The fourth Venice Spring Fling is this Saturday at Windward Plaza, and promises again to be a great day. It’s free and open to the public, and it might be a good idea to bring chairs or blankets to relax for the day (and maybe start off with breakfast at Fire Station 63). Another pro tip is to check out the shows from the patio at The Sidewalk Cafe, where you can grab something to eat and enjoy an adult beverage if that’s your thing. And speaking of adult beverages, Yo Venice favorite Bank of Venice is right up the street. After party follows immediately after the shows at Danny’s. Full Program below, beneath the poster image.
According to local arts advocate and producer Milton Rosenberg, “Both festivals are dedicated to showcasing the best of Venice musicians, artists, and dancers, as well as preserving Abbot Kinney’s vision of Venice as a place to enjoy world class arts and entertainment at the beach.”
VENICE SPRING FLING 4 PERFORMERS:
11 a.m. – Samba da Mudança (Samba for Change) – The festival begins with a samba drum and dance parade down Ocean Front Walk and onto the festival site, and festival participants are encouraged to participate in the dancing in front of the stage. “Mudança” is Portuguese for “Change”! Samba da Mudança performs throughout California, at L.A. venues like the Hollywood Bowl and Club Nokia, and anywhere the group can help raise awareness for positive, environmental, and progressive events. Come share and celebrate group drumming and dancing in a fun and supportive environment—come Samba for positive change in the world! Venice Spring Fling 4 welcomes back Samba da Mudanca for another fun performance.
11:25 a.m. – Allie Kay Band – Hard rocker Allie Kay, 17, leads this band of high school and college students as the principal singer, guitar player, and song writer. Often compared to Joan Jett, Kay is supported by her band mates, Jonas Wisner (guitar), Willy Goshorn (bass), and Austin Blyth (drums). These Southern California natives perform regularly at many venues around the southland like the House of Blues and M-15 Concert Bar and Grill. The band cites Alice Cooper, My Chemical Romance, and David Bowie as some of their inspirations. Venice Spring Fling 4 welcomes Allie Kay and her band for their debut performance on the Ocean Stage.
11:50 a.m. – ATS Bellydance and Drums – ATS Bellydance and Drums, also known as the TDJ Collective (Tribal Dance Jam), performs a style of bellydance that ranges from folkloric-inspired to fusion of ancient dances from North India, the Middle East, and Africa. Dancers interact with each other while improvising a simple movement vocabulary with the same stylization among all members. Dancers come from all over Southern California for the troupe’s annual appearance at the Venice Spring Fling. Welcome back to the Spring Fling, dancers and drummers!
12:01 p.m. –Roots Collective – Come explore a rich mixture of reggae, dub, ska, cumbia, funk, soul, and bossa nova with Roots Collective! Beginning as an open mic house band for Soup Kitchen Inc.’s Irie Tuesday in Pomona, this ensemble flourished in the communal vibe, becoming the resident band at Rockers on 1st for over a year and moving on to a weekly residency at Alibi’s in Corona. The current lineup has helped break Roots Collective out of a strictly traditional Jamaican roots reggae format, and includes longtime friends and bandmates Anthony “CAsoulnova” Ramirez (Benny & the Gardners, Downbeat Allstars) on soulful psychedelic guitar and vocals, and Luis “Upriser” Flores (Jah abiding citizens, Grand Marquis) on Latin jazz-influenced guitar. Filling out the band are guitarist Greg Hernandez (Mezklah Mezklah, Concepto Tambor), bassist Robert Campos (Buen Estar, La Santa Maria), percussionist Terrell Smith (Fountain of Roots, One Drop Redemption), Tyrone Rudolph (Christafari, One Drop Redemption) and vocalist Milan Wills “Mickey Taelor” (Soul Motion), who interweaves influences from Billy Holiday, Lauren Hill, and Erykah Badu. Roots Collective embodies a diverse sound that not one genre can describe. True to their name, they embrace musical roots of all nations. VSF4 extends a warm welcome to Roots Collective for their debut performance on the Ocean Stage.
12:50 p.m. – ATS Bellydance and Drums – 2nd performance
1 p.m. – Jelly of the Month Club – What do you get when you combine original members from Sublime, the Ziggens, Zen Robbi and Mr. Crumb? A new super band—Jelly of the Month Club! Their music provides a wildly entertaining and eclectic mix of genres aimed to inspire the creative tastes of children and their parents, their grandparents, and great-grandparents! With songs like “Brand New Friend,” “Welcome to the Carnival,” “Lemonade Standoff,” and “Waffle Boogie,” Jelly of the Month Club challenges developing minds to absorb a diversity of musical instrumentation, melody, and style. Members are musical ambassadors who promote art appreciation, education, and service to others through an interactive show. Bring the whole family and come join the club! Featuring Bert Susanka (The Ziggens) on vocals and guitar; Michael “Mic Dangerously” De La Torre (Zen Robbi) on vocals, lead and bass guitars, banjo, harmonica, percussion, and MIDI xylophone; Christopher “Mr. Crumb” Capian on vocals, piano, organ, ukulele, accordion, spoons, and guitar; Todd Forman (Sublime) on saxophones, clarinets, organ, and back-up vocals; and Scott Wittenberg (Zen Robbi) on drums. Venice Spring Fling is honored to welcome JOTMC to the Ocean Stage!
1:50 p.m. – Ya Harissa Bellydance Theatre – This Venice-based dance company performs a mix of different styles from traditional to cabaret. The ladies of Ya Harissa are veterans of the Venice Spring Fling and are welcomed back for several more intriguing dance sets in front of the Ocean Stage.
2 p.m. – Missus Jones – Missus Jones performs the ultimate tribute to the late, amazing Ms. Amy Winehouse! The full-suited, retro-styled band has several configurations, which may include up to a ten-piece band, with drums, bass, guitar, keys, horns, and backup singers, but always will include a drop-dead gorgeous Amy with stellar voice and a very serious beehive hairdo (drink umbrellas included). The multi-talented band members are seasoned in a vast array of genres and have performed internationally, on television, on recordings, and in film scores. Performers at VSF4 include Saya Novinger (vocals), Aja George (background vocals), Patrick Simon (keys), Jon Ilaw (guitar), Steve Chavez (bass), Chuck Orozco (drums), Frank Clayton (baritone sax), Nick Gomez (tenor sax), and Shant Keuroghelian (trumpet). Venice Spring Fling welcomes Missus Jones for their debut performance on the Ocean Stage!
2:50 – Ya Harissa Bellydance Theatre – 2nd performance
3 p.m. – Rated X – Rated X pays tribute to the infamous first-wave L.A. punk band X, and takes the audience on a journey back to the late ’70s/early ’80s L.A. punk scene, influenced by people like Ray Manzarek and Charles Bukowski. The band features Jenny “Jenny Bomb” Moller on vocals, Masao Miyashiro on bass and vocals, Sean Conniff on guitar, and Greg Cecconi on drums. Venice native Jenny Moller is a vocalist for the up-and-coming, dark digital electronic group Bottled Candy, and collaborates with Kevin T. Williams (Bonedaddys, Untouchables), Meet Me at the Pub, and with Tone Def as a Tone Def Allstar. Sean Conniff has performed with Battalion of Saints and the defunct X cover band Blue Spark. Greg Cecconi performed and recorded with the Rock En Espanol band, LIK, which signed to Sony Music. Venice native and beach resident for over 25 years, Masao Miyashiro has played with Non-Oxynal 9, an OG punk band out of Venice whose touring took them through Japan with Beowulf, Horny Toad, and pro-surfer Christian Fletcher’s band, Mutalage. He now plays with the bands Tone Def Punk Rock Karaoke and The Pinata Shorebreakers. Expect to hear X hits like “Los Angeles,” “Soul Kitchen,” “We’re Desperate,” “Nausea,” “White Girl,” and many more. VSF4 welcomes Rated X for their debut performance on the Ocean Stage!
3:50 p.m. – Ya Harissa Bellydance Theatre – 3rd performance
4 p.m. – Meet Me At The Pub – Soon after Meet Me at the Pub formed in Venice in 1999, the trio of Jeremy, Sully, and Jack soon built a rabid local fan base with the local surfers and skaters, throwing off-the-wall parties at their weekly shows at the Malibu Inn. But Meet Me At The Pub is not just your average party band; Jeremy’s satiric-but-real lyrics and energetic stage antics keep audiences entertained, amused, and dancing! In 2003, the band released their first major album, Monday Night, and with help from SurfRock Int., the band released their first Japan Import in 2006. They have toured the US, UK, and Japan, performing over 1500 shows in the past twelve years. The band’s third album, Tall Can Wednesday (2009), was produced by Lewis Richards (Slightly Stoopid, Sublime). Pub embodies the true sound and spirit of the Southern California style—a mixture of reggae, ska, punk, and melodic rock (with the occasional odd waltz thrown in just for fun). Meet Me At The Pub has shared the stage with Toots & The Maytals, Eek-a-Mouse, Fishbone, The Untouchables, Horny Toad, and many others. Any time Pub plays, it’s a party, and everyone’s invited! Welcome back to festival veterans Meet Me at the Pub!
5 p.m. – Barry “The Fish” Melton with Special Guests – Venice Spring Fling 4 is proud to welcome back Barry “The Fish” Melton (of Country Joe and the Fish) featuring Lowell Levinger aka “Banana” (The Youngbloods), Greg Douglass (The Steve Miller Band, Van Morrison), Tony Saunders (Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band), Andy Kravitz, and Brad Jenkins:
Barry “The Fish” Melton – In 1965, Melton and “Country Joe” MacDonald began playing music at Berkeley protests against the Vietnam War. Soon they were recording and touring as Country Joe and the Fish, performing at the ballrooms of San Francisco in the psychedelic music scene, and by 1969 had performed their classic antiwar anthem, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’ to Die Rag,” at the Woodstock and Monterey Pop festivals. Since then, Melton has had an active career as both a musician and lawyer! He played guitar and sang in The Dinosaurs, a band of ’60s veterans that included Peter Albin of Big Brother and the Holding Company, John Cipollina of Quicksilver Messenger Service, Spencer Dryden of Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, David LaFlamme of It’s a Beautiful Day, Jerry Miller of Moby Grape, and the incomparable Merl Saunders on keyboards. Melton, a veteran of the Venice Spring Fling, is a longtime fan of Venice. “I remember going there as a kid to see the King of the Beat Generation, ‘Big Daddy’ Nord,” says Melton. “Venice was the center of the counterculture in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and it has maintained a continuing counterculture tradition. I am delighted to be playing the Spring Fling!”
Lowell Levinger, aka “Banana,” is a founding member of The Youngbloods, and the original “Hippie From Olema.” Since the Youngbloods disbanded in 1973, Banana has recorded five solo albums with sterling songs that delve into the roots that formed his musical landscape. From down-n-dirty blues to rollicking good times, Banana presents a varied palette of colorful stories paired with irresistible melodies and rhythms. His vocals deliver sincerity, warmth, and humor, and are solidly supported by engaging instrumental arrangements. Banana utilizes many gems from his collection of vintage acoustic instruments to fully accentuate his style. He has recorded and toured with many musicians over the years, including Mimi Farina and Zero (with Steve Kimock and John Cippolina).
Greg Douglass started playing in 1968 and his band, Country Weather, shared the stage with Sly & The Family Stone, Santana, and others at the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballrooms. Greg went on to play and write with Van Morrison, Hot Tuna, The Steve Miller Band (co-wrote the #1 song “Jungle Love”), Peter Rowan, Eddie Money, Tom Fogerty. Currently Greg tours with the Greg Douglass Band, The Monsters of Classic Rock, Deva Premal, and The Former Members, members of Country Joe & The Fish and the Blues Project.
Tony Saunders is the bassist who can play all styles of music. Growing up around his Dad, the legendary Merl Saunders, Tony learned to play with Jerry Garcia one day and Johnny Mathis the next. Tony graduated from the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco and has received two Emmy Awards, one for the PBS children’s special Soul Is, a project he worked on with his father. Tony has composed for television, film, and theatre, and has produced many albums out of his own studio. His charitable efforts include work with Seva Foundation, the Rex Foundation, the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, and the Rainforest Action Network. Tony’s solo CD, “Romancing The Bass,” remains on charts throughout the world.
Andy Kravitz has played drums and percussion, and produced and remixed music in the studio for a wide range of award-winning artists, including Cypress Hill, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Joan Osborne, James Taylor, Taj Mahal, Shawn Colvin, Los Lobos, and Daryl Hall, to name a few. Andy received the 2010 Grammy Nomination for his participation on “Best Pop Instrumental Album,” Robby Krieger of the Doors’s Singularity, featuring Andy on drums and percussion.
Brad Jenkins began studying and playing music at a young age in Canada. He is a versatile saxophone and flute player, who has recently played with legends such as Lester Chambers (The Chambers Brothers), Big Brother and the Holding Company, Barry “The Fish” Melton, Jerry Miller (Moby Grape), David LaFlamme (It’s A Beautiful Day), Laurence Juber (Wings), Gary Duncan (Quicksilver), Les Dudek (Allman Brothers), and many more. Brad developed his unique, soulful style while touring the country with several bands during the ’70s and ’80s. In the ’90s, he went back to school as a Music Major, studying classical, jazz, pop, and blues. He is currently involved in efforts to keep music in schools, as well as offering private lessons in his Miranda, California, studio. He is currently playing with Lester Chambers’s and Barry (The Fish) Melton’s bands, as well as EZ Money, a Humboldt County band.
6:20 pm – The Venice Philharmonic Orchestra featuring Tovi Khali – The first use of ‘philharmonic’ was in London in 1813, when an organization was founded called the Philharmonic Society. The word ‘philharmonic’ translates to ‘music lover,’ and the Venice Philharmonic Orchestra is truly an ensemble of Venice’s finest and most eclectic musicians celebrating their love of music! The music itself is as diverse as the band members, which include local favorites Tovi Khali (Scunc) on vocals, Michael Jost (Sugarbitch) on guitar, drummer and producer Andy Kravitz, Milo Gonzales (Insects Vs. Robots) on sitar and guitar, Barry Conley (Aliens) on Outta-control-a-tron, Samuel Correa on bass, and Matty D. on woodwinds, keys, and percussion. Classically trained guitar virtuoso Michael Jost has been a mainstay on the Venice scene for fifteen years, playing, composing, and producing his original mix of flamenco, funk, and psychedelia. Tovi Khali joined Jost over ten years ago, and Jost’s classical European guitar stylings and Khali’s smoky and captivating lyrics and vocals were a natural fit for each other. Venice Philharmonic Orchestra is a highly improvised, free spirited, mind-bending journey through space and time, delivering a danceable and thought-provoking mix of funk, rock, soul, and spoken word. A big welcome to VPO on their debut performance at Venice Spring Fling 4!
This free festival is made possible by generous support from local and national businesses that wish to help keep the arts alive in our community: Earrigation Mobile Recording Studios, Venice Beach Suites & Hotel, Al & Ed’s Autosound Marina Del Rey, The Sidewalk Cafe, Venice Boardwalk Association, Jody Maroni’s Sausage Kingdom, Danny’s Venice, Angel City Brewery, Volcano Tea House, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Fresh Brothers, Sound Art LA, Galactic Drifter, Maui and Sons Venice Beach, Bartels’ Harley-Davidson, Free Venice Beachhead, Whole Foods Venice, Venice Paparazzi, Yo! Venice, Zelda’s Corner Deli, Animal House, Moses Jewelry, and Venice Breeze Suites.