TVD Live Shots: BeachLife Festival,

REVIEW: BRIDGET GARWOOD | The first annual BeachLife Festival in Redondo kicked off Friday with plenty of mellow vibes and sunshine to go around. Situated on the Pacific Ocean near the Redondo Beach marina, you could hardly ask for a more idyllic setting, palm trees, warm sand, and sherbet sunsets were the backdrop for what the festival dubbed, “a huge beach party celebrating our way of life.”

The Southern California way of life was largely acoustic on Friday evening, with the almost-local gentlemen of Slightly Stoopid, hailing from Ocean Beach, switching up their reggae-ska vibes for an even more laid back acoustic set. With beach balls flying in the crowd, Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald strolled onto the Low Tide stage, popped open their plastic beach chairs, and played fan favorites such as “2AM,” bringing special guest Bob Weir on stage just before his headlining performance, to cover “Franklin Tower” by the Grateful Dead, and Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels.”

Over on the Rip Tide stage Timmy Curran played his folksy tunes with a blues tinge to a crowd happy to groove along. Timmy’s surf music had some great harmonica pieces and lovely harmonies, overall calling to mind a slightly more down to earth Jason Mraz, who would take the stage Saturday evening.

Headlining Friday on the High Tide stage were Bob Weir and the Wolf Brothers. Commanding the crowd from his entrance with a jolt of electric guitar, Weir brought the sea of people immediately to their feet. The ease with which Weir rips off his solo runs during “Jack Straw” comes from his years in the spotlight with the Grateful Dead. His raspy vocals and soulful guitar immediately bring to mind a bygone time of hippies dancing in muddy fields, which is not a bad association for the BeachLife Festival to have in just its first year.

Sunday continued the rock and roll vibes with Blues Traveler and Grace Potter on the High Tide stage. Man that harmonica can sing. John Popper and company played a setlist heavy with former hits, “The Mountains Win Again,” “Run Around,” and “Hook,” in which they managed to insert an epic Iron Butterfly-esq drum solo. Grace Potter cranked up that bluesy energy with some Tina Turner moves and a Janis Joplin belt. Not just a fantastic voice, Grace played the piano and guitar during her first three songs, two of which were from her former band the Nocturnals, “Medicine,” and “Ah Mary.” Between the two sets on the mainstage, Big Head Todd and the Monsters rocked the Low Tide stage with some ska infused grungy blues.

The one and only Willie Nelson closed out the festival with the biggest crowd of the weekend by far. Playing many of his hits, young and old alike grooved to “On the Road Again,” “Good Hearted Woman,” as well as his closing song, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” for which he brought out John Popper. Covering some of the classics, “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” and “Always on my Mind,” Willie’s soulful country heart was the perfect way to finish up a weekend filled with down to earth jams, great vibes, and one of the most considerate festival crowds on record.




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