Friday marked the day many local musicians and fans had been waiting for: the first show of the 2010 Concerts in the Park series.
The 15-week-long summer event takes place annually at Cesar Chavez Plaza at 5 p.m. every Friday. It is free and all-ages. There are also booths complete with henna tattoos and food to purchase, and a beer garden for those 21 and up.
This year, 31 bands will take the stage. Friday, four of those bands showed the crowd what they were made of, and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. The four bands were SIMPL3JACK, Dog Party, The Kelps and Kepi Ghoulie.
Alternative punk rock band SIMPL3JACK kicked off the series by opening the show. All the age of 12, the all-male trio didn’t show any hesitation running out on stage. They knew their places and knew what they were doing. The audience started supporting them right away; the cheers and whistles started halfway through the first song. Lead vocalist and guitarist Cole Apperson even ended it with a guitar riff that ended with him laying on his back. The attire was definitely thought-out and they meant business. Bassist Ryan Kendell wore a worn-out dirt bike helmet. Apperson had on a black leather jacket, complete with at least 15 pieces of "flare." SIMPL3JACK played a song called "Terrance is an Alien" toward the end of the set. Terrance is Dog Party’s pet pug from which Dog Party derived its name. SIMPL3JACK left the audience craving more.
Dog Party, which has been known to the Sacramento music scene going on three years, was next in line. Fourteen- and 12-year-old sisters Gwen and Lucy Giles’ vibrant-colored garage rock look matches their personalities and has a way of instantaneously captivating the crowd.
For many, it was the first time hearing the band preform, and it definitely won’t be the last.
"I really like the girl’s voice," Sacramento resident Heather-Lynn Curtis, 35, said, referring to Lucy. "It’s very edgy."
"…And the pants…not many people can work them," said resident Erin Tan, 31, referring to Gwen’s neon yellow skinny jeans.
Friday was Dog Party’s second time playing the series, and the sisters couldn’t ask to be part of a better lineup.
"We love Kepi," Lucy said. "We listen to him all the time, because he’s, like, totally awesome."
"Total awesomeness," Gwen agreed.
Dog Party’s original songs are filled with catchy lyrics and beats, but when the duo covered Jefferson Airplane’s "White Rabbit," the audience started roaring. Many sang along, and numerous people danced. Then Dog Party was joined on stage for its last song with none other than Kepi and his band.
"It was great to have Kepi join us," Lucy said.
The Kelps followed Dog Party by performing to a park full of people. The audience was already hyped, and The Kelps just gave them more. The three members, whose genre they like to leave open for audience interpretation, did one thing that could be described without a doubt: they rocked. Tony Reyes, 19; Cory Barringer, 18 and Cameron Betts, 20, didn’t hesitate to show everyone attending what their band is made of.
"(Friday) was everything we wanted and more," guitarist/singer Barringer said. "All three bands are great, and just to be able to play a show with Kepi was quite something."
Still young to the music scene, The Kelps are obviously doing something right and making their name known. This is the first year they have played the Concerts in the Park series, but if things keep going the way they are, fans will keep flocking to their shows.
As the sun was setting, the punk rock was rising. It was time for Kepi Ghoulie to take the stage.
Strutting an Iron Man mask, Kepi introduced himself as Iron Man, asking the audience over the mic, "Why aren’t you at my movie?" Then he tuned his guitar.
Former member of the legendary local band Groovy Ghoulies, Kepi got back from a month-long acoustic tour in Europe on Wednesday. Kepi has played the Concert in the Park series many times in the past, but that didn’t take away from the energy portrayed on stage Friday night.
"It’s always fun. You play to an audience that isn’t normally at your regular shows, so they get to peek into Kepiland!" Kepi said. "Plus, you get family, friends, kids and hi-jinx! Awesome!"
Kepi played a set with his band, which is a rarity, and the audience loved every moment of it. There was even a repeat of the first song, complete with three people dressed in banana costumes who took over the stage. A mosh pit crowded the front few rows of the audience.
Everyone had a good time. The weather was great, the music was entertaining and the musicians were completely supportive of one another. What a wonderful way to kick off the season-long series.
Visit the band’s websites:
2. Dog Party
3. The Kelps
4. Kepi Ghoulie
6. Dog Party
7. The Kelps
8. Kepi Ghoulie as Iron Man
9. Kepi Ghoulie and the audience