Abbot Kinney Festival - Venice - September 25, 2011
Better than . . . Sunset Junction.
After all of the Sunset Junction drama this summer, it turns out that for a fun outdoor hipster music event you have to come out west. Venice Beach's Abbot Kinney festival fit the bill, and the proof was in Sunday's stellar roster. Although small, the lineup was a strong one.
Family of the Year mined the happier parts of backwoods soul with their infectious charm and energy. The crowd dug it. Hippy girls in designer beach dresses, soft-bearded bike riding bros, over-cautious yuppie parents and boardwalk bums piled in front of the little stage all the way back to the feather-earing and glass jewelry booths. The five piece makes a fiesty, grimy country ruckus good for backyard parties. Bassist Brent Freaney and keyboardist Christina Schroeter almost took each other out on the little stage, after a breakdown so intense Freaney's long locks broke free from their hair tie.
Swahili Blonde's patchouli-tinged pop brought ass-wiggling beats to the main stage in the early afternoon, making even the buzzed bear garden crowd bust into dance party mode. At the dublab stage and beer garden by the Brig, the dancing and schmoozing started early and never stopped.
Wendy Gilmartin Family of the Year
At the petit Andalusia stage off of Abbot Kinney, Dumfounded's hard rap made the skater kids in baseball hats and skinny jeans gather in close. By song two, the Korean-American battle rapper who's government name is Johnathan Park had all hands in the pot smokey air. His band cut deep into the hard beats and shreddy riffs sending babies and strollers scattering away. (Note: we at the Weekly are big fans, and you can look for more Dumbfoundead coverage in the near future.)
photo by Wendy Gilmartin Dumbfoundead
Kris Mars served his KCRW-ish rap-lite while accompanied by just a turntablist and background singer. Mars' words are thoughtful and his grooves are rooted in an encyclopedic appreciation of classic soul. His warnings to Jay-Z and Kayne to watch out for their thrones might not be too threatening, but its a ballsy premonition by a talented guy coming up from the 'burbs.
Wendy Gilmartin Kris Mars