Photos: Happy Sundays festival in Long Beach

The Paranoyds at the Happy Sundays festival in Long Beach (Photo by Notes From Vivace)

Happy Sundays in Long Beach brought a diversity of music to a stretch of Anaheim Street. The free festival is the brainchild of Scott Montoya and Julia Kugel-Montoya, and the two were out and about throughout the day, taking in the success of their hard work. This year’s festival had a unique tweak with two outdoor stages (Bamboo Club and Port City) compared to just one during previous years. An English double-decker bus shuttled festival attendees between the six venues. Many also took the time to get in some Sunday afternoon-evening exercise — if a person had various colored wristbands, one knew they were part of the festivities.

The favorites

L.A. Witch, the Shivas and the Paranoyds brought big crowds to the Bamboo stage. All L.A. Witch had to do was walk out to set up their gear and they were met with thunderous screams. After setting up their gear, the band stepped off the stage. After a group hug, they walked on stage to a proper greeting. The band was all smiles throughout the set as they hit their goth-punk notes. The Shivas brought their Portland rock ’n’ roll down to Long Beach. With a touch of 1950s rock, the band highlighted the fact that every Los Angeles music fan should do a pilgrimage up to Portland every so often. The Paranoyds had some playful teasing between band members as they were setting up and then asked, “Coachella, who? Happy Sundays, guys.” The band played with a high level of self-confidence, knowing it was only a matter of a song or two before their fans started the mosh pit.

Mosh pits and crowd-surfing

UGHH and Bushfire helped close out the Bamboo Stage. Their sets were luckily switched outdoors, which allowed the all-ages crowd to enjoy the punk sets. Mosh pits and crowd-surfing seemed mandatory from the first song to the last song as the bands gave top-lung vocal performances. Some crowd-surfing was more successful than others with one or two of the attempts leaving one wondering if an ambulance might need to be called. The guitarist of UGHH and lead singer of Bushfire also joined in.

Sound system issues not a deterrent

What’s a music festival without some sound problems? Guantanamo Baywatch closed out the festival at the Bamboo Club. The monitors just couldn’t last another 30 minutes into the night. Guitar and vocals could not be heard, but using “muscle memory” the band powered through and thrilled the fan base. The band also added with humor that they were “playing the same set list from 10 years ago.” Gold Shimmer was delayed due to an overload of microphone needs. It was worth the wait as their funk sounds shook up Bar Envie.

First sets

Bonus Land opened the festival line-up over at Port City. It was also their first set as a band. Jacob Sorensen opened the festival at Good Time with singer-songwriter tunes. TREMOURS brought the sonic to the Bamboo Club. Goodbye Ranger had the soaring space sounds for Bar Envie. Though not the first band up, Hoopjail’s punk sounds filled up Supply & Demand.

The mix tape

Julia, Julia is the solo project of by Julia Kugel-Montoya (The Coathangers, Soft Palms). The band played one of the early slots at the Bamboo Club. There’s a tenderness to the songs and there was a use of a toy xylophone. She wasn’t going to leave the audience without a Coathangers song. She closed out the set with “Squeeki Tiki,” which left the crowd on a high. Pearl Earl had the trippy psychedelics. Adron gave her songs the whistling treatment. Zodiac Rippers had that rippin’ band name and hardcore punk to match. And Nectarines played their first set in three years – congrats on a successful set.

Photos and recap by Notes From Vivace