On the heels of its sold-out May celebration of noted film music label Varese Sarabande Records, the Golden State Pops Orchestra – which focuses on live concert performances of film music – will return to the Warner Grand on June 15 to perform the music of Star Wars, the same iconic canon the city’s only year-round pops orchestra tackled during its inaugural performance 11 years ago.
With founding conductor Steven Allen Fox at the helm, the 50-plus member GSPO will focus not just on the famous themes of the original Star Wars trilogy, but also its prequels and spinoffs such as video games and cartoons.
“The idea of developing a concert that represents Star Wars beyond the films was intriguing to us,” Fox says. “We knew that to make this concert truly represent the universe of Star Wars, we needed to hit everything we could.”
Still, the program’s highlights are sure to include the John Williams-scored “Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” and main title theme, which are instantly recognizable to even casual fans of the Star Wars franchise. Accordingly, Allen – who has been a disciple of Williams since he heard the score to Steven Spielberg‘s 1991 fantasy Hook as a teenager – is excited about the GSPO’s return to its intergalactic roots.
“John Williams is arguably the best film composer ever, and Star Wars is one of the best scores ever,” Fox says.
During the fifth annual Cars and Stripes Forever! event on June 28, booming fireworks won’t be the only noises heard along the L.A. Waterfront. That night, Southern California-based Rumble King, who describes their sound as “New Orleans rockabilly,” will be among the acts providing the evening’s soundtrack – the non-explosive portion, at least.
This won’t be Rumble King’s first time playing the Port of Los Angeles, as two years ago, the group – which has shared the stage with such notables as B.B. King, Chuck Berry and James Brown over its 17-year history – performed as part of the Summer Concerts on the Waterfront outdoor concert series.
Vocalist and tenor saxophonist Shannon Scott Ramirez says the band is looking forward to making its Pedro return, especially considering the classic car-theme of Cars and Stripes Forever! “I think in every generation, you have certain kinds of people with old souls, and when growing up, you find people that have the same interests who seem drawn to one another,” he says. “That’s how Rumble King basically formed – old cars, old music and old souls.”
Ramirez is one of five members of Rumble King; the other members play baritone saxophone, piano, upright bass and drums, creating a “juke joint” sound – or, as Ramirez calls it, “rock n’ roll with no guitar” – that recalls the likes of Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Last year, Rumble King – which will also perform at this month’s Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach, another of the 50-100 gigs Ramirez says the group will play this year – filmed an impressive music video/short film for their song “I Still Adore You” (tinyurl.com/RumbleKingVideo), which Ramirez says has earned recognition at independent film festivals. Expect to hear that track performed live at Cars and Stripes Forever!, an event that seems tailor-made for a band like Rumble King.
“We all own rides and bikes and love the old soul vibe,” Ramirez says. “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” spt
The Golden State Pops Orchestra’s “Music From The Star Wars Universe” takes place at the Warner Grand (478 W 6th St) at 8 p.m. on June 15. Tickets, which range from $22.50 to $60, can be purchased at tinyurl.com/StarWarsGSPO.
“Cars and Stripes Forever!” takes place from 5-10 p.m. on June 28 at Harbor Blvd. and the Vincent Thomas Bridge. Admission is free. (Rumble King’s set time was undetermined at press time.)