Long Beach Psyclone
Seaport Marina Hotel
From Thursday, Sept. 1, until Sunday, the Long Beach Psyclone psychobilly music festival, once again, turned the Seaport Marina Hotel into a haven for the extreme cousins of rockabilly fans. Mohawk pompadours, victory rolls, skinny jeans, blue and red bandanas, and sailor tattoos were paraded around en masse as attendees chugged cans of (sponsoring beer brand) Pabst Blue Ribbon, danced, and thrashed to the sounds of the nearly 30 bands which performed throughout the festival.
As per tradition, the four day festival of psychobilly culture did not start and stop with the evening performances of the bands. Organizers / Promoters Brando Von Badsville and Jose Noriega bedecked the performances with pool parties, barbeques, and various other shmooze and booze events that facilitated interactions between musicians and fans. The foremost of these was the customary Big Red Bus ride, wherein ticketholders (the tickets were sold separately from the event tickets) would enjoy a scenic coastal tour, bar hop, and stop for shopping at Retro Row, on 4th Street — all the while guzzling the beer (and / or water) included with the ticket price. Additional entertainment included two Saturday evening performances of Women of Wrestling.
Upon entering the festival area of the hotel, guests were greeted by the barbers of event sponsor 1246 Barbershop & Shave Parlour, who were prepared with two chairs and the necessary works to render any unkempt head into a public pronouncement of psychobilly allegiance. Beyond that was the Hydra Lounge, which featured a small stage, a large bar, and plenty of room in which folks could drink and dance. DJs from around the world rotated throughout the weekend and kept things lively in between the acts. Out through the back door, vending tents were set up along the perimeter of the smoking / carousing area. A staircase, out there, led to the upstairs Empire Ballroom, which provided the mainstage, another bar, and a huge area in which festival goers could enjoy the sounds of the respective hours.
The acts of both stages were introduced by fetish model / event host Emily Marilyn. Those acts consisted of bands from the states (with a heavy concentration of SoCal bands) as well as from abroad (including those from the UK, Japan, and Australia). The headliners included: Stu Arkoff Plays Zombie Ghost Train, Frenzy, and Battle of Ninjamanz (on Friday through Sunday, respectively). On Friday evening, when this reporter immersed himself in the mayhem, the line-up demonstrated an incremental build-up of mad musical acts that culminated in a classy climax.
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After about an hour or so of music from DJ Edward Transylvania, Humanoids started the live music showcase in the Hydra Lounge. Following their phrenetic half hour set, which included a drummer who performed while standing up, Quaranteds began the Empire Ballroom presentations. Their set was the first of the evening to introduce monstrous overtones — specifically in regards to their vocal style. A couple bands down the line, Rezurex would take the monster theme to the next level with lead vocalist / guitarist Daniel deLeon’s skeletal make-up. After their set, Troy Destroy demonstrated that the acts relegated to the smaller stage of the Hydra Lounge had just as much ferocity as those of the Empire Ballroom. After a very intense set, the crowd migrated back upstairs for an hour long set by the Barcelonian quartet Smell of Kat — a group which favored Hawaiian shirts over monster gear but whose energy was nonetheless on par with the escalating progression of frenetic performances. Following them, LA-based Rhythm Reactorz rocked the final set of the Hydra Lounge stage, and then the Aussie band Stu Arkoff Plays Zombie Ghost Train brought it home on the Empire Ballroom stage with their western-flavored psychobilly / gothabilly set.
The musicians and the fans mingled throughout the evening in the spirit of camaraderie. Additionally, while there seemed to be no need for it, security guards strutted the grounds periodically (with strobing flashlights for extra flair) to make it known that overly disorderly conduct would not be permitted — violence was to be relegated to musical output and, at most, inside the ring of the Women of Wrestling performance on Saturday evening. Thus, the Psyclone brainchild of Von Badsville Events and E Minor God Entertainment swept through Long Beach once again, stirring up spirits and raising hell, yet leaving the area in just as peaceful a state as it had been when it arrived (short of some great memories and, perhaps, a few severe hangovers).