Swing Saturday ushers in a weekend of free music

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swing saturday free musicLong Beach is gonna swing on Saturday, July 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Summer And Music’s (SAM) mid-July showcase, Swing Saturday, where Lindy Hoppers and Boogie-Woogers can dance to the early bright by a solar-powered, outdoor stage on 3rd Street and Long Beach Boulevard.

Swing Saturday will mark the first swing-centered event of SAM 2010—downtown Long Beach’s sustainable concert series, presented by the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA), providing an entire summer of free music to the public.

Swing aficionados of all types are encouraged to attend in their most copacetic threads to cut a rug, take in the syncopated armstrongs coming out of the speakers and drop a dime note on dinner at one of the local eateries.

Swing—referring to both the music genre and a variety of partnered dances—found its bearings during the 1920s jazz era, and came into its own in the 1930s and 40s. In addition to bringing the world beloved dances like the Lindy Hop, the Smooth Lindy, the West Coast Swing and the Jitterbug (among countless others), swing music is responsible for keeping America’s heart rate up during the Great Depression and into the beginning of World War II.

Singing at Swing Saturday

Speaking of elevated heart rates, reigning swing crooner Eddie Nichols is headlining this eve of rhythmic surprise with his newest project, The Rockin’ Revue. Nichols’ hardboiled swing sound, dapper hair and classic old-time New Yorker persona, paired up with his honeyed, Sinatra-reminiscent voice, set the stage for a stellar career. He has performed with legends like Bette Midler, Brian Setzer and Robert Gordon, to name just a few.

Born in Manhattan to a jazz singer and a ballerina, Nichols came to L.A. in the 80s and took to the punk rock and American roots scenes, where he helped build L.A.’s most popular swing band, The Royal Crown Revue, with tenor man Mando Dorame. Drawing from the collective roots of So Cal punk, Rockabilly, East Side R&B and NYC street corner doo-wop, Nichols and Dorame began experimenting with a hybrid of roots styles, creating original music that drew its inspiration from the past, but was firmly placed in the present and (unknowingly) the future. The Royal Crown Revue went on to lead the nation’s Neo-Swing Revolution of the 90s.

Opening the night is Rudy G y Los Hi-Tones, hailing from Baldwin Park and self-described as “Rockabilly, doo-wop and R&B with a ‘lil bit of Chicano rock n roll.” Touting influences like Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, this five-piece band churns out a sound so kinetic, sitting still while listening is not an option.

Two DJs—DJ Topper and DJ Lola—will flank the evening’s performances with fitting swing selections for the fedora-slinging crowd to keep tempo in between acts. Swing Saturday will also feature swing dance lessons and a swing dance competition, hosted by the Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre—a Long Beach dance company that has performed throughout Europe, Mexico and United States for the past 23 years.

This weekend is a double-header of free concerts. Following Swing Saturday, three bands will take the SAM stage on Sunday for head-to-head combat in the Battle of the Tribute Bands 2010.

For more information, visit www.summerandmusic.com or call (562) 436-4259.

Alternative transportation to the event is encouraged, with several public transit options offered by Long Beach Transit.

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