BombonMesser Chups, Boss Martians and more at Alex's Bar
By Naughty Mickie
Photos by Dean Lee 

There was already a line to get in Alex's Bar in Long Beach before 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26. And in it was a mix of fashions, from people wearing the usual bar-hopping attire to lots of Messer Chups T-shirts to aloha wear. The odd blend was due to the grooves proffered inside- it was surf night and in SoCal that means anything goes and it would.

Opening the show was The Vooduo, a husband/wife team with hubby on guitar and vocals and the lady of the house on a very spartan set of drums. The crowd was warm to this group, but I'll be honest, it appeared to be the husband's idea to form a band and he had roped in his mate as support. The problem here is who really has the talent in the act. The guy needs to turn his vocals down a few notches as he yells way too much, and while his guitar playing is adequate, he's definitely more of a rhythm or second guitarist. The drummer - wow! - she was awesome. Terrific timing, great fills and the brains to know just when to play and when to let the silence flow. Her approach made me wonder if she was a percussionist for a jazz band in a past life. Despite their imbalance, I would go early to catch The Vooduo again, as they have great potential and will hopefully continue to evolve into a strong act.

Bombon, an all-girl group, was the cool of the evening. This quartet was obviously enjoying their time on stage and has a firm grasp of SoCal, as their scant lyrics for their surf tunes were sung in English and Spanish. I enjoyed their way of teasing the crowd with a cutesy number full of girly squeals and upbeat grooves ala The Go-Gos and following it with a dark, mysterious, goth-surf tune. They're not quite up to big concerts yet, and perfect for the bar scene, however we may be seeing a lot more of them next year.

Messer ChupsFrom Seattle the Boss Martians has a strong fan base here, as the venue was getting crowded and fans were creeping closer to the stage. This band is tight and talented and full of energy. My beef, painful to admit, is that they played a few too many cover songs for my taste, taking classic rockers, like "Stepping Stone," and giving them a little twist of surf. Yes, one or two covers are great to really show what you can do, but I would have preferred more originals, as this band has the licks to handle it.

And finally what the bulk of the crowd had come to see, the Messer Chups, took the stage. They brought their A game, dealing out songs rapidly, each member took a second here and there to greet the audience, but they primarily stuck to the task at hand. It was fun to hear the mix of material, new and old, and watch how their fans reacted. I also enjoyed seeing how often their music meshed perfectly with the collage of old horror and sci-fi film footage rolling on a screen to the side of the stage.  

All of the Messer Chups' songs are a bit edgy and some are downright experimental making for an entertaining show. I also like how the group is polished and precise, yet able to retain a sense of rawness. They're not a pure surf band either, which is nice, as it changed up the atmosphere of the club and sent the crowd out on a high note. The Messer Chups know that it doesn't matter what language you speak-- the love of good music is universal.

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