Downtown Cabaret Theatre, in Bridgeport, CT sits in a distinct undergoing massive revitalization. The Main Stage series offer a subscription series, full of both stage theater shows as well as many tribute acts. They have a BYOB (bring your own adult beverage – and take out meals.) It is an interesting intimate setup, with a community that appears culturally vibrant, using its theater to promote community revitalization. 
   Last night they hosted California Surf. I had sort of planned to go. Late in the week I saw an addition to the regular guys, and got my seats. Christian Love. Ya, I went to see “the kid” whose image is on the Sunflower album, as a toddler, next to his dad, and later for many years in the Touring Beach Boys Band. And it wasn’t about his father last night. It was all about Christian, singing many of his father’s lyrics, next to Beach Boys’ band members, incredibly talented musicians, who brought so much to the BB bounty of sound. 
   Christian’s leads opened and closed the show…and the setlist… 
-California Girls – Christian on lead 
-Dance, Dance, Dance – Billy Hinche and Bobby Figueroa 
-Do you wanna Dance? – Bobby – Billy 
-Do it Again – Christian 
-Darlin’ – Adrian Baker 
-Don’t Worry Baby – Adrian 
-I Can Hear Music – Adrian 
-Then I Kissed Her – of course, Christian 
-Surfer Girl – entire group 
-Sea Cruise – smiling and “ageless” Ed Carter, looks exactly the same as when he became involved in the late 1960’s as a rocking hot guitarist. He played a wailing bass last night…lots of fun and maybe less well known work… 
-Little GTO – Bobby Figueroa – another singing drummer, once an aspiring baseball player, brought in to back Dennis Wilson, circa 1974. Gifted, beyond words. Also an actor, as recounted by music director and MC Billy Hinsche. Even guest acting spots on GH! My favorite soap! And working on a version of BB music en espanol! Love it! 
-4-0-9 – Christian 
-Shut Down – Christian 
-Little Deuce Coupe – Ed Carter 
-I Get Around – Adrian 
-Caroline No – Christian – solo. Billy commented the vocal similarities to “uncle Brian” (a cousin, not a real uncle, but deferentially used as a term of respect.) I find his voice more akin to Carl’s but reasonable minds can differ. Billy told the audience it was Brian’s first solo release, although included on Pet Sounds as the closer on side B. 
-Bobby did the amazing percussion, just enough…allowing Christian’s voice and the song be the star. 
-Sherry – OMG Adrian’s Four Seasons falsetto. I thought of my late dear girlfriend, Eleanor who loved The Four Seasons and The Jersey Boys. Tribute. His voice sounded not a day over 20. From the UK! The crowd went crazy with Sherry. 
-Wipe Out – there is an old YouTube from an old 4th of July DC (Washington) with Billy donning the regalia cap and sunglasses to do the Fat Boys schtick, and it was a gas! Find it for a yuk! My kids loved the Fat Boys, and I loved the BB’s so when the Still Crusin’ cassette was flipped over in the soccer van, my boys took over! Wipin’ Out, indeed! 
-California Dreamin’ – Adrian 
-Sail on Sailor – this one song – worth the price of admission. Holland. Released twice, in 1973 and 1975, the lead has been done by Brian Wilson, Carl, Billy Hinsche, Blondie Chaplin with Ricky Fataar, John Cowsill, and on the soundtrack of Martin Scorcese’s The Departed. And the late Ray Charles at the 25th anniversary in Hawaii. The great Bobby Figueroa on lead! 
-God Only Knows – Adrian – and under Carl’s “blue lights.” 
-Sloop John B – Bobby Figueroa – great Carter bass! 
-Wouldn’t it be Nice – Adrian 
-Help Me Rhonda – Ed Carter! Just awesome!  and Billy’s fantastic key work! Among the best in BB’s live corpus! 
-Kokomo – Billy 
-Good Vibrations – Adrian 
-Surfin’ USA – Christian – Adrian co-lead 
-Encore – second show 
-Barbara Ann – group 
-Fun, Fun, Fun – Christian – Adrian shared lead 
   Post both shows, they went to the lobby for photo ops, autographs, and just to chat. There were girls “lining up” for Christian. 
   The BB’s can’t be everywhere. Brian Wilson can’t be everywhere. California Surf Inc. does some deep cuts, from the early years and the early activist 70’s when the touring focus was the college and university community, reseeding the fan base. These guys should not be missed. Their musicianship is sharp; the classic 5-6 guy live band standard that embodies rock. No frills. Just flat out rock and roll. I went to see the kid who zapped Caroline No, composed before he was born, and he is his own man, bringing his own touch, spellbinding the audience. 
   None of those guys are defined by the BB’s, and there isn’t enough space on any stage to fit them all. But, when these guys come to a place where you can get there on “a tank of gas” by all means, make the effort. They will make you feel 15, again and that is always worth the trip! 
   Thanks for that great double-header of BB (and other music!) 

If you love Beach Boys’ music, you won’t want to miss seeing California Surf, Inc. at The Talent Factory in Nevada.
Coming up Sunday, June 10, this five-man group that plays the songs of the famous Beach Boys, will be in Nevada for the last performance of a “mini run” of shows they are doing in both Iowa and Michigan.
“Because it’s the last stop on this tour, we’ll be all warmed up for it,” said band member Randell Kirsch, who does bass and vocals. “That (the last) show is always extra fun, because we’re appreciating the fact that here we are with our friends, playing the music we love.”
   Kirsch, like the other members of California Surf, Inc., played with the Beach Boys periodically for over four decades. He even had a full time gig with the group for 11 years. He said it was 1983 when he had his first opportunity with them. “My college band friends and I had been backing up Mike Love,” he said, noting that they had a college band and Love, a co-founder of the Beach Boys, had heard them play. “I started going on the road with him for his solo album, ‘Looking Back with Love.’”
California Surf, Inc.’s agent, Cord G. Coslor, said Bobby Figueroa, who does drums and vocals, put this group together in 2011. In addition to Figueroa and Kirsch, the group includes Ed Carter, guitar and vocals; Sterling Smith, keyboard and vocals; and Probyn Gregory, guitar and vocals.
When asked about a little fun fact on each band member, Kirsch was happy to oblige. “Ed,” he said, “is a crack up. He used to sneak Brian Wilson out of the compound where they were recording … so Brian could get Coca Cola and cigarettes,” neither of which he was supposed to have.
   Sterling, Kirsch said, is a master of puns. “He can turn any sentence into word play.”
   “Bobby, he’s a prankster. You’ll see, he’ll be cracking the audience up.”
   Before he could get to something about Probyn, we asked what the others would say about him. “Well, they love to call me Ran-DELL.” he said, putting the emphasis on the ‘dell,’ which is different from most spellings of the name. “They’d also call me a punster, as well as the world’s tallest midget.” At 6 feet, 6 inches, Kirsch said he likes to tell people his height is 3 feet, 42 inches.
   Anyway, the members have fun, both with each other and with their audiences.
   “We really enjoy what we’re doing, and I think people are at the shows because they enjoy the Beach Boys’ music… We are fans of it as well, so we (the audience and performers) share that (love of music). The records never get old to us,” Kirsch said.
   The songs, Kirsch continued, “are really the star of the show, and we present them as best we can.” And they love it, he said, when the audience gets into the music by singing along, clapping their hands or moving to the music.
   As for Iowa, California Surf Inc. has never performed in Iowa, but all its members have performed in Iowa at times with the Beach Boys. “We love Iowa,” Kirsch said. “The heartland! Everybody loves California, but Iowa … I have a soft spot in my heart for Iowa as a friend of mine, Steve Morris, who used to open shows for the Beach Boys, lives there.” He also said they all have loved coming to the Iowa State Fair. “It’s a gas.”
  Coslor said, in his opinion, those who attend this show will appreciate the vast catalogue of Beach Boys’ hits that will be performed. “There are no recorded tracks or vocals in the show. All five of the guys play an instrument and sing vocals. All the classic hit songs are performed, and every Beach Boys’ era is represented in the setlist,” he said. He added that audience members will hear some great stories from the road, too. “I think following the show, the audience will appreciate how friendly and ‘down to earth’ all the guys are.”