Remember when MTV had its "Spring Break" telecasts live from Daytona Beach?
My friends and I could never afford the trip to join the wild crowds between high school and college, but for a week we were glued to our TV ogling the sea of sun-tanned bikini babes with big hair. There were the screaming jocks we could do without, but they came with the territory.
It was the '80s, the decade of wonderful excess. We lived without a care in the world, other than how we were going to lie to our parents if our party plans went south and our ride was too wasted to get us home before dawn. Those days may be long gone, but that doesn't mean we have to let our fun wash away like Pauly Shore's MTV career.
Bakersfield may not have the glistening beaches of Florida, but on a balmy afternoon you can make believe it's Palm Springs, circa 1986. As for myself, I plan on doing a whole lot of lounging this weekend, resting up for an epic weekend of TV with the season three finale of "The Walking Dead" on AMC, the final chapter of "The Bible" on History Channel, and the season three premiere of "Game of Thrones" on HBO. What can be better than zombies, Jesus and dragons for Easter? Have a happy spring break kids; just remember to party wisely at all times (so sue me for the warning -- I'm a dad).
Speaking of excess, tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday for the big Summerland Tour 2013, featuring the '90s rock cavalcade of Everclear, Live, Filter and Sponge, coming to Bright House Networks Amphitheatre on June 30.
Though that list of names may sound like a household cleaning products convention, let's break it down anyway.
Each of these groups boasts some of that decade's most lasting radio hits, beginning with Detroit's Sponge, whose album "Rotting Pinata" spawned the singles "Plowed" and "Molly." Then there's Filter with former Nine Inch Nails guitarist Richard Patrick, who did his best Trent Reznor on "Hey Man, Nice Shot."
One of the highlights in the line-up for me is Live. Their album "Throwing Copper" has really held up well, believe it or not. Sadly, original lead vocalist Ed Kowalczyk is no longer with the group, but new leading man Chris Shinn can wail on "All Over You" with ease.
Headlining is Everclear, featuring one of the quintessential punk rock dads, Art Alexakis. I just may have to call up my old Music Plus store co-workers and have a reunion.
Tickets range from $30 to $48, plus service charge. For information, call 852-7777 or visit ticketmaster.com.
Amestoy's Chili Verde Cook-Off
There wasn't a drop of rain during Amestoy's third annual Chile Verde Cook-Off last Sunday.
By the time I'd arrived before noon, the crowd was already getting happily sauced inside and outside the bar as 21 teams put their best recipes to the test, handing out samples to the estimated 500 in attendance. Joining me at the judging table was Kern Federal Credit Union Director of Marketing Miranda Whitworth along with CHP spokesman Robert Rodriguez.
To make it easy on our palates, the competition began with all official teams voting for the top six amongst themselves. Those top choices were then placed into identical serving bowls, before being presented to us in mixed order to ensure a blind tasting.
After a few tastings and retastings, our collective votes were tallied until we'd reached a trio of winners. Taking home the winning plaque and $200 cash prize was Bakersfield's Robert Torres, Valentin Torres and Julio Villegas of Home Depot, followed by Carlos Alvarado and Brian Ryder of B Ryder's Bar in second place, and Clayton Hogue of Smoking Dragon Catering in third.
Veronica Allen of McKee Electric took home the people's choice award while Big Ed's Barber Shop of Bakersfield was awarded best booth. The afternoon party continued for hours with music and dancing by Bakersfield reggae rock trio Dub Seeds.
Meanwhile, in Denmark ...
Imagine being a young punk band leaving your distant homeland to venture across the U.S. with one goal in mind: new fans.
That's what Iceage lead-vocalist Elias Bender Ronnenfelt hopes to accomplish when the group rolls back into the Bakersfield ring at Munoz Gym today.
"When I was 12, I used to listen to a lot of popular anarchist bands in our area, and it just grew from there," said Ronnenfelt, 21, during a recent tour stop in Oakland. "You really just have to get out there, play and find an audience. You can't really compare what's going on in every scene."
The story of Iceage began five years when Ronnenfelt teamed up with friends Johan Surrballe Wieth, Daniel Kjaer Nielsen and Jakob Tvilling Pless in the garages of Copenhagen. After creating a buzz, the group went on an indie label-signing spree from Denmark to the United States. The group's latest record, "You're Nothing," was recently released to much acclaim as well as controversy, with some claiming the band promoted borderline neo-fascism.
"I'm really tired of talking about it, but to sum it up, I did this interview discussing violence and these horrible things, race wars, stuff like that, but people just took it as pro-race war stuff. I don't know how they came to that. We even had some shows canceled in Germany."
Iceage's "You're Nothing" is an unrelenting collection of tracks showcasing the global underbelly of the post hardcore scene in all its rugged but well-executed style. While I found no signs of anything remotely fascist on the lyrical end, the current political climate in Denmark is anything but harmonious. The music of Iceage just may be a youthful reflection of those harsh realities, the ones we hear about from the safety of the evening news.
You can check out a video of the band's track, "Ecstasy," on YouTube.
"America is a big country, and we will keep travelling and exploring it. I always remember Bakersfield quite vividly because of the Munoz Gym."
8 p.m. today; $8. All ages. Also appearing are Milk Music, Sea Lions, Doses, On Parade. 1931 E. California Ave. Going Underground Records: 633-0111.
The Blue Deacons at B Ryder's, 7401 White Lane, 8 p.m., Friday, $5, 397-7304.
Bakersfield's Steely Dan tribute band The Blue Deacons are back, following a show last year that packed the house at Sandrini's, with band members and patrons lining the walls. And relax: This time there's more room. All the big hits are guaranteed from the illustrious catalog of musicians Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Led by Bakersfield troubadour Chris Carton, the 14-piece ensemble features an all-star cast of Bakersfield musicians fully capable of putting an authentic groove to each composition. Whether you're a baby boomer, music geek or a corduroy-wearing hipster, don't miss this show.
D.R.I. at Jerry's Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave., Friday, $16, 633-1000.
Here's a show for the old school punk rocker in all of us. D.R.I. is a veteran '80s Texas hardcore punk band most known for their classic "Skanker Man" logo. The band is currently touring with founding members Kurt Brecht and Spike Cassidy, and while the group never gained a mainstream audience, the integration of their punk sound with thrash metal influences was a stylistic catalyst for acts such as Suicidal Tendencies and Corrosion of Conformity, who helped bridge the gap between the two genres. Also appearing: Downfinger, Frentus, Thrash Ops, RA.
Break 'Em Off 4 at The Garden, 900 22nd St., 2 p.m., Saturday, $15.
Continuing to spin the flag for bboy and bgirl loyalists committed to hip-hop culture in all of its many colorful forms, the Break 'Em Off series returns bigger and deffer. For Saturday's event, DJs will spin after doors open at 2 p.m. Dance crews can sign up and showcase themselves in front of spectators an hour before the first round of battling begins at 6 p.m. Organizers will call out each crew individually to show their stuff and are given either the green or red light to continue. Crews will be chosen into the main two-vs.-two battle, before the final elimination round where dancers will put forth their best moves for top prizes. The post-event gathering is guaranteed at Sandrini's with the Mothership deejays at 10 p.m. For updated info, visit facebook.com/bboysbreakemoff.