Beach Goth 3
The Observatory
October 25, 2014

At a time when music festivals are a dime a dozen, it's hard to build one that stands out from the ever-growing crowd, or can compete with larger local festivals like FYF and Burgerama. Now in its third year, the Beach Goth party, hosted by Southern California's own favorite somber surf-rockers the Growlers, is a contender for best boutique festival of the year.

With acts that spanned from precarious pseudo-'70s rockers Foxygen, to Alice Glass of the recently split experimental electro-punks Crystal Castles, to GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, the main Beach Goth and Observatory stages were incredibly diverse. 


The Constellation Room, meanwhile, held a firm grip on the SoCal surf and psych rock scene, rounding out a lineup where bizareness seemed to be the dominant theme. But with a group of wandering Oompa Loompas and an all-Metallica set by doo-wop garage-rock group Shannon and the Clams, we mean bizarre in the best possible way.

See also: The Growlers Have a Shot at the Big Time

Actually, that's what made this year's Beach Goth Party so great. Despite a stacked lineup of really talented musicians across many genres (like DIIV, La Femme and Tijuana Panthers), the festival didn't take itself too seriously.

DIIV; Credit: Photo by Artemis Thomas-Hansard

DIIV; Credit: Photo by Artemis Thomas-Hansard

There were a few times, however, when things just got straight up weird. Like when Pauly Shore came out to introduce the bands on the Beach Goth stage in the the latter half of the festival and continuously made things awkward. At first the randomness of him being there was kind of funny, but his attempts to hype up the crowd often failed or, worse, pissed off the performers.

Alice Glass, for example, stormed off despite Shore pleading with her to come back on stage after she played. We're kind of glad she did; Shore inevitably would have said something clumsy about her eccentric performance, which looked much like a drunken gothic S&M rave.

Alice Glass and her S&M ravers.; Credit: Photo by Artemis Thomas-Hansard

Alice Glass and her S&M ravers.; Credit: Photo by Artemis Thomas-Hansard

The initial shock of witnessing a grown man twerk around during Glass's set in a leather holster and a blonde-braided wig with Mickey Mouse ears never really wore off, though he did have probably the best butt we've ever seen. The one in the mesh crop top and leather mask had it going on, too, though his butt wasn't nearly as visible.

One thing that really bugged us: Throughout the day the main stage had some pretty intense sound issues. For instance, none of the microphones worked for almost the entirety of Foxygen's opening song. Considering that they started their set 30 minutes late, it would have been nice to hear all of the mere 20 minutes they played. Though, we gotta say, it was a wonderfully frenetic 20 minutes.

See also: Foxygen's Sam France: “We Were Never Gonna Break Up”

Overall, Beach Goth was playful with some seriously great music. Oh, and also carnival rides. What's not to love about that?

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