Ink and Iron Festival
June 7, 2013
Three days of punk rock, tattooed folks, custom hot rods kicked off on Friday with the majestic Queen Mary providing the scenic backdrop for the annual Ink and Iron Kustom Culture Festival. One couldn't have asked for more perfect weather as local heroes Sublime with Rome headlined the music portion of festival.
While it was disappointing that Bad Brains dropped off the bill and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings rescheduled their tour due to Jones's recent diagnosis of stage-one bile duct cancer, the rest of the line-up still had plenty to offer for those with eclectic tastes as Tijuana Panthers, He's My Brother She's My Sister, The Growlers, Wanda Jackson amd The Selecter.
After wondering around the grounds checking out all the amazingly restored hot rod cars and getting lost in the Queen Mary, I wondered back to the stage to hear The Growlers tapping into their hallucinogenic surf punk. Sporting a purple wig, Brooks Nielsen wondered across the stage while digging into woozy vibe of “Empty Bones.”
While The Selecter were late with their soundcheck, Wanda Jackson should have had a main stage billing as the ballroom was packed for the true queen of rockabilly music. She joked with the crowd frequently saying she was going to play her whole recorded discography of fifty-eight years and that we would be there for a week straight.
It was difficult to leave Wanda Jackson, but The Selecter put on a solid show at Coachella this year and delivered their original brand of two-tone ska to the masses. “Too Much Pressure” and “Train To Skaville” inspired a number of the crowd to skank away and get lost in the beat and blaring horn section. They seemed to be disappointed that their set was cut short but at least I caught a full set at Coachella.
While most of the attendees seemed to be roaming around the Queen Mary all day, it was packed by the time Sublime With Rome hit the stage. Rome's enthusiasm was palpable as he hoisted a drink and greeted Long Beach boisterously. Taking no prisoners, "Date Rape” got the crowd moving instantly as everyone in my section was singing or slurring the lyrics.
The smell of marijuana soon permeated the air as they blazed through "Smoke Two Joints” as well as "April 29, 1992 (Miami).” It was good to see local drumming wizard Josh Freese filling in on drums as Eric Wilson plucked away at his bass while rocking a Foxy Shazam t-shirt. Behind them on the turntables, local DJ LD of OC hip-hop collective Technicali Sound added the signature samples and scratches as perfect finishing touches on most of their jams. Other highlights from their set included "Wrong Way” and a cover of Nirvana's "Drain You.” It was a fine way to start of the weekend.