Showgazing: Bethpage Black at Art Theater Long Beach

The rain was barely starting to creep into Long Beach as lagging showgoers shuffled into the Art Theater on 4th St. for an unexpected dose of “Frankenmetal.” There are few times a music critic reserves the right to barf out a supposedly new and exciting genre title, but in this case, Long Beach rockers Bethpage Black kind of deserve it. On the evening of their record release show for Opera Comique, this six-piece of arty, eclectic thrashers entertained a curious, slighlty skeptic audience as they took the stage around 10:30 p.m. Their set was preceeded by a cavalcade of local acts, Ben White, Derock and Eugene and the 1914.


From the outset, the music of BPB is not what you would call “Long Beach friendly.” You won't find folk-rock, sloppy garage guitar or ironic stabs of hip-hop flavor anywhere in their music. That's not to say people didn't enjoy it, but from the first piercing drum beat of “Sixteen Candles” to the chaotic guitar riffs “Panic Attack”, it was obvious that people were trying to decide whether they had any intention of posting a message on Facebook about the “great band they saw last night”. However, the group received some notable applause for reconstructing a jazz song by Chick Corea, you've probably never hear or cared about before called “You Are Everything.” Love it or hate it, the idea of spicing up the work of a mustachioed '70s piano master with some heavy pop punk and art-kid angst has its artistic merits.

As intense and inventive as some of their songs were, it seems obvious that BPB is going to have to branch out of LB if they really get the respect they are looking for. And between the musicians ship of drummer Steve Coy, bassist Derock Tucker, guitar shredders Davin Givhan and Michael J. Salter, keyboardist Clancy Cramer and vocalist Matt Charmichael, the band is definitely not without talent. But word to the wise guys: there's other beaches that might be better suited for your sound…. we're putting our money on Newport and Huntington.

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