I met the garage punks the High Curbs at Lift Coffee Roasters in Whittier during the early afternoon. I arrive before them so I sit and wait. Shortly after, they walk in the typical hip punk attire dad hats, mustaches, and skate shoes. Their look is cliché but they make it up with their charisma.
The High Curbs are a bodacious four-piece from Chino. They’ve been a staple in the Inland Empire scene (according to the band lasted about 2 years) performing with the Red Pears, Beach Bums, and Jurrasic Shark, and the Healing Gems, but they’ve expanded to bigger things since. The original lineup consisted of Aaron Korbe, Andrew Palomino, Eduardo Moreno, and Matt Banneck, but Banneck left and was replaced by Alberto Alvarenga. Now, they made it past the houses and into the venues, most recently playing at Marty’s at Newport. They also have an upcoming show at the Tropicalia Fest this Saturday and is their second time playing the festival.
“We were playing the Observatory a lot,” Moreno explains.
“And they kind of like us,” Palomino adds. “They asked us to play last year and this year we asked them.”
“And they were like okay,” Alveranga says.
So here’s the inside of what it’s like being backstage at Tropicalia, you get a trailer for three hours, a bottle of Hennessey, free tacos, and you get to see all the artists up close.
“Last year we went, we didn’t even look like a punk band. We were dressed in a white. We looked like Los Tigres,” Palomino says with a laugh.
During their SoundCloud days, the band would use their phone to record their songs and then release them. This was before Alveranga joined the High Curbs; he was the guitarist in another group with a heavier rock sound before joining the High Curbs. Coming from a different band and musical approach, Alveranga contrasted the group in all the right ways. Their most recent EP release Tommy had a more prevalent studio touch than previous releases. And the sonic quality with the addition of Alvarenga is heavily apparent. Their biggest releases so far are two singles under a Burger Records x Volcom project. Now, the High Curbs go to a studio, preferably recording live.
“When we started, we weren’t really talented musicians. It started with us saying “Oh, I have a guitar” and “Oh, I have a drum set,” Palomino says.
“The tone changed once this guy came in [points to Alberto]”
“I guess I’m a lot heavier compared to them –,” Alvarenga says.
“It’s ‘cus your a big guy,” says Palomino, everyone laughs.
Moreno is the lyricist in the band — although this wasn’t really the case when they started. “Back in the day lyrics were a group thing, but now Ed comes with lyrics,” Palomino says.
“The way I write songs is so fucking simple, and they [points to the rest of the band] are the masters and they kind of hammer it. I have a little dagger and they make a sword out of it,” Moreno adds.
The backyard scene taught them how to be a live band, how to have energy and stage presence, and how to give the audience something to remember. They know how to put on a show if they need to. And they know the perfect measurement if they had a good set.
“If we have a good set, the 45-year-old sound guy will come up and tell us,” Korbe says.
If they have a bad set, they know how to deal with that too–kick the bassist. “People will say ‘The band sucked, but at least they kicked the bassist into the drum set,'” Palomino says jokingly.
The band currently have an untitled album in the works. Out of the 18 songs ready for release, the Tommy EP is made up of six, and they still want to release the 12 leftover in a second EP soon.
“We need to make the greatsword with this next album,” Moreno says. “I hope a forty-five-year-old sound tech likes it, that’s how I know we did a good album.”
The High Curbs perform at Tropicalia Fest (set time TBA), Nov. 3-4 at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. For info and tickets, click here.
I like to stare at my computer. Occasionally I type words to pass the time. Those words are usually about music.