The Queen Mary festival grounds were definitely the place to be this past Saturday night, when the ALT Summer Camp proved to be as hot as the unrelenting sun. Those attending the Long Beach show were immediately struck by the look, feel, sounds and smell of the event. It was as is you were transported to a county fair or an ol’ fashioned country jamboree. There were great photo ops throughout the venue for everyone.
The show started off with a bang, as opening acts Oliver Tree and Half Alive came out strong, but it was Shaed that opened everyone’s eye’s with lead singer Chelsea Lee’s impressive pipes.
As the sun started to lower a bit, two of the day’s most impressive acts took the stage. With the Queen Mary in her regal beauty in the background, k.flay electrified the crowd with song after song. Backed by a bone crushing sound, band namesake Kristine Flaherty used her R&B vocal vibe to belt out such songs as her uber-hit “Blood in the Cut,” “Not in California” and “This Baby Don’t Cry.” The crowd was entranced by her onstage persona and strong vocal prowess. Flay took it up a notch and ended her set with her single, “Sister.” The crowd expressed how much they loved her performance with deafening applause.
Not to be outdone, ska-punk juggernauts The Interrupters were up next and they too killed it with their high-octane and blood-curling performance. Lead singer Aimee Interrupter went in and out of the crowd to their delight, as attendees who weren’t familiar with the band at first quickly understood why they are played on just about every alternative rock radio station from coast-to-coast and around the world. They came out delivering infectious songs like “A Friend Like Me,” “By My Side,” “She Got Arrested,” “Gave You Everything” before closing their set with a heart-pumping rendition of “She’s Kerosene.” The dancing crowd screamed for more of what was definitely a show highlight.
It was evident that the production team deserved mad props for keeping the show moving at a very good pace. The wait time for bands to take the stage was minimal (about 5-10 minutes max), and there was no downtime between sets anyway as ALT 98.7’s morning The Woody Show staff and weekday deejays entertained the crowd and a house DJ kept supplying great alternative music that everyone was singing along to throughout the day.
With the performance bar set, the day only got stronger as the sun was sinking into the Pacific. Lovelytheband impressed everyone with their heartfelt lyrics. The crowd cheered on their cover of the Killer’s “Mr. Brightside” as well as original tunes “All My Friends” and “Broken.” Grouplove was energetic and entertaining, bringing their volcanic flare to crowd favorites “Tongue Tied,” “Ways To Go” and a very cool cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”
In the home stretch of the festival, Long Beach natives Cold War Kids took the stage to a near-capacity house. They, too, took the temperature up a notch with their soulful sound. The crow reacted to some of their favorite songs such as “Hang Me Out to Dry.” Phantogram also did not disappoint as their stage show was in full affect as the sun was engulfed by the horizon and the Queen Mary was glowing in her full majestic glory. A light show transported the crowd to another place as they took in such songs as “You Don’t Get Me High Anymore.”
Up next was a band the crowd wasn’t quite sure what to expect from. Though The Head and the Heart’s songs are being played on alternative rock stations, the band in person has the look-feel of an .alt-rock-country act like the Avett Brothers. Needless to say, The Head and the Heart quickly turned heads, coming out with a very rock star-like sound to songs the crowd came to hear, including “All We Ever Knew,” “Lost in My Mind” and “Rivers and Roads.”
Ohio band Walk the Moon walked before a crowd that had reached capacity. They took no prisoners as they engaged the audience with each and every song, belting out hits such as “One Foot,” “Time Bomb” and a very animated version of “Shut Up and Dance.” What brought the show to a zenith moment was their song “Headphones,” which segued into a very cool cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” That performance was so good that Robert Plant would have given his seal approval and a very big smile. Walk the Moon closed out with their signature song “Anna Sun.”
Closing out the 11-band festival was a strong performance by Of Monsters and Men, which calls Reykjavik, Iceland, home. Despite the distance, they felt right at home in Long Beach. Their heartfelt songs hit your soul no matter where your head hits the pillow. Fans screamed during their current monster-hit “Alligator,” which is now in heavy rotation everywhere on the planet. That song in particular is starting to open eyes worldwide to Of Monster and Men’s dynamic sounds, but hearing it live added a very nice kick. The crowd got into it, and their entire set was a non-stop cartoon crazy frenzy show. The band got much audience love for such songs as “Dirty Paws,” “Wolves Without Teeth,” “Crystals,” “Little Talks” and the festival closer, “Six Weeks.”
It was definitely a great day for music; kudos to ALT 98.7 for doing it right. They mixed different sub-genres of the .alt-rock umbrella to create a great vibe. Their fans had a great time and are already looking forward to next year!