July 25, 2013

Pepper ~ July 25, 2013 @ Playback Recording Studio

photo by p.dunkley

Because It’s Fun

I have to admit, I was never a big Pepper fan. I was too old (maturity wise) when they hit the scene. I am, however, a fan of Santa Barbara’s own 92.9 KjEE and of Playback Recording Studio. These two local businesses joined forces to bring Pepper to Santa Barbara to perform a private acoustic show for KjEE’s Summer Sessions.

Pepper, for those of you who may not know,  is a threesome consisting of Kaleo Wassman (vocals/guitar), Bret Bollinger (vocals/Bass), and Yesod Williams (drums). Hailing from Hawaii, Pepper is known for their reggae rock party anthems. The band has been touring aggressively and has not released an album in five years. Their most recent track, “F* Around,” is getting good radio play and a new album is due out in September.

When asked why bring Pepper to all the way to SB to perform a private show for only forty people, KjEE’s marketing director Stephen (“Blazer”) Meade responded, “Because it’s fun.” Yup, can’t argue with that kind of logic.

It was an odd scene. Pepper came out to a crowd of forty
photo by p.dunkley
Santa Barbarians sitting crossed legged on the stone floor of the small recording studio underneath what Bret called a “vegan chandelier” (wooden chandelier which look oddly a lot like antlers).  Kaleo quickly claimed the crowd looked like “a game of duck-duck goose on crack.” Despite the oddness of it all, they seemed open to the situation.

Pepper, photo by p.dunkley 
The first song was an acoustic version of “Give It Up.” Not a romantic song by far, but they held in giggles as they softly sung the lewd lyrics. This is how they won me over. They were funny, given the situation, and very humble. Kaleo frankly stated they didn’t understand what was going on here, then began telling tour stories. Bret told stories of their first visit to Isla Vista, na├»ve right off the Island. They even brought up their tour guy to do an impromptu comedy skit - known to some in the crowd, but not to me.  

Pepper proceeded to play five more songs, two of which were new. In between each song they continued to banter and play with the audience, asking questions, telling stories, ratting each other out. It was an experience to see the party band being so genuine and down to earth. If the party rock reggae didn’t win ya over, the charm of the Island boys did. Indeed, it was fun.   

July 16, 2013

Summer Shakedown 2013 ~ July 14, 2013 @ Haley Ashbury Studios

Get Down for the Sake of Getting Down

photo by p.dunkly
Imagine, if you will… a beautiful summer day, neon pop colors, surf loving vibes, vibrant giant jellyfishes, rocking new music, local commodities for sale, a family friendly environment… Now imagine this in your very own neighborhood, walking distance from the beach and downtown Santa Barbara.

If you went to the inaugural Summer Shakedown event in the Funk Zone this last weekend, you don’t have to imagine it, you experienced­­­­­ it.

The pop-up day festival was the conception of a few of
Jessica Puchli of NNSB, Kyran Million of KM Productions
Santa Barbara’s established and budding local music promoters. New Noise Santa Barbara, along with Kyran Million Productions and Haley Ashbury Studios, had a vision of a festival that featured more local artists in an outdoor setting that was a family friendly event. According to Kyran, “The day setting allows for more freedom for families to enjoy local businesses, vendors, and artists; giving Santa Barbara a reason to connect and a space to bring their families. This festival is not solely focused on the music or art, but people being engaged with each other. Hopefully, creating a sense of community.”

And create they did. Arts from Scraps, a local business that sells gently used items for art stuff, had a table where patrons could build “wish necklaces” – with little bottles to hold your wishes and gems, free for all to enjoy. Some of the local vendors slinging goods included McConnells Ice Cream, Figueroa Mountain Brewery, and Blaze n Blues BBQ.  Businesses that contributed to the event included KjEE, Arbor Skate Shop, and Eureka Burger. All this to build community.

But of course – what of the music? Kyran claimed the Summer Shakedown was created for people to get down for the sake of getting down and they made an effort to bring new music that’s happening right now to SB. Some local music, some not. Jared and The Mills are from Arizona, Torches are from LA. The Kinds, Indian Trading Furs, and Saint Anne’s Place – all from Santa Barbara baby.

Each band offered a different flavor. Need some indie rock – you got Torches. Need some bluesy rock jams with a strong female voice – The Kinds. Need some fast paced folk rock – Indian Trading Furs. Need some psychedelic rock – St. Anne’s Place.

The Kinds, photo by p.dunkley
There’s an opportunity to fall in love with something new. I fell in love with The Kinds (mostly because I have seen the other bands before, and The Kinds were new to me – I like new). The Kinds consists of Khasy Modisette (vocals, guitar), Nathan Modisette (bass), Anders Bergstrom (guitar/keys), and Erich Riedl (drums, owner Haley Ashbury Studios). Khasy’s voice is gripping, drawing you in and keeping you there until you are a bit uncomfortable. The music is rootsy, combining easy rock jams with a bit of southern soul and California ease. The Kinds have a sophisticated sound, that is both new and familiar. The future is bright for this band.

Imagined or not, the Summer Shakedown accomplished what the creators set out to do – it brought the Santa Barbara community together to enjoy new music, local vendors and artists, and each other. Cheers to getting down! 

The gentle giant

The SB Community