Gotta Believe: Get Back Loretta, Wendy Bailey and True Stories, & Vanja James at The Casbah

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:

“Breaking Down”


“Gotta Believe”


About Jen Van Tieghem

There aren’t many things I love more than music. While life spins away at a rapid beat I’ve realized it’s important to spend it doing what I love – enjoying music in San Diego. I have a handful of favorite venues, a heart full of favorite bands, and decided to write about it.

6 comments on “Gotta Believe: Get Back Loretta, Wendy Bailey and True Stories, & Vanja James at The Casbah

  1. […] Gotta Believe: Get Back Loretta, Wendy Bailey and True Stories, & Vanja James at The Casbah: adorable opening artist with a tender voice followed by kick ass chick rock and a sweaty girl crush hug finished up by my song obsession going full tilt in person. Triple the fun and a romantic notion to celebrate. I danced until my legs hurt. […]


  2. […] or tweets. Even others come in the form of full length articles like this one from a friend and this one from a complete stranger (who I recently […]


  3. […] for GBL, I am beyond excited for this one. Last time I saw Get Back Loretta I gushed for days. Case in point. Their brand of catchy pop-rock ranges from soft and sweet to hard hitting danceable tune. […]


  4. […] 2/17: In celebration of a Sara and Roger, a really awesome couple Old Tiger headlines their anniversary party at The Casbah with Sundrop […]


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