It’s extremely rare for me to vacate my surroundings, rearrange my schedule and volunteer to work 24 straight hours within a two-day period, especially with travel involved over holiday weekends. Memorial Day weekend brings around such an occurrence every year with Monterey’s California Roots Festival; similarly, Labor Day weekend showcases the Shoreline Jam on the bays of sunny Long Beach.
With the colossal Queen Mary ship set as a fixed backdrop to the festivities, the two-day concert kicked off each day at noon with line-ups too good to be missed. The Dirty Heads along with underground rap gods The Grouch and Eligh headlined Saturday, but I would be remiss in my journalistic duties not to mention that every act rocked the stage with equal enthusiasm and prowess. The Grouch and Eligh, being the exception to the reggae line-up, came alive to their lyrics with the bass ricocheting through the crowd. As The Grouch and Eligh flowed at unbelievable speeds, violence broke out in the audience making the two performers stop their song and demand peace signs to be held high in the air as security handled the situation. The show continued without another unfortunate disturbance. The Dirty Heads boys were hardly visible during their set due to disorienting lights and a smoke machine set to overdrive, but the boys from Huntington Beach were stoked to be somewhat home and finally wrapping up their tour with a finale show.
the two-day concert kicked off each day at noon with line-ups too good to be missed
Other performances Saturday included Stick Figure, The Aggrolites, C-Money and the Players, The Originalites, Krooked Treez and Brewfish. The day would’ve been perfect if it weren’t for excruciatingly, crippling heat with little shade to share. Luckily, the Shoreline lemonade stand had a slushie option, which – mixed with vodka and obsessive sunblock applications – was undoubtedly the best cure for heatstroke.
Day two had just as good of a line-up and just as many slushie lemonade purchases. Jet West out of Ocean Beach started the day off right with loads of energy, followed by the ever-talented Simpkin Project out of Orange County. Those two bands alone would have convinced me to purchase my ticket. Acoustic front man Ethan Tucker and his jam band followed Simpkin, bringing rhythm and blues to the forefront only to be counter-balanced with reggae dub band The Expanders next. Seedless then got onstage to a massive amount of fans singing along to every word and finished their set at sundown, allowing the incandescent lights of the Queen Mary to illuminate J Boog’s entrance to the stage. Collie Buddz and Pepper were last on the list, and they were nothing short of spectacular to see. During Pepper’s set, reggae legend Josh Fischel unexpectedly jumped onstage to perform “Storm Trooper” – as he is featured on the recorded version – and was welcomed by deafening screams of fans.
The weekend was well worth the sunburn for I cannot be more pleased with the place, the performances, the people and the perfect memories. Shoreline Jam at the Queen Mary is one festival that shouldn’t be missed.
Photo credit Kristy Rose