Concerts in the Park feature wide variety of musical tastes

DOWNEY – Downey’s Twilight Summer Concert series has become a staple in the community. Every Wednesday of the summer (starting in July) residents from all over the city mosey on over to Furman Park, pull up a beach chair, grab some popcorn and enjoy the show. The genres vary from oldies to top 40, Latin rock to symphony, and the bands range from seasoned to established and even up and comers. Food, family, fun and free live music – it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular events in the city for upwards of 20 years now.

This year, the series begins on July 2 with the Smokin’ Cobras bringing the best in oldies and Americana music. The band has performed at events across the greater Los Angeles area, including at Dodger Stadium, Disneyland, Cal State Fullerton, Santa Anita Race Track, Qualcomm Stadium, and numerous cities such as Santa Monica, Cerritos and Placentia.

This conclave of cobras plays classic songs like Johnny B Goode, All Shook Up, Rock Around The Clock, and Stand By Me. Their motto is “Serving  rockin’ good Oldies for a new millennium,” which is a perfect explanation of what they do.

July 9 we welcome the unique talents of Upstream. This versatile band of brothers has been moving crowds with their upbeat performances at events and festivals since 1989. This ubiquitous bunch comes equipped with a variety of sounds from the Caribbean such as reggae, calypso, steel drum and soca. Lead singer Haile Blackman is actually the son of the creator of soca music, the late Ras Shorty.

Upstream has an undeniably long list of clients including, the LA Zoo, the Hard Rock Café, Caesar’s Palace, and Anaheim Stadium.

On July 16, Sonsoles will sizzle the stage with their fiery performance. They are perhaps the most decorated of all the bands performing at the concert series this year.

Their name translates to “songs of the sun” in English; they are a group of four musicians from Los Angeles, Mexico, El Salvador and Spain. Since 2008 they have been making waves and blazing stages, mixing the sounds of reggaeton, salsa, Spanish rock and pop. In 2012 they won the international songwriting competition for their song “ Mientras Te Vas”. That was followed by a win later in the year at the “El Reto De Rock” contest conducted by local LA radio station Super Estrella 107.7.

This group of rising suns has been featured on “Good Day LA,” NuvoTV and Univision, and even has their own Pandora station.

Do you like U2? Downey will have the next best thing on July 23: Joshua Tree, the premier U2 tribute band. The group has not gone the typical tribute band route by imitating the image and wardrobe of U2, but has focused solely on replicating their sound.

Joshua Tree has a performing catalogue from U2’s first album, “Boy,” to their latest album “No Line on the Horizon” and everything in between. The band has performed across the country in Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island at numerous festivals and clubs. They will have you rocking and rolling for as long as it takes U2 get from Downey to Joshua Tree, Calif.

On July 30, Folklor Pasion Mexicana graces the stage, known for their prolific and passionate dances following in the footsteps of folklorico dancers before them. The group was founded in 2009 in Los Angeles and quickly became a premier act to book all across California.

They have performed at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Oxnard Performing Arts Center and also along side internationally known Mariachi bands such as Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano. In 2011 these passionate performers danced at the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena next to the “Suenos California” float that eventually won the prestigious Governor’s Trophy.

The Downey Symphony will bring every single one of their instruments and perform their annual “Pops in the Park” performance Aug. 6. This is always a fan favorite among Downey residents, possibly because you usually have to pay for a performance like this but this one is completely free.

Founded in 1948, the symphony had it first performance nine years later (perfection takes time) in 1957. The symphony has a student outreach program called “Music in the Schools” that introduces Downey students to instruments at an early age. They bring the strings, the brass, the percussions, the basses and woodwinds for your listening pleasure, so bring your eyes, your ears and mouth to enjoy the show.

August 13, Conganas will have you wanting to move it. The band is composed of four artists from Chile, Cuba, Valenzuela and the U.S. They blend the genres of salsa, merengue, and cumbia among other Latin sounds.

Their name is Spanish for “wanting” and its no coincidence they have crowds wanting to dance from the first song to the last. They perform regularly at clubs, restaurants and events around the greater Los Angeles such as the popular Mambo’s Café in Glendale. You’re not going to want to miss this.

August 20 The Wiseguys big band will close out this summer concert series Aug. 20. They seem to be doing a local summer concert series tour this year, performing in the cities of Montebello, Azusa, Buena Park, South Pasadena, Temple City, Whittier and Huntington Beach to name most.

The Wise Guys are not made men yet, but certainly have an increasingly large following here in the Los Angeles area. Every time they step on stage they bring their nostalgic rockabilly sounds supplemented by an energetic, entertaining performance. One would be wise to check these guys out.



Published: May 29, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 07