The weather may have been breezy, but there was a definite warm-up going on at PacSun's Beach Ballyhoo in Santa Monica this past weekend — warming up for skimpier fashions, warming up for summer sports like skateboarding and biking, and if the considerable showing of punky, pierced tweens was any indication, warming up for the Warped Tour, which comes to So. Cal. this week.
The freshly minted beachside bonanza of bands and brands was almost as loud and clamorous as Warped, even if the groups showcased were more diverse. Saturday, the line-up included Circa Survive, Minus the Bear, Ra Ra Riot (pictured above), YelaWolf
As Tall As Lions, Bad Rabbits and AWOLNATION, plus DJ Pase Rock between sets.
While waiting in long lines for games and grub, we caught two acts. Ra Ra's stringed nuance didn't exactly fit in with the surrounding amusements — flying BMX demos and instense basketball showdowns — though their subtly dark melodies worked in the seaside environs. Always nice to witness a band we've heard about forever, but never seen. The New York-based female-fueled outfit, though not exactly riotous in this context, did rock.
Southern skate-rat rapper Yelawolf was probably more in sync with the scene. His pouncing, inked-up presence and spazzy spit-flow recharged the event in the late afternoon. By then, attendees were toting multiple swag bags stuffed with tees from Quicksilver, canvas sacks from Roxy, trucker hats from FOX, flower head wreaths and beaded-feather headbands (Coachella 2010's fashion is still a-flappin') and, for a lucky few, hand-painted Vans sneaks.
Quicksilver also offered a special skate demo from Tony Hawk, Saturday. They also had a wild circus sideshow tent featuring jugglers, balloon-twisters, clowns and little people in rainbow afros, but — shocker — the big-top booze tent backstage in the VIP area was still where we encountered the biggest ballyhoo and bozos.
Sunday's line-up included B.o.B, Matt and Kim, Neon Trees, Steel Train, Eye Alaska, and Hey Champ. See links to streamed footage from both days here.