Beach Day and Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers
Hollywood Beach Bandshell
Better than: Hiding from the summer heat in a movie theater.
Summer has officially arrived in South Florida. Back to haunt South Floridians is the familiar wall of moisture that hangs in the air, the baking sun that beats sweat mercilessly from one's pores during even the shortest walks outdoors, and the sporadic torrents of rain that scream down upon the roofs and streets as if the sky itself were crying to mourn the departure of spring's breezes. And while it might be unpleasant to accept that we will all live with a perpetual case of swamp ass in the coming months, summer in South Florida isn't all bad.
In fact, if you happened to be at the Hollywood Beach Band Shell on Saturday evening, you'd have witnessed a near perfect representation of the pleasant side of Sunshine State summers.
The shoreline of Hollywood Beach made an ideal backdrop for the joint album release party for hometown favorites Beach Day, who were celebrating their debut full length, Trip Trap Attack, and Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmackers, who cranked up the amps up in the name of a new single entitled Tropical Diseases. As the sun began to sink, people arrived on bicycles or walked up from the sand to crowd the alcove in front of the bandshell to enjoy some homegrown music from a pair of bands that wear their Hollyweird stamps proudly.
The scene that transpired during Mr. Entertainment and the Pookiesmacker's set may as well have been removed from a modern, slightly warped (in a fun, Hollywood way) Rockwell painting. Children danced freely in front of the stage, friends, family, and beachy weirdos alike enjoyed the band's mid-'60s informed rock, and a guy and his wife sat on a bench and shared the largest tub of cheeseballs we've ever seen.
Led by frontman Steven Toth's excited speak-singing reports, the band sounded tighter than many of the touring acts we've seen recently, and it was as if the upbeat catchy numbers performed had been written to be played exclusively at the bandshell. Drummer Mike Vullo was particularly impressive, acting as a human metronome as he hammered away at a set of vintage Ludwigs with Keith Moon's fervor and Charlie Watt's restraint. While the Pookiesmacker's music was great -- a blend of rock and psychedelia with a bit of punk edge -- the set was elevated by the fact that Toth and co appeared to be having an absolute blast on stage.
As night fell and the earth sighed amidst the relief of a cooling sea breeze, Beach Day took the stage to perform at the location that has formed the band's very essence. A shirtless man in jean shorts danced alone with his walker as the band kicked off "Come Back to Me," seemingly entranced by singer/guitarist Kimmy Drake's innocent sounding vocals. Drake's guitar echoed through waves of reverb as the audience clapped along to the title track from Trip Trap Attack. And as bassist Nat Smallish and drummer Skyler Black kept the '60s back-beat moving, the bustle in the restaurants and shops that guarded the bandshell appeared to take on the band's rhythm. Smallish adulated Hollywood to the crowd between songs, mentioning how the band saved their final album release party (for a rather highly anticipated record) for their hometown.
The truth of the matter is that Beach Day has enjoyed coverage by plenty of the hip blogs and outlets that currently shape the listening of the young masses, are on a taste-making label, and could have justified ending its album release Florida tour just about anywhere. However, the fact that the location the band selected was the very petri dish in which it grew made the performance all the more charming, and as Beach Day played through its signature song, the pleasant side of summer vibes permeated through the very air.
Random Observation: Hollywood Beach fashion is a trip, man.
Random Detail: Steven Toth had the only Black Flack ripoff shirt we have ever liked. It was just the four bars and the words: "Beach Boys."
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