Local Bands at Topanga Days

Deb Ryder takes the stage at Topanga Days this Memorial Day Weekend. Photo courtesy of Deb Ryder

This Memorial Day Weekend (May 27, 28, 29), feature headliners Jefferson Starship and Ozomatli, but the stages will rock with 14 local bands whose members have deep roots in the Topanga community.


On the Main Stage

Deb Ryder returns after two Grammy Ballots for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2016 and 2017. Deb began her career on her stepfather’s famous nightclub stage of the Topanga Corral. She opened for such legends as Etta James, Big Joe Turner and Taj Mahal. Her vocals, influenced by Koko Taylor and Etta James, are powerful, whiskey-soaked and a force of nature.

The Greenhorn Brothers is a five-piece band of talented Topangans. They started in 2015, as good friends playing music that all the members loved but never got a chance to play. Their sound is derivative of what Gram Parsons called “Cosmic Americana Music,” but they play rock music with a good groove with harmony vocals and a nod to country music.

Kummerspeck returns to continue the tradition of all-star bands forming for fundraising purposes. It was Topanga Elementary School’s fundraiser that brought the musical mash-up of Topanga moms and dads together. Settling on the name Kummerspeck (meaning stress-induced weight gain, literally, “grief bacon”), their purpose was to ensure the fundraiser’s success for their kids and to perform in “raucous Topangan style.” Last year’s philanthropic gigs were the Community Center (TCC) Halloween fun fest and paying tribute to David Bowie at Topanga Days. With the exception of one Venetian, all band members hail from Topanga.

Soluzion combines a solution to a problem with a hallucinogenic experience. This group of four men from different musical and cultural backgrounds blends a perfect balance of funk, afro-latin, soul and jazz influences for a mix of originals, covers and jams. Three of the four band members grew up in Topanga.


On the Corral Stage

Tom Mitchell, who curates the bands for the Corral Stage has selected the following bands to represent Topanga’s “homespun art with soul”:

Members of The Golden Happy Hedgehogs and Dragons vs Puppies go to Topanga Elementary School and practice after school with their local teacher, Gordon Turrisi aka Skip Jaymes. Turrisi will also be performing in the psychedelic rock band Watcher Moon along with Tom Mitchell. Look for Topanga Ukulele Revival, The Regulars, Corral Stage Band, The Handymen, The Lauren Flynn Band, Melanie Kareem Belly Dancers, Murphy’s Flaw, Jim Crawford & the Hot Toddies, Coyotes of Topanga, Zane Suarez & the InZane Asylum, Joee Corso Band, and Sugar in the Ground. Although not from Topanga, Shere Disraeli will be playing with local Amit Gilad.

Finally, local teen powerhouse Gabbi Beauvais will be singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” as Topanga Cub Scout Pack 24 and the U.S. Marines raise the flag on Memorial Day, around noon after the parade.

Topanga Days takes place Memorial Day Weekend from Saturday, May 27 to Monday, May 29, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Topanga Community Center, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd.,Topanga, CA 90290. For the full Topanga Days line-up, schedule and to buy tickets: www.TopangaDays.com.


By Alexia Haidos


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