Underground Triumphs

'Scuse us for being old, but have nine years really passed since those first nights we spent puttering around the Space, the pair of Long Beach warehouses where a cadre of artists, musicians, poets and creative troublemakers would gather for decadent parties on the scale of Warhol's Factory? We fondly recall the debauchery: People running around clad only in florescent body paint! The floors running brown with the stench of spilled alcohol! Indoor cigarette smoking! Where were the cops? Hell, they were imbibing right there alongside us. Crazy, crazy times. . . .

But what made every all-night Space extravaganza really special were such Long Beach bands as the Dibs, Shave, Mention, Wonderlove, 12 Hour Mary, Mickey's Big Mouth, Jay Buchanan, Ruby Diver, 00 Soul, John Wilkes Kissing Booth and too many others, cranking out sets of magical, mind-blowing tunes—only you weren't always sure who you were ogling, since everyone wound up incestuously jamming in one another's bands during these marathon bacchanalian affairs.

Some of that will be relived Saturday, when a handful of Space regulars—the aforementioned Dibs and Jay Buchanan, plus a Mention reunion—will gather together for Schooled in Song, an all-acoustic concert to benefit Long Beach grade-school music programs. Also on the bill are the insanely grand Deccatree, the pop-o-rific New Fidelity, former Wonderlover Chris Paul Overall, ex-12 Hour Mary guru Brett Bixby and many more, but sadly, the list no longer includes LBC renaissance gent Derrick Brown, who had to drop out of emceeing the gig because of a heart ailment (get better quick, Derrick).

And it all goes down not at some newfangled, grungier version of the Space, but the plush confines of the Carpenter Center—a real performing-arts theater, with a stage that may be the biggest some of these bands will ever play. That alone is a seriously big deal, the equivalent of the Ramones, Blondie and Television marching up from CBGBs in 1977 to take over Madison Square Garden, booting Led Zeppelin out, and playing a show for locals by locals in the biggest room in town (which never happened, but it should have)—a night when a throng of Long Beach underground heroes reemerge triumphant.

Schooled in Song at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, 6200 Atherton St., Long Beach, (562) 985-7000; www.carpenterarts.org; www.myspace.com/schooledinsong. Sat., 6 p.m. $10-$17.50.

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