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The Casbah, San Diego

May 26, 2007

I've just returned from The Casbah. The Casbah is only a few blocks from my home and is the <alleged> "happening" club in San Diego for indie rock music. It's been around for quite some time and boasts a long list of made bands that have graced the stage. Initially I was impressed with the club. It's intimate with a maximum capacity of 200+, has two bars, and has a long entry hallway that provides a partial view of landing airplanes at the San Diego airport.

The first band up this evening was Silverbird. They were OK. Folk-rock is how I would describe them, but I was playing billiards in the other room and I didn't give them a proper assessment.

Next up was Get Back Loretta. Kick ass would describe them accurately. So too does "best unknown band". They were young, fresh, enthusiastic and authentic. The lead singer and bassist was passionate and charismatic to an extent rarely seen. The drummer was a bad-ass. He kind of looks like a white Webster.

Last up was the main event. San Diego's sweetheart Dirty Sweet. This is when the evening took a turn for the worse. The small venue packed with prissy teenie-bopper preppy girls with ass-crowns, fancy-night-out-garb, and unfit shoes for a concert, who must have been drawn by the Dirty Sweet's general handsomeness. Now, full disclosure, I appreciate music and I believe showing appreciation for the band is important. I do not stand docilely by while a band rocks the house. It's important to respect the band by showing your enthusiasm for the music. For me this typically takes the form of quasi-head banging and exuberant bouncing. Bands are most often very appreciative of my enthusiasm because it's regularly infectious. Dirty Sweet did rock and I rocked with them for a short time. Nonetheless the docile cattle-like audience that consisted mostly of the aforementioned prissy and preppy looking young ladies and their hipster boyfriends were not fond of any general enthusiasm. Therefore I left early. It's difficult to enjoy a band when those around you don't understand that bands, especially hard driving rock bands, want to be shown your appreciation.

Dirty Sweet has a good sound. Very Southern Rock. Perhaps not the most original, but I'm sure the pretty young ladies they seem to intentionally court will carry them through to, at least, regional popularity if not beyond. Don't get me wrong, Dirty Sweet really did tear it up and I only caught part of their first set. I recognize the band was probably still just warming up. I think the band has talent even if the lead singer seems to wear eyeliner. I left early out of disgust for the band's audience who were appalled by any modicum of enthusiasm and The Casbah's staff who were equally ridiculous, which, I suspect, is an indication of just how un-happening the place actually is.  

In summary, The Casbah is not as nice a venue as I was led to believe. I liked the venue's intimacy, but I was very turned off by the general conservativeness of the place. It seems to be in identity crisis. On one hand it's positioned as the edgy hard rocking venue that Nirvana once played in the late eighties and on the other hand it had a largely preppy audience that freaked out when anyone got rhythmic with the music. In fact, a gaggle of attractive, prissy young ladies insisted that they didn't want any "hippy dancing" around them and heralded a bouncer at one point who mindlessly obeyed them to reign-in enthusiastic audience members. I'll give both the venue and band another chance, but my initial experience was not that positive However, Get Back Loretta is definitely worth catching. Sure, they're not as generally handsome as Dirty Sweet; so, you might not see as many prissy young ladies, but they were original and enthusiastic in a Modest Mouse sort of way.

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