Long Beach’s music, food, and art festival returns for its third installment at Marina Green Park on September 29th and 30th. Music Tastes Good emerges as the place to soak in the essence of local music, delectable treats, and noteworthy headliners such as New Order, Janelle Monae, James Blake, and Joey Bada$$. From last year’s attention to detail and quaint order from stage to stage, that allowed a festival goer to enjoy every act, this year’s line-up is consistent with the core values. Keeping it at two music stages — Franklin and Gold Stage — MTG etches its name as a local, festival that branches beyond its containment while still celebrating local acts, featuring Las Chicas Tristes DJ-ing in between sets.
As a special surprise, The Taste Tent, presented by Mother’s Market & Kitchen, will be open to all attendees this year versus previous years that offered access to only VIP wristband holders. This inclusiveness allows everyone to dive into the The Taste Tent and Taste Tent Demo Stage to sample worldly creations from 16 master chefs. Hailing from Seattle, Sacramento, Tijuana, to Vancouver, one can expand their taste buds while finding a lane they prefer. We broke down the days of artists you need to add to your list when planning. We also recommend downloading the MTG app to finalize your schedule.
Saturday, September 29th
As mentioned before, The Taste Tent is open to everyone, and revolves around the theme Port Cities of the West Coast. Food wasn’t our focus last year, but we still managed to get a food coma outside The Taste Tent (Hot Cheetos mac n’ cheese, where you at?) so we can only imagine this year. From 12-7 p.m. eight Chefs will be brewing up your next favorite meal. We recommend at least getting a sample right by noon before the back to back performances on the main stage (Franklin) if you’re a true music lover. MTG stole the show with their duel, rotating main stage that added to the festivals smoothness so don’t rely on downtime at the main stage to grab a bite.
The Taste Tent Demo Stage will act as a home to podcaster and journalist Anthony Bozza from 2-3 p.m. each day as he premieres his first episodes of his upcoming episodes of his upcoming music and wine podcast, WINYL, live from MTG. If you’re a fan of Bozza, wine, or wanting to be a part of the audience as Bozza also chats with MTG’s musicians and Chefs, then definitely add this to your list. If you’re a casual wander, we suggest Saturday, and you can revisit the Taste Tent.
Haunted Summer 12:05 PM – 12:35 PM, GOLD STAGE
Highland Park locals kick off the event and bring their dreamy, neo-psych chords to Long Beach. Dousing listeners in a heavy coat of haziness, there are moments of upbeat scuzz on tracks such as “Spirit Guides” or the twinkling, and beautiful crafted track “1996.” If the psych-scene wasn’t your cup of tea, Haunted Summer is still worth the mention because they only borrow a few melodic chords, but it’d be best to head over to the main stage.
BLCKNOISE 12:10 PM – 12:40 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE *
Long Beach duo, Donovan Brown and Victor Ujadughele are a neo-soul, rock pair that reintroduces familiar sounds in an exciting new light. From R&B to alternative cuts, the interaction between the two revives a magical part in discovering new music. With a debut album on the way, The Black Noise (BLCKNOISE) posses a heartfelt amount of success. They also do a soulful cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” that makes you weak in the knees at the hands of Brown’s emotive vocals.
Forest Of Tongue 12:40 PM – 1:10 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
We are still trying to figure out what we feel on “Dark Chocolate.” LB’s quirky ensemble cross a myriad of lines that are bewitching, absurd, and insanely well-crafted. Mirroring a dark fairy tale where all the gum drops are “gremlins,” the experimental lads could be the only way to describe “thrash-pop.”
Neighbor Lady 1:10 PM – 1:40 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Atlanta crooners — Emily Braden, Jack Blauvelt, Merideth Hanscom, and Andrew McFarland — embody indie-rock with the country twang, heart and soul in their ballads. Rich, full, compositions pull you in and is reminiscent of the musical direction of the lovely Jenny Lewis.
FEELS 1:40 PM – 3:10 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE
LA’s punk, psych-grunge quartet will wake you up if you weren’t already awake. Explosive, melodic and ranging from social and political themes, FEELS awakens the angry, adolescent in us all; and we’re not mad.
*Food and beer break* 2:10 PM – 2:55 PM
As usual, music and art is scattered across the festival grounds. No BS! Brass Band fills in any empty spaces with their insane amount of energy and rustic horns that prep for your food coma. Over at the Gold Stage from 1:55, RADIOLISTENER will make its tributary performance to the late Ikey Owens. A known name in Long Beach, Owens lent his magic to many in the DIY scene. You can still appreciate the tribute from a far, if unfamiliar with his work, and dive back into the Taste Tent.
From 2:35 to 3:20/3:30ish, both stages will hold a similar type of upbeat, energetic vibe. Quintron and Miss Pussycat bring the New Orleans, expansiveness to a high voltage dance beat, somewhat reminiscent to B-52’s beloved oddity. Definitely worth checking out but, Oliver Tree at the main stage offer an eclectic cut and a slight R&B aroma between his alt-electro cuts. “Alien Boy” brings the crowd, but “When I’m Down” makes them stay.
Shame 3:30 PM – 4:10 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Yes. Yes. Yes. U.K.’s Shame are dynamic, melodic, punchy, and said to have insane live performances. That is all.
If you attended MTG last year, you’re no stranger to the rambunctious Guadalajara act, Los Master Plus (3:25 pm – 4:05 pm). If you haven’t seen them, please do. They intertwine cultures and offer feel good vibes that pair nicely with a beer. If you have seen them, and only catching a little bit of Shame, then you have another opportunity for a food/beer break and to check out the Long Beach Coffee Club at the Taste Tent Demo Stage. This is for a die-hard coffee lover that wants to know the insights behind the roasters and sample afterwards.
From 4 p.m. -5:50 p.m. only the main stage will be having acts. If you don’t like what you see below, food break!
Cherry Glazerr 4:10 PM – 4:50 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE
No local fest would be complete without the heavy and scuttled sounds of Cherry Glazerr. From college rock to angry psych, or the musings of grilled cheese, the LA act always brings it. If you’ve seen them before, then skip them, head to the tent and return for the next act.
Big Thief, 4:50 PM – 5:35 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Brooklyn’s indie band are born story tellers and definitely offer a more melodic pulse. Sweet at moments to longing and dreamy, the ensemble has a good amount of depth to their set.
This is tight and hard. Luckily, the proximity between stages makes it easier to catch a little bit of everyone. Princess Nokia is a must at 5:35 pm on the main stage; R&B and trip hop that excites again, followed by Santigold. If wanting a more songwriter feel, Blake Mills makes you fall in love at 5:50 pm at the Gold Stage, and you can’t go wrong with Broken Social Scene or Lil B. If you’re a die-hard Joey Bada$$ fan, cruise over by 8:40 pm the Gold Stage but regardless…you need to fit in New Order. Closing night one, the English post-punk group/remains of Joy Division, are the legendary pioneers in the contemporary sound of post progressions and new wave.
Sunday, September 30th
If you’re local, then you’ve probably already have seen Asi Fui, which means at noon immediately head over to the Taste Tent. The Chefs return from 12-7 pm, as well as Anthony Bozza’s podcast from 2-3 pm.
Hana Vu 12:10 PM – 12:40 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE *
Hana Vu made us fall in love a while ago and is a young act with a beautiful composition and tender, insight. There’s nothing else we can see but to see this talented local.
The Fling 12:40 PM – 1:10 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Wandering polished, angst are a couple of ideals to describe Long Beach’s The Fling. Leaning on the indie-alt side with a crunch, The Fling manage to soften any harshness with their melodic chords.
B.A.G. (BLIMES X GAB) 1:10 PM – 1:40 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Goddamn, Blimes and Gifted Gab are sharing the stage together. They possess a slick dynamic repertoire, confident attitude, and carefully crafted wordplay, and hold themselves on the list as favorite MC’s. If you’re looking for something more in the mainstream realm, dreamy electronic and alternative pop hooks will drip from LA’s BAUM at the Gold Stage from 1:05 PM – 1:35 PM.
De Lux 1:40 PM – 2:10 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
If this isn’t your thing you can also hang back and take a well deserved food and beer break as NY’s The Blow will be providing experimental pop musings shortly after at 2:10 pm. Ethio Cali will be picking things up at the Gold Stage from 2:10 PM – 2:50 PM and will be providing mythical jazz sounds.
Ezra Furman 2:50 PM – 3:30 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Another, yes, yes, yes. Dynamic in everyway, this is performance that will captivate in sight and sound.
LADAMA 3:05 PM – 3:45 PM, GOLD STAGE*
Yes, for the world music. You might have to bounce from both stages to catch a little bit of both of these great acts and are worth the hassle to migrate. Venezuelan ensemble comprised soley of women musicians hail to traditions and modern sounds. Not only do they spread their loving message through music, but also aim to take music to the youth through their workshops. Tracks sung in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, the blend is beautiful to the ears.
Hailu Mergia 3:30 PM – 4:15 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
Ethiopia mastermind and keyboardist, originally with the Walias Band, has a decadent resume under his belt. By a stroke fated luck, music blogger Brian Shimkovitz comess across a cassette bin that led him to be hooked, according to Rebecca Bengal of The Guardian. Releasing a compilation, Mergia decided write new music and tell the second half of his incredible story.
Hollie Cook 4:15 PM – 5:05 PM, FRANKLIN STAGE*
U.K. artist Hollie Cook brings a tropical and reggae vibe to the fest, which is the only one in this nature for the two days. Songwriters begin to emerge with Bill Callahaun at 4:15 and Sun Kil Moon* immediately after Hollie, with an emphasis on SKM. If these are too easy listening for your palate, then a food a beer break is in store before the second half of the night.
LIZZO rocks the Gold Stage at 5:30 PM and brings soul, pop, and hip-hop, whereas at 6 p.m. on the main stage, Parquet Courts picks up the momentum of alternative and experimental pop, perfect to set-up the wonderful Janelle Monae at 7:00 PM; expect a lot of dancing, funk, and energy from Monae’s set. The Black Angeles close the Gold Stage as James Blake blows us away with his production. The U.K. producer is quirky and fueled with R&B, producing K. Dot’s “Element.”
Cover Photo: Photo: Denny Culbert (Courtesy of MTG)