Long Beach’s reputable “working class” aesthetic as an welcoming import city was put to the test on a sultry Wednesday night as the Agenda trade show was being held at the Convention Center that following weekend. Even though the trade show didn’t start until August 4th, August 1st offered both local and visiting entrepeneurs in fashion a glimpse of what a pleasurable business trip entails. Kicking off the highly awaited trade show was Jansport and Benny Gold’s “Agenda Show Launch Party” held at the Verandah Deck on the historical vessel The Queen Mary. Top leading backpack brand Jansport teamed up with the expedient San Francisco based clothing company Benny Gold and created a limited line of backpacks this season. Combining the reliable quality that Jansport has maintained for decades with Benny Gold’s fashionably understated designs that contemporary shoppers consider in good taste, the Queen Mary was the designated choice for this event.
The Queen Mary’s timeless elegance made a safe haven for a conspicuous crowd of ambition clothing company owners,buyers,sellers, and fans who were looking forward to the Agenda Show as well as the musical acts performing at the launch party. Bands such as Los Angeles Psych-pop group American Royalty, Miami’s very own skated punk antagonists Jacuzzi Boys, and former HUF creative director turned blues brother Hanni El Khatib performed free shows on the deck in support of the event. All strikingly diverse, much like the Jansport x Benny Gold collaboration, made a harmonizing union at the chapel section of the Verandah deck. The congregation of skater rats and patronizing prepsters in attendance made a likable engagement in the pit as “hell yeahs” and high-fives were in motion at beginning and end of each performance.
American Royalty started the off the chain of performances, triggering “hey girl” pop melodies and energetic vocals that the riot of shouting attractive participants in the crowd took by surprise. Ironically, this particular band broke away from Queen Mary’s tradition of delicacy and consideration for guest by doing the opposite;bringing mutiny to any naysayer who thought otherwise about their unconventional approach to crowd pleasing. Immediately after the cheering of fans were plausibly condoning the band as a stand out of the night, American Royalty made way for Jacuzzi Boys .Already making highly anticipated talk by the vodka-cooler earlier in the night, Jacuzzi Boys immortalized the high deal of screams,heavy drumming, and plank instigating rhythms that soon came after. Class became fickle as the crowd moved around boisterously in front of the chapel where the bands performed on the deck like voodoo wedding.
Like a 3 peat assist to a winning shot, Hanni El Khatib scored high with the benched spectators exhausted from Jacuzzi Boys.Ending the night cool and sophisticated, Hanni regenerated Queen Mary’s noir essence with a humble, but bold performance that played like a soundtrack for the American working man. The audience of opportunists became quiet as the rough and sensitive crooning of Hanni displayed a vulnerability that comes with being passionate about what one does.In comparison to legendary Los Angeles venues like The El Rey and The Fonda, The Queen Mary became a showcase that proved highly credible as an iconic music venue after the performances given that night. Most importantly, the launch party was a celebration dedicated to people who value hard work and individuality that preserve the continuing mantra that has charmed Long Beach for many years.