Last weekend marked the triumphant return of the ambitious Twiin Productions’ West Beach Music & Arts Festival to a wide swath o’ harbor-side sand-not to mention the culmination of a certain weekly rag’s Road to West Beach battle of the bands. And Friday afternoon found me on the waterfront trolley, scoring a lift to the site for a mere 25 cents. Yay for public transportation!
The fog was thick, but the crowd was not-not yet anyway, so I did a relatively thorough lap, taking in the hula-hoopers, the see-sawers, the deejay and his gaggle of lovely legged fans, and eventually got waylaid in the beer and wine garden, chatting with Jackie Girard, my counterpart from the Santa Barbara Bowl, who was spending her night off from snapping pics pouring Barefoot wines. In a dose of karmic reckoning, I got a shot of her, and then followed to the main stage the awesome-dare I say Dead-esque-tunes that came courtesy of Jackie Greene.
But the primary mission at hand was to take in an old pal’s band’s performance, which began on the second stage just as Greene’s set wrapped up. The Bay Area bluegrass pickers call themselves Poor Man’s Whiskey (which would be what, exactly? Natural Light? The Schnappster?), and they advertised their appearance at this year’s West Beach Fest as “Dark Side of the Moonshine.” And, lest the idea of a bunch of bluegrassers doing Pink Floyd sounds a little batty, it gets better since they dressed up as the characters from The Wizard of Oz, filling Toto’s basket with beers cracked to the beat of the cash register’s clang in “Money.” The crowd ate up the delightfully psychedelic spectacle-no hallucinogens required, though they wouldn’t have been out of place either-and afterward, I offered Dorothy my sympathy for undoubtedly drawing the losing character-determining straw. “What are you talking about?” he asked. “I won!”
So yes, it rapidly became that kind of evening. Which is to say, far too much fun was had, making for a wildly unfortunate Saturday morning. If I only had a brain.