Show Review: Alex’s Bar In Long Beach Celebrates 17 Years with Riverboat Gamblers & Throw Rag

Words & Photos by Greg Jacobs

Saturday, January 28, 2017 was the 17th anniversary of Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, CA.

On a personal note, I’ve been going to Alex’s for 15 of these 17 years. Upon moving to Long Beach from San Diego it was really nice to find a bar like Alex’s, a bar that reminds me so much of The Casbah back in San Diego – great people, great bands and a great, sweaty rock club. Tonight was no exception.

Being jostled around by the hot, sweaty, sold out crowd was to be expected. Throw Rag headlined the anniversary party with their high energy, dirty, bluesy, punk ‘n’ roll swagger. These guys are desert PIRATES from the Salton Sea. I’m not talking Pirates of the Caribbean pirates, I’m talking “kick your ass and take your shit” pirates, and they enjoy every minute of it. Captain Sean Wheeler (vocals) commands your attention, combining the energy of Iggy with the sleaze of Lux Interior on stage. When the crowd wasn’t dancing, they were singing along with Sean on songs like “Space Hump” and “Stink Bug.”

Riverboat Gamblers were the middle band tonight and they did not disappoint. If you’ve seen them, you know what I’m talking about. The Gamblers step on stage and immediately raise the energy level in the venue. They play fast and tight and always leave you wanting more. Singer Mike Wiebe spent equal amounts of time on stage and ON the audience. Mike’s stage antics in the past have resulted in broken bones and even a collapsed lung that sidelined him for a few months. The Gamblers are a high energy punk rock band with soaring melodies and played a great set spanning their six album career. Highlights were: “True Crime,” “Ice Water,” “Don’t Bury Me” and the show closer, “The Art of Getting F*cked.”

My apologies to the first band of the night. I missed you. Knowing that Alex tapped you to play his anniversary party, I’m sure you were great.

Happy anniversary Alex’s Bar!

Riverboat Gamblers

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Throw Rag

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