‘Some Kind of Wonderful’! The New Old’s concert delights locals

Guest vocalist Daniel Paige belts out "Jumpin' Jack Flash," backed by The New Old, on May 24 in the Malibu Summer Concert Series opener at Dreamland. Contributed Photo

Aviator Nation Dreamland saves the day by hosting the Summer Concert Series opener at the last minute

By Barbara Burke

Special to The Malibu Times 

Locals who loyally attend Malibu’s annual Summer Concert Series excitedly gathered at Dreamland in Malibu on May 24, many scurrying to the venue because they had first gone to the Trancas lawn across town, unaware that on May 21, the Malibu City Council denied permission to hold the concert at the Trancas venue, as is traditional.

“Malibu city bureaucrats shut us down because it took them five months to issue a permit,” Bandleader Johnny “Guitar” Watkin exclaimed in frustration, only to then victoriously announce, “Then, Dreamland stepped in and we moved the whole show there!” 

And what a show it was! 

Attendees gratefully nodded their heads in approval, following along and singing the songs. The band opened with “A Little Bit,” performed by Alicia McCracken Morgan, who also played keys. Morgan’s belting out of a wide array of rock and roll favorites made for an exciting night.

The band’s setlist was flush with popular songs — songs that many who attended immediately responded to by exuding that very special facial expression, the one that manifests the excitement and delighted joy that one experiences when he is momentarily transported to special times in his youth, and songs that those in attendance who are of younger generations also joyously jived with as they recalled their parents singing to them as they went about their childhood days. 

Rock and roll songs. Songs that ring true in Malibu.

From “Take Me to the River” — also performed by Morgan, to “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “Chain of Fools,” the delighted crowd sang and hummed along, clearly enjoying the unabashed freedom of taking to the dance floor, flush with joy, immersed in lyrics and reverberations, celebrating their right to gather.

“Some Kind of Wonderful,” performed by Morgan, drew special applause. Attendees smiled broadly as they followed along singing and rocking in rhythm.

All along the way, the very talented Watkin played guitar, delighted that The New Old had found a venue to play in. Other performers in The New Old were Dennis Kenmore (drums), Dave Batti (bass), John Woodhead (guitar), Sam Morgan (saxophone), and Leslie Martinez, Sandra Pearsson, and Dakota Martinez (backing vocals).

It’s nothing less than amazing to thoroughly vibe with Morgan’s superb playing of the sax — truly exceptional!

“Give it up for the band!” Daniel Paige, guest vocalist and a proud Malibu native who wore a quintessential Malibu sweatshirt, exclaimed, “Give it up for me!” Then, he launched into a stellar rendition of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” eliciting exclamations of “Yes!” and “Wow!” from the crowd. 

Michelle Wolf, another guest vocalist, equally impressed and thrilled attendees as she performed, among other songs, “Gimme Some Lovin’.”  In response, the audience jovially obliged.

However, a central focus of attendees during the evening centered on Malibu’s unique and cherished ethos that is grounded in the concept that locals dearly treasure their annual tradition of gathering for the popular Summer Concert Series. 

Simply stated, it’s their dream to do so.

“I’m so happy Dreamland came through for us at the last minute and it was an absolute blast to perform there!” Paige exclaimed. “I can’t think of a better venue for rock and roll!”

Totally concurring after the event, Watkin complimented the venue’s acoustics and total vibe. 

“Dreamland’s the best music venue in LA and it was a fantastic night!” Watkin added, “As far as I know, the Summer concerts will go ahead starting May 31, and our band will be back on Aug. 23.”

To quote a key line in one of the songs that Paige perfectly performed, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” the crowd dispersed joyously, knowing that The New Old would play again this summer and that their annual Malibu concert series would continue. 

With wide grins on their faces, attendees seemed to collectively chant, “Oh My My! Oh, hell yes!”