describes their new & evolving sound as a hybrid between The Clash, Operation Ivy & The Specials. I’d even go so far as to say a little bit of The Police from what I heard live with a few songs, such as the groups last song Hate and Love.
The song that stood out the most to me was Songs of Yesterday as lead singer Jake Bushnell shouted the chorus over rock ballads while repeating Songs of Yesterday, Continue On Our Way which perfectly narrated the nights ambiance as fellow musicians & artists in the crowd raised their glasses in celebration.
HB Surround Sound killed it! It was great to see the boys on stage again said Jon Olazabal, aka Jon Jon, percussionist of the The Dirty Heads.
HB Surround Sound really showed off their rudeboy style with the song Break Down as Matt & Jake sing about coming back to reality before hitting the breaking point of finally breaking down. The song starts out fast as fans kick up their feet, skankin to the beat inside a mosh pit until the song slows down with a 20-30 second gap of reggae while Jake & Matt trade vocals repeating Gotta get these bad thoughts out of my head.
The set ended at about 10:45pm. The drinks were thoroughly kicking in for most of the crowd, while the smell inside the venue became a hybrid of sweat, beer breath & pizza as HB Surround Sound left the stage bleeding with punk rock. For a moment, I thought I saw Joe Strummer stand up from the back of the room to raise a glass to a job well returned. The warlord of punk rock may have agreed when i say, as a long time HB Surround Sound fan, that’s how you come back and play a show after 4 years!
As HB Surround Sound’s set ended, a line of girls made their way towards the front of the stage while Mike Pinto and the band was settting up. The girls found their way back to the middle of the dance floor, that was busy occupying a mosh pit for the past 45minutes. I have to say it was a pleasure to see girls back on the floor dancing again as they moved their hips to the house stereo playing The Movement’s Alright.
When I went back to the bar, I took notice to Mike Pinto’s merchandise booth and saw Tyler of The B Foundation was behind the table selling merchandise. How dope is that? A night off from playing shows, just hanging out at the concert and Tyler takes duty selling merch while Mike Pinto gets on stage! Pretty awesome and a tribute to the mutual respect these musicians have amongst themselves. Its a true testament as to why this genre continues to progress and evolve while other genres make a splash and then fade to make room for the next trend. Anyone remember Emo? Seemed like a fashion statement compared to this spreading authentic culture!
On display, Mike Pinto was selling 3 different gal tank tops and 2 different guy shirts all in assorted colors along with 3 of his latest albums. I even saw some of his catchy Marlboro themed stickers…And yes we threw down a stack of Pier Stickers, guilty as charged…The other cool thing I noticed on the table at the merch booth, was both Tyler of The B Foundation & Mike’s Tour manager Josh Zimmerer, showing off Fashion 5.0 Magazines Nov ’10 issue that had an article of Top 8 SoCal Groups where Mike Pinto was listed as Number 8 (with Slightly Stoopid taking Number 1).
It was reaching about 11:15pm and I could hear the crowd, more notably the women, yelling and screaming as Pinto took the mic and began asking everyone in a singing voice if they were ready for some music! Girls painted the front row as the band kicked off the set with the song The West Is Still Wild. Pretty fitting as it couldn’t have been more wild inside a venue that went over close to twice its legal capacity as Long Beach ignited with a resurgence of energy that moved to the cue of Mike’s music.
The 2nd song in Mike’s 90 minute set was Temptation and as Mike belted out Ohhhh The Devil’s got a hold on me the crowd sang along admitting to the devils grasp, finding it easier to be yourself through sinning, than someone else as a saint. While the medley of his songs followed each one after the other, fans danced, moshed, spilled beer, hugged it out, laughed and screamed when their song’s number was finally pulled and played.
One thing I can say about a night stuffed, shoulder to shoulder with fans, artists and musicians, is there was not one fight, push, shove or foul word, outwardly used to instigate anything in a negative light. The night was full of love, respect & music. As I stated before, it’s a true testament to the Reggae-Rock scene in how much its grown through the collaborative networking efforts of everyone actively touring & producing.
Unfortunately I was unable to grab Mike Pinto’s 90 minute set list but you’ll be able to find HB Surround Sound’s below. All in all, this was not a bad night. It was great to see HB Surround Sound back on stage. Those guys are just too talented to not be playing together. I have to admit, I was yearning for some of their old classics, but maybe some things are best left in the past to make way for something new and innovative. Mike Pinto never disappoints and his sound is only getting stronger with his new band. This was the first show of his winter tour and there was no better way then to kick it off in the Wild West of Long Beach, CA with some close friends in attendance from the scene. Nights like these are pretty special. I’m glad Chuck & I were in attendance and I hope you found the review of the concert enjoyable…Cheers!
HB Surround Sound’s Set List:
Get Your Dance On
On And On
Songs of Yesterday
Hate And Love