Eclectic Roots Festival
May 12, 2012
It's rare to find a spanking-new local event with as much potential as the Eclectic Roots Festival that planted itself at Irvine Lake last Saturday. After all, it's not often we get to see a
of young upstarts from Orange County and L.A.'s echo-drenched,
scene inspire more crowd surfing on the stage than in the audience. As
sun set on a back drop of still water, mountain ranges and parked
intrepid fans decided to show their appreciation for the last bands of
the night by forming a dance mob to climb past the stage monitors to
surround them in a sea of bodies.
Mid-way through their explosive set of echo-drenched siren
songs, Pomona stoner rock duo Juju were easily lost in the sea of silhouettes
sporting cut-off jeans, tank tops, bikinis and sundresses. With
few lights on stage, the boundary between
the bands and the fans had practically disintegrated the end result of a
day-long showcases fueled by the unifying ethos of D.I.T
Wrangling a mixed bag of over 25 acts from across OC, LA and
the San Gabriel Valley, Eclectic Roots drew about 700 festival goers and boasted local faves like Long Beach's
Coachella alumni Tijuana Panthers and Burger Records'
garage punk wunderkinds, Pangea and Audacity. Multiple areas, food trucks, makeshift art galleries, and a skate ramp were sprawled
across a sizable lawn not far from where Punk Rock Picnic had dominated a
couple weeks ago.
Rookie festival organizer Michael Hammerson, 23–with help from and local promoters Mike Meza, 27, and Natalie Bonilla,23– saw Eclectic Roots as a
prime opportunity to offer up a small slice
of Coachella to local music fans. They even offered $10 car camping
though it felt more like a raucous backyard party than a full-fledged
fest, the ability conglomerate several different scenes into one big
mosh pit definitely has its merits.
From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., the lake-side festival grounds were
drowned in a pool of reverb, snarling vocals and thumping percussion that
tended to bleed together between the three stages, two of which were
practically a stone's throw away from each other. Despite being tucked away on
the corner “Playground Stage” (which was really more of a grassy knoll than
anything else), a few of the smaller bands managed to make their presence
known. Anaheim three-piece Douglas and the Furs were a snarling, afternoon
surprise that stirred a concoction of stomping fuzz rock a la Stooges and gut-wrenching
whammy bar assaults from guitarist man Douglas McCurdy while drummer/lead
singer Jonathan Shively howled savagely through a microphone covered in duct tape.
Festival goers sporting face paint and graphic tank
a steady stream of bands eager to showcase their own spin on stoned,
rock from the '70s. Aside from the sheer number of acts, mix-ups and
overlaps in set times made it a bit hard to tell most of the
apart. By night fall, the scheduling issues were untangled in time for
bass-driven sounds of Dahga
Bloom, Burbank's virtuosic jam band T.V. Broken, Third Eye Open and
manic, organ-driven trio Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel to work their
mind-altering magic on the crowd. Given the
measure of eclectic
flavor of this grass roots festival that will hopefully work out the
return again soon.
Personal Bias: If anything could inspire me to drive from my
apartment in L.A. all the way to the ass end of Orange County, it would be a
psychedelic rock festival.
Overheard: While on stage, the front man of Mind Martian Collective
politely asked the sound man to “turn up the reverb on my mic until it my voice
sounds good.” Well, at least he's being honest.
Random Notebook Dump: Even with all the stuff going on at
the festival, organizers managed to plop down an inflatable bounce house which
basically stayed occupied at all times.