Birdmonster swoops into the Bakersfield music scene
While Dirty Spanglish talks potty...
When I first started writing about the Bakersfield music scene I didn’t take my kid’s band, Dirty Spanglish too seriously. I mean, why would I? I was just joking during a car ride when Lando asked, “What should I name the band?” I belted out “Dirty Spanglish” as if it had been sitting on my tongue all day. It was for no other reason than I thought he’d laugh at me.
We do that to each other.
Fans hang out at the Dome wearing crazy merch thrown out by Dirty Spanglish
It’s like our constant reciting of Anchorman lines. Quick witted stupidity.
I really don’t even know why I thought up that name other than giggling at my own dorkiness wondering if people would get the idea of spanglish potty talk. I have a hard time reading spanglish novels. Actually, I can’t read spanglish novels even though I have tried. So it was more of a pondering than a band name. But Lando liked it.
And the rest of his band liked it too.
You'd think Matildakay joined the band. Lead singer Shaun's
hand can be seen holding a burger if you look closely
Well I still don’t take Dirty Spanglish too seriously, but I can say I really enjoy their “pop punk you can dance to” music as well as chronicling their ongoing adventures. I think they’ll be able to look back years from now and say, “We did some crazy stuff and pops was weird enough to write all about it.” Right now they’re all around 15 years old. They take their music as serious fun. And that’s all you can ask of kids these days. I mean, their first gig ever was to 7000 rowdies at the Rabobank Arena. That was hilarious fun because we all wondered: could they pull it off? They did. Hockey fans enjoyed them. Not to mention the classic moment of Lando sailing a hockey CD into infinity and running because he thought someone’s head was going to be severed on its downfall.
Pop punk kids look like a British sensation of popsters
But suddenly Dirty Spanglish has been called on a lot by the music scene to open for higher tiered bands, the latest being Birdmonster out of San Francisco.
Lando looks blue-handed and serene
Here’s a change of thought:
The Bakersfield music scene is small compared to other music scenes around the world. Comparatively to a large urban center it’s a barely visible mast on an ocean horizon of steaming juggernauts.
Peter Arcuni of the incredible rock band, Birdmonster
The Bakersfield Californian recently asked San Francisco band Birdmonster about the scene in San Francisco. Good question. You could almost hear Peter Arcuni of Birdmonster whisper, “It’s huge!”
Instead, he said:
There's a lot of bands. The idea of the Bay Area right now is, a lot of bands all kind of doing what they want to be doing. So there are bands that are doing more experimental weird stuff, there are bands doing rock 'n' roll, there are bands kind of doing everything. That's why I find San Francisco such an appealing place to be in a band because I don't find myself confined.
But what about the Bakersfield music scene?
Peter Arcuni digs in cause he can
It’s vibrant, diverse, and I hope bands like Birdmonster from large area scenes do find value in stopping through.
I explored Bakersfield’s The Dome recently where a zillion bands were billed for the same marathon evening: Road Narrows, Urban Sadhus, Birdmonster, Dirty Spanglish, Three Chord Whore, Red Italy and Out of Exile.
It was a little confusing. The show was actually in a building attached to the Dome. Poor marketing. They should give the adjacent building a snappy name like “Club Chencho” at The Dome or something. In fact, I thought it was called Chencho’s. Give it another name so that kids don’t turn away. I know some people got confused when there were two events going on simultaneously: an alcoholics anonymous event at The Dome and the music gig at Club Chenchos.
Big Daddy Ruben Val Verde of Bakersfield band From Ritual To Romance is heading up some of the smaller events for Tim Gardea Presents. He was on hand to tell me about what’s going on in the scene with his band. Yes, FRTR are getting more poppy. But that’s a good thing: more appeal and catchier tunes. We did a brief interview:
I have to say the Birdmonster event was one of my favorite Tim Gardea events I’ve attended. Of course there was the classic Karmahitlist show at the Reggae-less reggae fest, and World Leader Pretend at the now defunct Montgomery World Plaza. Both shows had their memorable moments that will go down in Bakersfield music lore.
The Birdmonster show was no slouch.
David Klein's ghost image hovers over his intense guitar riffs
I met up with Peter Arcuni and the rest of Birdmonster before their show for an interview about traveling through Bakersfield:
After they talked to me I snapped a few photos of Peter Arcuni writing his set list on his arm.
These DIY Indie rockers put on a high-energy show that matched pop punk band Delux from Tijuana and L.A.’s The Briggs who I once saw at the same venue. Lead man Peter Arcuni and the rest of Birdmonster are show men to say the least. Songs “Ice Age”, “The Bar In The Back Of The Basement” and “Cause You Can” really rocked the house as they bounded around the stage that doubles as a practice boxing rink.
*poor sound quality, kickin' images
Birdmonster bassist with a passion: Justin Tenuto
At one point the bass player was smashing a tambourine against his bass as he screamed, jumped onto an amp and let his emotions fly. That’s good music when you can see a band transformed by their own collective passion.
Road Narrows performs acoustic...
The other bands performing included Road Narrows: a one-man acoustic act. The kid looked like he was more with the emo crowd. But that didn’t matter. There was diversity in music and the bands generally supported one another, regardless of mixing genres.
Urban Sadhus was pure experiment in sound. There was two drum sets, congas, keyboards, a trombone, music samples, electric guitars. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Their music was so loud I had to stand in the back to protect my ears. I give them two thumbs up for experimentation and bravado.
Get a glimpse of the WHORES
Three Chord Whore rocked the house. Lead vocalist, Darcie was crazy as usual, wanting to strangle Ruben for a defective mic stand. It was hilarious. My favorite song of theirs was “Horseface”. It’s a song with serious issues. And that’s why I like it. It’s sung with gusto as if each member of the band is calling you out for being a loser asshole. It’s great! I was excited to see I was mentioned in the liner notes of their 5-song untitled e.p. Thanks whores!
I never figured out who the drunk lady was they let onstage to sing with them. She swiveled her hips, sloshed her beer, but luckily didn’t fall off into the crowd.
Red Italy from Shafter, California has some awesome instrumentals. Interestingly enough I can actually hear one of their instrumentals in my head as I type this. They perform catchy yet hard melodic riffs that just pull you right in. Most interesting was the young guy they had dancing onstage with a strobe light. He had no instrument.
*poor sound quality, cool images
In a large urban center you could take the same band, but instead of their jeans and T-shirt look, put them in strange costumes and they would be performance art. The strobe light kid also had some black light sticks, or a jedi sword. Not really sure which, but the lights were a cool effect. I didn’t see too much of their music because I had to take off. It had already been a long night and the younger kids all had to get home.
I did miss goth metal band Out of Exile. I was bummed because these guys came all painted up like hybrids of Marilyn Mason and old school Kiss. When I was backstage helping Dirty Spanglish figure out where they needed to go I saw the painted up figures of Out of Exile passing through. They were ominous, dark, and I wanted to take a photo with them and Dirty Spanglish. I was too chicken to ask. I know their make-up was for show. But it worked. They looked like they would string me up right there if I asked anything like, “Could I please take a photo??”
Members of the Psycho Bums are punk rock mohawk monsters...
Dirty Spanglish put on what I thought was their best show ever. They went on right after Birdmonster’s high-flying energetic set. Instead of folding up, Those dirty spangle monsters fed off the Birdmonster energy. They put on a raucous show of their own that had kids moshing and one older guy jumping off his barstool to hear them perform some punked out Johnny Cash. Some of the punk kids in attendance are forming a band called Psycho Bums. You gotta dig that.
Dirty Spanglish bassist Nicky Jack Acid Crack and vocalist Shaun Alaniz
Blue electric power chords
Lando warms up before the show
They rocked out along with the members of the Late Greats who all showed up and partied to songs like “Electric”, “Zebras” and “She’s a Jones Soda”. They threw out big stuffed flowers, an Irish hat and a pair of Valentine’s Day boxers. One kid pulled the boxers over his pants for a nice touch.
The Late Greats showed some support
Another kid who was there to show support is a Bakersfield High student. He and a friend both recently took over the Bakersfield High football field press box during first period PE. They did mock commentary and eventually BA’d the entire field, and didn’t get caught! Talk about a classic move that will go down in high school infamy... “They were witnessed by hundreds,” Lando says.
Jordo from Black Dog gets into the Dirty Spanglish mosh
Lando before the show with Bakersfield High buddy...
It's all about having a good exit. Birdmonster booked it after
their show to head back to the Golden Gate...
What a great night! I'm having a fun time chronicling the adventures of Dirty Spanglish. You'll read about them again soon as they take on the Bakersfield High School Talent Show at the Harvey Auditorium. Should be classic...
Dirty Spanglish calls it a night...
2008 nick belardes