With four stages and over 30 bands, most of which might ring wholly unfamiliar to the average concertgoer, the second annual Summer Strummer Festival at Bergamot Station might seem a bit overwhelming at first. With that in mind, we have provided this handy little list of recommended sets. Unfortunately, show times were unavailable as we went to press.
The Tender Box
These four childhood friends have been playing together for ages under various names, but it is only since they convened as The Tender Box a couple of years ago that they managed to form the LA band that everyone must witness. Heavily influenced by the slew of British bands that invaded Los Angeles through the 1980s and 1990s, The Tender Box has been turning the heads of even the most discerning Anglophiles, even though the members are actually Mexican-American and from South Gate. See them live and you will wonder why tracks like “Mister Sister” and “The Score” haven’t hit the daylight rotation of LA’s commercial alternative radio stations.
Rezurex plays psychobilly – a mix of rockabilly and the darkest aspects of punk rock – with all of the expected trimmings. Front man Daniel deLeon sings in a style that is part Elvis and part Misfits-era Glenn Danzig, which the band plays with a fast, retro-inflected sound that will get half the crowd moshing and the other half flaunting boogie-woogie moves. One thing is certain: at the end of the set, you will wonder how deLeon got through the performance without his black and white, Day of the Dead-styled, face paint melting.
With cheeky song titles like “Future X Boyfriend” and “Guitar Center Love Song,” Rocket should inject a heavy dose of fun into Summer Strummer. The five-piece mixes the bubblegum vocals of Bay City Rollers with the ferocious guitar riffs of the Runaways for a sound that is as rough as it is smooth.
Led by 14-year-old Bruno Mascolo, Jr., Drive A possesses a level of skill rarely seen amongst high school-aged musicians. These boys may sing with the voice of youth, but they shred and pummel their respective instruments with the intensity of adults. The band’s talent and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Drive A has already played alongside rock star-fronted cover band Camp Freddy and Dave Navarro’s project, the Panic Channel.
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Summer Strummer is September 2 at Bergamot Station. Doors open at noon. Advanced tickets are $30. Tickets purchased at the door will be $40.