I have a deep appreciation for small, local venues that put on consistent, quality shows. Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, California is one such venue. Recently, I was able to check out Good Riddance, Direct Hit!, The Bombpops, and Stop Breathing on a Saturday night at this LB gem. I am sure the rest of the sold out crowd would agree with me in saying that this was an amazing opportunity to see a lineup of great bands in an intimate setting. Personally, I had seen Good Riddance at this year’s Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival, but had unfortunately missed the chance to see them the last time they played a small venue in LA. It was worth the wait.
I arrived early since I knew I wanted to stake out a position to take photos. The show started with Stop Breathing as the crowd started filing in. Stop Breathing is a punk/hardcore band out of Oxnard, California who set the tone for the night with their high energy and powerful melodies. This theme would run throughout the evening.
Next up were The Bombpops, one of my favorite up and coming bands. Even with some technical difficulties early on, they tore through their set with catchy melodies and lyrics. I love seeing talented, powerful female musicians in the punk community, and the ladies of The Bombpops bring an energy to stage that is hard to match. If you’re looking for some new pop-punk with edge, check out The Bombpops!
Direct Hit! followed the Bombpops and also faced some technical difficulties. Even though this caused the band to nix one of their guitars, it did not slow them down. I know many of our other editors listed Direct Hit! on their “Top Albums of 2013,” but I hadn’t really gotten into them before this night. I can say one thing – they are definitely an act you need to see live. Their show was so energetic, you may have thought they were closing out the night. They commanded the small stage as if they were playing to a large stadium or festival. The crowd was nearly at capacity at this point and the energy was palpable.
It was finally time for the main event. Good Riddance came out no holds barred and rocked the stage for over an hour. The crowd went crazy – dancing, moshing, and singing along (you can actually check out a video of the full set right here). The band tore through crowd favorites like “Salt,” “United Cigar,” “Weight of the World,” and “Texas,” among others. Bands like Good Riddance bring such a force to the stage and you can feel the passion of both the band and the fans in the air. From my observations, there were probably many people in the LA/Long Beach area who lost their voice that night from screaming so loudly.
As I said before, it was worth the wait to see Good Riddance live in a small venue. With the promise of new music on the horizon, I hope this opportunity will come my way again soon! Check out our full gallery from the show below!