By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
Another Fourth of July, another glorious parade day in Pacific Palisades.
However, organizers of the annual culminating Independence Day concert and fireworks display, Palisades Rocks the Fourth, changed their tune this year, holding the event at Palisades Charter High School’s baseball field instead of its football stadium where renovation started last week.
Such is the popularity of the event: There were more bands than ever on the 2017 bill, which launched earlier at 4 p.m. to get them all on stage.
After a slew of performances, from the Alex Dale-directed Pali High Band to Tom Farrell’s Palisades All-Stars, local blues band The Terraplanes warmed up the crowd for headliners High Tide Rolling Review, featuring Palisadian Adam Topol (whose day job is drumming for singer Jack Johnson).
The Terraplanes performed genre classics such as Taj Mahal’s “She Caught the Katy (And Left Me a Mule to Ride),” popularized by The Blues Brothers in their eponymous 1980 film, ending with another Blues Brothers-cover song, Mel London’s “Messin’ With the Kid.”
More accessible than previous years’ headliners, High Tide Rolling Review delivered danceable covers, from the slinky urban soul of the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” to the cheerleader pop-punk vibe of the Go-Go’s “We’ve Got the Beat.”
By the time they closed their hour with a smoking rendition of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” hundreds of movers and hip-shakers were up dancing—a larger crowd than in previous years.
Among them, West Hills mother Sarah Johnson bounced around with 21-month-old daughter Avery to High Tide’s rendition of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”
“My friend Jolie has been coming for three or four years,” Johnson said of how she found the event.
Post-performance, High Tide lead singer Jillian Jensen, a Massachusetts transplant from Glassell Park, shared with the Palisadian-Post how her band pulled off a tight performance with only one day of rehearsal in Venice.
She credited Topol for crafting the electric set list, which opened with a bouncy, head-bobbin’ bang with Toots and the Maytals’ “54-46 Was My Number” and continued with another reggae standard, Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come.”
“They wanted something different,” said Jensen, who sang with Marcele Berger. “It’s kinda cool. I learned these songs that I didn’t know before.”
Then members from all of the night’s bands convened to close with “This Land is Your Land,” the durable 77-year-old Woody Guthrie anthem which even young tweens in the crowd were seen mouthing the lyrics to.
For the first time, attendees faced west to watch the culminating fireworks accompanied, as is tradition, by pre-recorded music spanning from the John Philip Sousa march “The Stars and Stripes Forever” to James Brown’s 1985 hit “Living in America.” The grand display did not fail to dazzle with a crackling, colorful illumination of the Palisades sky.