XYZPDQ Takes The Beachlife Festival Battle Of The Bands! XYZPDQ, Unrehearsed, That Sun Band, Gretchen Dorr and Mother Tucker Take The Stage at Rock & Brews For Coveted Spot in Festival Lineup
LOS ANGELES, CA- If there’s one thing that I always get inspired by, it’s when I see the youth rock a stage with confidence. There was a ton of that when BeachLife Festival hosted a competition on December 15, 2022 at Redondo Beach’s Rock & Brews featuring 5 talented bands, all with local youth all under the age of 18, taking the stage to win a coveted slot in the festival’s lineup taking place May 5-7, 2023 in Redondo Beach.
The five acts that graced the stage (Gretchen Dorr, Mother Tucker, That Sun Band, Unrehearsed, and XYZPDQ) drew in a nice crowd, which benefited the toy drive to benefit Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital as admission was free with an unwrapped new toy. The toy bins were overflowing! BeachLife has always tied in philanthropy with their music ventures, and this was definitely something to get the holiday spirits up for those who are less fortunate. A special shoutout should go out to the local toy manufacturer Mattell as they made a huge toy donation just a few weeks ago.
The first performer to take the stage was Gretchen Dorr. Unlike the other acts on the bill, Gretchen took the stage as a solo act. Her set was delayed a moment to start as the venue was trying to figure out how to lower the volume of the internet radio station that was playing on the house speaks. That didn’t both Gretchen though. She amiably joked with the crowd about how she had all night.
When she started her set, armed with just an acoustic guitar, her mellifluous voice carried through the bar/restaurant. Her set incorporated a mix of originals and covers (which included a Taylor Swift song). I was particularly impressed with her original songs. There’s a real sense of honesty when kids/teens write lyrics. They tell it like it is through their eyes, and Gretchen’s eyes are clear.
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From the acoustic styling of Gretchen Dorr, the room got a little rowdy when the kids of Mother Tucker took the stage. This quartet rocked it as hard as kids their age can, and their family and friends came out in droves to cheer them on, giving their performance that added kick of excitement.
Watching/hearing them perform, I can tell that they are still developing their sound, pulling influences from classic rock and punk acts. I kind of got some AC/DC meets The Stooges vibe from them, and ain’t nothing wrong with that.
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That Sun Band was next, and all I can say about this act was that their lead singer can sing…REALLY sing. Heart was covered a couple of times at this showcase, but when That Sun Band’s lead singer sang “Barracuda”, my ears perked up. No heart song is easy to sing. You need to have some serious breath control to wail that melody. The lead singer killed it.
When I asked the band members after their performance how old they all were, they said (if my memory hasn’t failed me) the oldest was 18 and the youngest was 13. Now don’t quote me… but the 13-year-old was the lead singer. Amazing.
The classic rock vibes continued when Unrehearsed, from San Clemente, shred the stage. I’m not quite sure that their name reflects their sound. They sounded pretty rehearsed to me. It was a very polished set, and each player carried the kind of swagger that enhanced the performance. Their lead singer had a strong soprano voice and was able to exude a sass that resonated with the classic rock ethos.
I was particularly impressed with the band’s lead guitarist. When he wasn’t assisting with the rhythm, his featured solos/riffs were clean and impressive. Sounds like he’s been rehearsing a ton.
The eventual winners of the evening, XYZPDQ, were the last to take the stage. I had actually heard some buzz about this band prior to my attending the show… and all of the hype was spot-on. These kids were a joy to watch. This trio really killed it with their arrangements and playing, shredding the whole way through.
As a trio, the bassist and guitarist were positioned at opposite sides of the stage, but when they weren’t singing, I loved seeing their guitarist and bassist use the entire stage crossing back and forth to each other, playing joined at the hip during instrumental breaks. I think what a lot of bands (young and old) tend to forget is that we’re watching a performance, and we want our senses to be overloaded. They not only knocked it out of the park with their playing giving us musical candy to suck on, but they also kept us on our toes during their 15-minute performance by using the stage, flipping their hair, etc. We not only got exciting music but also an exciting performance. Definitely something worthy of a festival slot next year. Congrats!