If there was ever a show pumped full of positive energy the show dubbed “Sara and Roger’s 5th Anniversary” at The Casbah on Monday sure as hell was it. If you want to read the couple’s incredibly sweet and rocking love story check it out here or here. This kind of thing just has to make you smile.
To commemorate five years since they wed at the legendary venue, the club put together a line-up of great San Diego acts. Roger’s own band, Listening to Rocks, entertained in the Atari Lounge in between Vanja James, Wendy Bailey and True Stories, and Get Back Loretta rocking the main stage.
This was my first introduction to Vanja James and I was immediately struck by her voice. Of course, since it was just her and a guitar there wasn’t much to interfere with the varying power and frailty of her vocals. There was an endearing vulnerability to both the set and the starkness of a solo chick rocker pouring it out in neon pink tights. I’d gladly see her again and hope she succeeds in putting a band together. And as well as having talent, she’s also freakin’ adorable. “Beautiful Mess” was a sweet ending to her brief performance.
Next up was Wendy Bailey and her band True Stories. Awww, Wendy, I have such a girl crush on her. On the way down to the show my cohorts and I were trying to put a description to her music genre. We came up with something along the lines of “girl-power-rock-but-not-whiney-like-Avril-Lavigne.” Her energy along with the seasoned sound of her band makes for a great time. Intriguing originals and creative covers. I dig it. One of my favorites is sung by guitarist, Bart Mendoza: “You Still Take My Breath Away.” Plus, Wendy is a super sweet, gracious chick and always tells me about great cocktails when I see her. And I always love a sweaty post-performance hug!
Finishing up the night was Get Back Loretta. I’ve had them in super heavy rotation for about a month now and was stoked to see them live. Their set was bitchen. Just bitchen. A wide range of songs, including my favorite “Girlface” (dedicated oh-so-romantically to Sara and Roger) was well paced with softer tunes and jamming rock songs. Singer, Steven Bradford, brought an almost theatrical quality to his high-energy performance and was perfectly balanced with the more mellow (at times) vocals of Kevin Martin on keyboard [side note: Kevin’s solo project is good stuff too and features lots of San Diego talents.] In addition to a lengthy set of originals, covers of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” and The Beatles’ “Eleanor Ribgy” were just as delightful. GBL’s brand of pop-tinged rock is crowd friendly, well-crafted, and the audience was fully enthralled. Not that I noticed too much whilst dancing my face off.
Sounds to Sample from Get Back Loretta: