Thursday, June 20, 2024

BeachLife fans discover new, local music

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The neck on one of the guitars he plays is as long as he is tall.

But 12-year-old Saxon Weiss’s fingers moved furiously up and down that guitar neck on day three of the BeachLife festival, where talent and tenacity wasn’t just on display on the big stages.

From the small Speakeasy stage on Sunday, the Palos Verdes Estates phenom wowed the standing-room only crowd, playing, by his account, about 96% original music.

It was the local prodigy’s first time playing as the main act, said his mom Cassie Weiss after the boy’s performance that had dads, moms, aunts, uncles and grandparents head nodding and looking on in amazement.

Related: BeachLife music festival cut short amid high winds

Saxon Weiss was in good company, too.

He was joined on stage by professionals: bassist Tal Wilkenfeld and drummer Kiel Feher. Wilkenfeld has performed with Mick Jagger, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Prince and even BeachLife headliner Incubus, who performed on Saturday night.

Feher, who has kept the beat for Megan Trainer and Julian Lennon, said after the youth’s set he felt lucky to be a part of Weiss’ journey.

“He’s so ahead of his time,” Feher said. “He’s just such an incredible musician.”

Weiss himself, who played guitar and sang all the vocals in a sweet, high tenor, said he felt bolstered by the professional backing.

There’s no one else musical in his family, said the Palos Verdes Intermediate School student. His musical talent’s genesis?

“It’s a gift from God,” said Weiss after the show.

And, he felt supported by family, friends and BeachLifers, one of whom walked away from Weiss’ performance predicting — “He’ll be on the HighTide stage in about five years.”

Like many locals, Weiss was grateful to be included in the BeachLife lineup

“I feel so happy to walk on stage and see all the people in the audience,” Weiss said. “It’s so energizing.”

Also bringing energy to one of the small stages on Sunday, was the band Wall of Sound who played the RipTide stage.

The Grateful Dead tribute band is starting to branch out in Southern California, said its drummer Darren Pujalet, a Hermosa Beach resident.

“We’re just having a great time,” Pujalet said as few minutes before taking the stage. “We bring a little bit more energy, I think, to the music and it’s just a little bit more higher octane.”

Pujalet said Sunday’s performance was the band’s second at BeachLife following 2022.

“It’s our back yard,” Pujalet said. “We have so much family and friends here that it’s just super special.”

On a cool and cloudy Saturday at BeachLife, Devo fans made their reappearance in the new wave band’s de-evolution movement, showing up with red-tiered helmets and sardonic salutes.

“You don’t buy the hat unless you’re a big fan,” said Johnny Ray right before Devo took to the LowTide stage.

Ray and partner Kelly Dahlman were dressed in matching black and red outfits, in addition to the helmets. They’ve been Devo fans since Kelly saw them in concert, her first, back in the late 1970s.

The pair came to BeachLife last year just to see a variety of bands, said Ray. But when they heard Devo was playing, he immediately bought tickets.

  • Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • New Wave band Devo perform at the Low Tide stage...

    New Wave band Devo perform at the Low Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Devo lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh performs at the Low Tide...

    Devo lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh performs at the Low Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Incubus DJ Chris Kilmore performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus DJ Chris Kilmore performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Incubus bassist Nicole Row performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus bassist Nicole Row performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Incubus bassist Nicole Row performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus bassist Nicole Row performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Chevy Metal, featuring drummer Shane Hawkins, performed at the BeachLife...

    Chevy Metal, featuring drummer Shane Hawkins, performed at the BeachLife Festival on May 4. Hawkins is the son of the late Taylor Hawkins, Foo Fighters drummer and founder of Chevy Metal. (photo by Michael Hixon/SCNG)

  • New Wave band Devo perform at the Low Tide stage...

    New Wave band Devo perform at the Low Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Singer Dustin Parks of Cydeways performs at the Riptide stage...

    Singer Dustin Parks of Cydeways performs at the Riptide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining...

    Incubus vocalist Brandon Boyd performs as part of the headlining act of Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins pictured performing with his cover...

    Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins pictured performing with his cover band Chevy Metal at the 2019 BeachLife Festival. His son Shane Hawkins is now the band’s drummer two years after his father’s death. Chevy Metal returned to the BeachLife stage on May 4, 2024, with Shane Hawkins on drums. (photo by Michael Hixon/SCNG)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Indie Rock band Local Natives perform at the High Tide...

    Indie Rock band Local Natives perform at the High Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Local Natives’ Kelcey Ayer performs at the High Tide stage...

    Local Natives’ Kelcey Ayer performs at the High Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach,...

    The crowd enjoys Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Local Natives guitarist Ryan Hahn performs at the High Tide...

    Local Natives guitarist Ryan Hahn performs at the High Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Local Natives vocalist Taylor Rice performs at the High Tide...

    Local Natives vocalist Taylor Rice performs at the High Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Indie Rock band Local Natives perform at the High Tide...

    Indie Rock band Local Natives perform at the High Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

  • Indie Rock band Local Natives perform at the High Tide...

    Indie Rock band Local Natives perform at the High Tide stage during Day Two of Beachlife Festival at Redondo Beach, CA on Saturday, May 4th, 2024. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

Later on Saturday, fans crammed into the VIP section to await the arrival of rockers Incubus.

Sitting on a picnic table trying to keep warm were Maren Hoffmann and Ashley Yeager.

For Hoffmann, 25, who said she BeachLife was her first music festival.

Incubus, especially the popular song, “Drive,” was the draw for her.

“It was so great,” said Hoffman.

The best part of Saturday BeachLife for Hoffmann?

“Santigold dancing,” she said about the new wave/hip hop crossover artist who performed on the LowTide stage Saturday afternoon.

–Staff writer Michael Hixon contributed to this report

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