December 19, 2012
For the past 10 years, local ska act Chase Long Beach, has been evolving and performing throughout the U.S. since their kickoff in 2002. A little more than midway through their inception, vocalist Karen Roberts decided to leave the band to pursue an acting career. A few trial singers later, trumpet player, Meagan Christy eventually took reigns as lead vocals while still rocking her trumpet.
As the band's 10th anniversary approached, hardcore fans headed toward Chain Reaction to once again experience the fervor Karen Roberts brought to the stage three years ago.
Despite the band's anniversary show and Roberts appearance, there was only a small gathering of 50-70 present by the time they took stage. The small venue has suddenly become rather large for the event and somewhat impersonal as fans left wide gaps open of space. Despite the low attendance of fans, a few dedicated followers made a ruckus with cheers whenever the band stopped between tracks.
"We forgot how hard this showbiz is," said Roberts as they transitioned into their third track.
Roberts handled the audience well despite the small gathering by rallying up the crowd and encouraging fan interaction with her infectious grin and fierce stage presence during fast numbers like "Pall Mall Crisis" and "Bad Habit."
And yet with all the energy the band illustrated onstage, it was depressing to see hardly anyone dancing along to the catchy tracks. A few hardcore fans immediately started up a small pit and skanked but majority of those present simply stared at the band onstage, ever so often nodding their head to the beat. Even then those who were dancing would eventually stop to a halt as others present didn't follow suit.
As the band took a short break before their next track, attention was placed on Christy's chest as she suggestively pulled down her hoodie's zipper, earning commotion from both fanboys and girls.
"Fuck that! Your tickets were not expensive enough for this show," said Christy as she motioned toward her upper body.
The great thing about Chase Long Beach is not only that they're fronted by badass women like Karen Roberts and Meagan Christy, but their songs are much more than the typical ska formula, upstroke guitar riff business. Sure, the lyrics aren't too complex, but the pounding energy captivated within three-minute tracks is enough to look past and get bodies grooving.
It's unfortunate there wasn't a larger turn out to check out a great local O.C. band. Next time someone says there's not enough good music in the local scene, they obviously weren't looking hard enough.
Critical Bias: I saw CLB at DiPiazza's a few years ago and really dug them partially because of how fast they got the crowd moving. The gig at Chain was anticlimactic and almost depressing without the the crowd getting as rilled up as the band.
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The Crowd: Typical audience found at a Wednesday night gig.
Random Notebook Dump: There's no use for air conditioning when there isn't a packed venue. The venue was freezing, almost as much as it was outside.
"Pall Mall Crisis"
"Joe Vs. The Cricket"
"That's No Moon It's A Space Station"
"Swing In C"
"Where's My Timestick"
"Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy"