June 13, 2022 Review by Jimmy Alvarez & Traci Turner
Over the past two months, OC Music News has enjoyed speaking with artists appearing at the Lost at Sea ‘80s Beach Party and it was awesome to see them in person over Memorial Day weekend on Catalina Island.
Despite two artists having to bow out for health reasons – which, after recent spikes, I expected a few more to be out – the party went on and the crowd was having a blast.
Day 1 – Friday kicked off with Richard Blade doing that DJ thing that he does so well. The weather was perfect and the setting was gorgeous. Various photo ops with ‘80s pop culture items were scattered about. The VIP area and cabanas looked great – not too cramped – and there was plenty of room to dance in VIP and GA.
The live music started at full power with The Untouchables. The mod/soul/ska-pioneers fronted by the legendary Jerry Miller all looked dashing and sharp in their suits. Their recent gigs have obviously paid off because they sounded amazing and got the crowd on their feet to dance to “Wild Child.” The VIP crowd clapped along and seemed super into “Free Yourself.”
Annabella’s Bow Wow Wow was up next and the lady sounded fantastic! We are big fans of her anyway, but it is always nice when the vocal skill is genuine and can be handled at a live show. Annabella Lwin can hit those classic notes in “I Want Candy” and the crowd – and Richard Blade – shouted along to the “Hey!” throughout the song.
Shannon showed why she was a dance music star in the ‘80s and even brought along some incredible dancers. Did I see a guy balanced on another guy’s head? Um. yea, I did. Shannon’s groove pop encouraged dancing and “Let the Music Play” made that happen. The ‘50s beach movie vibe of Josie Cotton worked perfectly in the setting. With her female band, Cotton sounded flawless on “Johnny Are You Queer,” and made us excited for the new album she has been working on.
Tommy Tutone still has that phone number we all know, and he sounded just like the record for “867-5309/Jenny” Tutone was another crowd favorite that encouraged fans to get up and dance.
With Dramarama as his band, Wally Palmar of The Romantics treated the crowd to “What I Like About You” and “Talking in Your Sleep.” While everyone we interviewed was lovely, Palmar was especially kind and friendly, and we were so pleased to see him come in from Detroit for the gig. He played the show last year and was excited to return. Dramarama stayed on the stage to handle their tunes. By the way, there were many artists joining others on stage which gave the show a friendly, party vibe.
Of course, Dramarama’s John Easdale gave us “Anything, Anything (I’ll Give You)” and he sounded awesome doing it. They played Catalina last year as their first show since the world shut down and Easdale told us he enjoyed it so much and has been looking forward to returning. And because I feel I must always say it, he is genuinely one of the nicest guys in the music biz.
It was time for more girl power and dancing courtesy of Stacey Q. In addition to sounding great, she worked the stage and danced along, which encouraged everyone else. The “Two of Hearts” singer told us she first visited Catalina in her childhood for YMCA camp, and had been looking forward to visiting it again.
It was time for the “Walking in L.A.” voice known as Dale Bozzio and Missing Persons. The crowd was feeling extra jubilant by this point – was it the sun, the music, the beverages, everything? Whatever it was, they were into singing along with Bozzio and she gave them a great performance.
The first day was being wrapped up by ska legends, The English Beat. I’m pretty sure no one was sitting down by this point and there were a lot of happy, energetic music fans, dancing away. Dave Wakeling and company put on a fantastic show, which is no surprise. They are celebrating their 40th anniversary and have been playing sold-out shows all over the area, and the gave jubilant fans some “Tenderness” and “Mirror in the Bathroom,” plus some call and response: “S-K-A spells what?” “SKA!” “S-K-A spells what?” “SKA!”
Day TWO – if Day ONE was an indicator of how epic an event this was, Saturday set Catalina on fire (figuratively speaking of course)! The lineup included Oingo Boingo Former Members, The English Beat, Naked Eyes, Missing Persons, Stacey Q, Shannon, Kon Kan, Burning Sensations and Trans X.
Appearing again on Day TWO, the master of ceremonies and DJ extraordinaire was Richard Blade.
As the sun hit the midday mark, the crowd rolled in for another day of fantastic entertainment. Openers that killed it included Kon Kan, Trans X, Burning Sensations and Stacey Q.
As you can expect in any festival consisting of epic and legendary bands, there were a few standouts. Two were lead by fabulous lead female singers. Annabella Lwin & Bow Wow killed it with classics, “I Want Candy,” also on the Kick-Ass train was Shannon.
Aside the vocals, the guys in the band were so damn entertaining with their cartoon crazy onstage antics, it made the crowd insane when they played “Let the Music Play”
Another show stopper was Pete Byrne of Naked Eyes. Byrne was introduced by Blade, and the crowd went nuts. He sound sharp and electric, the crowd got especially animated with songs, “Promises, Promises” and “Always Something There To Remind Me.”
Another show stopper (which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone because this band always delivers) was Missing Persons. Coming off their killer performance at Cruel World Fest in Pasadena, the band sounded great!
The crowd loved the band, and Bozzio loved them back with their larger than life songs, “Walking in L.A.,” “Words,” “Mental Hopscotch” and “Destination Unknown.”
Returning for Day TWO was Dave Wakeling and The English Beat. Like Day ONE, Wakeling delivered on another soulful and dazzling performance. TwoTone era music has never sounded so fresh and dance-defying, the crowd was up and dancing along to each and every song.
Closing out the night and festival was Oingo Bingo Former Members. Like many legacy acts, there has been some movement from the original band’s lineup. But, Ongo Bongo Former Members has retained many of its original bandmates, less Elfman.
With Johnny Vatos on the drums, Steve Bartek on guitar, Carl Graves (keys), Sam “Sluggo” Phipps (sax), the band is simply astonishing on stage. For this one, (bassist) John Avila didn’t make the trip to Catalina, but Mike Glendinning (vocals, rhythm guitar), Freddy Hernandez (bass) and Brian Swartz (trumpet) did, and they killed it as they always do.
I mentioned Elfman is not part of this incarnation of the band, instead they have Brendan McKian (lead vocals). McKian is not Elfman, and that is the point. He brings his own style, his own delivery and vocal style and it works, big time! And it was on full display at the Lost at Sea festival. For the fans, there couldn’t have been a better way to close out the event than Oingo Boingo Former Members.
As the crowd left the venue and headed to the Ferry, all you heard was chatter about next year. It’s unclear what show organizer Rob Juarez has in mind, but the buzz is already out there, a very good problem to have. If anything, Blade has to be there, living legends have to be there to introduce living legends!
FESTIVAL PHOTO GALLERY
by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography and The Corona Chronicles