BeachLife Festival 2023: Day Two
BeachLife Day Two appeared as quick as the first day had passed, with a lineup too great to even comprehend. Tonight was Gwen night!! The day HAD to be kicked off in style with local and BeachLife veterans, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, convincing attendees to get to the festival grounds much earlier than the day before. Parking at five minutes past noon, we heard the wailing sounds of TBS wafting over the streets of Redondo (with residents just starting to awaken for another day of madness in their town), prompting us to run at full speed towards the waterfront.
Tomorrows Bad Seeds is not to be missed!
Painting onstage next to the reggae rock namesake was renowned artist Jimmy Ovadia — always a pleasant addition. This time, lead singer Moi Juarez’s kids were helping out at the easel, imitating their father with every jump and clap. Early-goers were simply not ready to rock that hard in the midday heat, yet there they were, head banging away. Minds absolutely blown and face makeup melted, it was time to walk over to the other main stage, where it was Shwayze’s time to shine. It’s never too early for “Corona and Lime” at BeachLife! Swaying in the sand to Shwayze’s hypnotizing pop-hip hop style, he shouted out to his ever-supportive Nana in the crowd and the two Bikini Trill members joining him on guitar and drums. Before four-time BeachLife staple Sugar Ray got on to do their (or rather, Mark McGrath’s) thing, good music was oozing from every corner of the landscape. Special C and Kevin Sousa Band inducted the smaller Riptide Stage, while The Foxies and Rainbow Girls entertained on the acoustic Speakeasy space. But, once Sugar Ray took the stage, the energy of BeachLife exploded through the rest of the evening. McGrath expressed personal anecdotes in between hits of yesteryear… some more pleasing to the ear than others. It’s okay, Mark, we still love you. No need for the excessive self-deprecation for next year, please. The medley of other bands’ 90s bangers actually did go over quite well, so thanks for that!
Completely flying high, it was time for Aly & AJ while The 415’s and Stacey Dee (of Bad Cop Bad Cop) kept the party going elsewhere. The White Claw and Flying Ember tasting hours had begun, as well, leading attendees to stand in line wearing stick-on mustaches to meet Donovan Frankenreiter in the flesh. Late 90s Napster-celebrities Dispatch took the stage next, with the energy of 20-year-olds still rocking in their family garage. The band, like fine folk rock, has only gotten better with age! The mellow vibes of Iration took over while the sun began to set, but there was no time (at least in our opinion) — the all-time high energy had to continue, satiated with the stunning performance of Tropidelic over on the asphalt. One of two frontman, James Begin (and also trombonist / rapper / hype man / screamer?) is a sight to behold. How he has the lung capacity for such revelry and instrumental mastery is beyond comprehension.
After Tropidelic absolutely stole BeachLife, it was time to return back to Earth… albeit briefly.
Hard Rooster rendered a large gathering to close out the Speakeasy, while Band of Horses and The Lagoons held down the energy before the night’s big two. Sublime With Rome, performing the beloved 40 Oz. To Freedom, performed a sing-along of a lifetime; hearing the initial barks of Bradley’s dalmatian to sound off “Waiting For My Ruca” transported all of us back to rolling joints in the back of our first car, cruising around the neighborhood for teenager trouble. Rome laughed and admitted wholeheartedly that this particular Sublime album was the reason behind his musicianship in the first place, emitting another round of thunderous cheers from the crowd. If that nostalgia wasn’t enough, up next was the Queen of Orange County and Miss No Doubt herself — the royal, the revered, Miss Gwen Stefani.
Launching straight into hit “The Sweet Escape”, the well-known title track of her sophomore solo album, Ms. Stefani delighted the crowd with a fusion of No Doubt chart-toppers and solo favorites. Probably the most underrated of her releases is her latest, so including a heart-wrenching, confidence-boosting, born-to-run rendition of “Used To Love You” really gave us all the feels. Before the night’s end, Gwen took a moment to get to know the audience, inviting onstage a woman with a shoulder tattoo of her face and a young girl in the front row shouting every lyric since the start of the set. The girl shyly asked, “Will you sign my tank top?” When Gwen obliged, it was the CUTEST thing.
You’re still — and always have been — a class act, Ms. Stefani!
Before we knew what hit us (besides “Spiderwebs”, “Bathwater”, “Rich Girl”s and lots of “B-A-N-A-N-A-S”), the lights came on and it was time to leave the arena. How could Day Three BeachLife 2023 even hold a candle to this??? Stay tuned and find out here on Top Shelf.
Photography by Jenna Shaw; recap by Kristy Rose