The Masterminds Behind Midnight Mass 2 Bring Life to Long Beach Music Scene

After throwing a successful all-day garage rock/punk music festival last year known as Midnight Mass, Freak Style Booking and Astro Lizard Records have decided to provide Long Beach locals with another chance to see a plethora of their favorite LA and OC bands live. This time, the event will bigger and better. Midnight Mass has put Long Beach back on the map for music and DIY culture and has given the city's scene more potential to thrive. Midnight Mass 2 is going to feature big name artists like The Garden, The Spits, The Buttertones and Audacity. It has already sold hundreds of tickets and is expected to sell out.

The masterminds behind Midnight Mass 2, Brent Lindemeyer and Jarrett Killen, have made a name for themselves by making a steady effort to help Long Beach become another hot spot for shows rather than have it overlooked. For the last year, more punk, garage, and surf rock bands have caught on to the lack of liveliness in the scene and have booked more shows in the city they call Long Beach. With this amount of exposure, it'll be turned into a sanctuary for show-goers in no time.

OC Weekly (Yvonne Villasenor): What sparked the idea for the first Midnight Mass?
Brent Lindemeyer: Jarrett and I are on Astro Lizard, and Astro Lizard started off as a studio based out of Long Beach. I can’t remember if we were recording our own material or someone else’s and we said, “Long Beach doesn’t really have any “fests”…why not?” We started telling all of our friends…some friends were like, “you can't put together something like that.” Jarrett and I kind of have a 'screw you' kind of attitude when someone tells us we can't do it. The motto that we live by is just 'think it, do it.' So we said, let's do it.

What was the turn out like last year?
It was good. At the highest point right before The Frights went on, there were 1,100 kids. It was packed…

I've seen some of the bands on the lineup before and they put on killer shows. It [Midnight Mass] definitely gives people something to look forward to, especially around this time of year. October and November are festival months and this is a great event for December. How did you decide which bands you wanted to play this year?
We decided to do it in December because there isn't a lot of fests in December and we wanted to extend the festival season to some extent. Also, we didn't want to compete in the huge fests like Desert Daze…We basically worked with the committee and all three of us had the room and asked, 'who do we want to get?' We wrote a bunch of names, we voted yay or nay…It started off as a big list of who we wanted. We had a headliner list and a tier two band list, if you will, and we started making phone calls and that's kind of how it was. The list went from 100 bands down to 40 and then we decided on the 17 or 18 that are playing.

With the exception of the lineup, obviously, how is this year's event different from last year's?
It's bigger and better in every way. We definitely want it to grow, we want it to be a bigger event…We've got a lot of people vending, Top Acid, Penniback, Fingerprints. A lot of people are going to be out selling stuff…[Last year] we didn't have as many food vendors, record vendors and clothes vendors. So it's going to be a polished space. It's going to feel more fest like, which is kind of what we wanted to do. Other than that, it's growing by size and volume. Next year, who knows. Hopefully next year it'll be bigger.

I mentioned to one of my friends how I was covering Midnight Mass and he asked what church I was going to…What made you decide on the name?
I grew up Catholic as a kid. We went to Midnight Mass. I liked the way “Midnight Mass” sounded phonetically, the way it sounded. I always felt there was something ominous to having a midnight mass because they're kind of opposed to each other, like midnight and a church mass. We were throwing names out, and I think I just said 'what about midnight mass?' We went through so many names and were like, 'that's good enough.'

How do you think shows like these impact the Long Beach music scene?
Jarrett Killen: Long Beach has always been a really cool, artist, liberal town. So for us, we wanted to do something because we live here. I told a different newspaper the same thing yesterday. I said, 'we started the idea of this very selfishly.' We know Long Beach is a really cool place to live and to be musicians and to run a record label. We wanted to bring something here…We know we could've gone to The Echo or The Yost Theater and probably would've done really well, but we've seen a big influx of musicians wanting to play here. Booking agents contacting us because their artist will be in the area. We have seen a pretty severe impact. Every time bands play here or booking agents come to the shows that we put on, they always say, “I don't know why we haven't been booking Long Beach this whole time.” It's such a cool town and this is a cool spot because we throw warehouse shows. We've tried to create awareness for such an awesome city. We just hope that the city of Long Beach can keep up with everything that's going on and let people get entertainment permits and event permits and alcohol permits so it can continue to thrive. There's a lot of bands that have started here, like T.S.O.L. is from Long Beach…big bands have come out of Long Beach. There's not a lot of places to play, so that's kind of the next layer at least that we think is going to be really important because there's so little music venues in Long Beach that you can put on shows…Since we did Midnight Mass last year, we were really the first group to bring a smaller music festival…I think we really just tried to influence the community around us to bring cool music here, and I think it kind of worked last year. There's been so many more cool shows and things popping up in Long Beach.

What's your vision for Midnight Mass?
Killen: Ultimately, what we're going to do in the upcoming year is that we're going to formalize it as a company. We weren't even 100 percent sure we were going to do it this year…Our long-term goal is to make it an annual festival, naturally, and we're going to formalize it as a production company and or a festival company.

What are your hopes for this weekend?
Lindemeyer: I hope everybody comes and has a good time, and we all get together and we send off the year right. You know, that we all have a good time to party. Who could ask for anything more, you know?
Killen: My hopes are always the same – to get through the event with no hiccups and expect that there will be. I just want it to be a smooth running show. Ten hours of music is a really long time to be on the edge of your seat, which is kind of what it feels like…That's kind of my hope is that we've been able to catch everything that we needed to catch for this year, that it just runs smoothly, everybody's happy, and people come and go as they please. 

Midnight Mass featuring The Garden, The Spits, Prettiest Eyes, Feels, The Buttertones, Audacity, Peach Keli Pop, and more takes place Saturday Dec. 10 at 2 p.m at The Packard. Tickets are $25 at the door.

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