Photos By: Carlo Aranda
By: Ty Velasquez
In the midst of the great Stormpocalypse of 2014, a brilliant light shone down on The Casbah in the form of the Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr/Chad Valley tour. Thursday had brought an unusual downpour to the sunny streets of San Diego. Though the sun-worshipping locals loved rain as much as a cold pomeranian, they were still aware of the consequences of missing such a show. Obviously, the event sold out. The usual suspects gathered at the Casbah that night. Groups of hipsters gathered in the red light of the lobby, I rushed past them late as usual to claim my place up front. The crowd had predicted my arrival as there was plenty of dancing space front and center and I gratefully stepped right in.
The touring incarnation of Chad Valley consisted of Hugo Manuel and a vivacious Latina by way of New York. Chad Valley is Manuel’s more solo-y project. He is also the main, multi-instrumentalist man behind the trop-pop outfit, Jonquil. Jonquil has six members and was founded from Hugo’s bedroom recordings.
The stage was brilliantly bathed in light. The performers both had electronic instruments, she a drum machine and he a keyboard. The keyboard was laced with a kaleidoscope of cords that the ginger singer used to loop his luxurious beats. They had three light beams poised between their machines, one of them eventually getting knocked down in the chorus of one of the rowdier songs.
My favorite thing about the set was how gorgeously they harmonized. Their voices melded together sweetly, mingling with the lush rhythm. The soundscapes Chad Valley creates are interesting in that they can easily go from dance party to bedroom. I don’t know about you, but those are my favorite places to be. Hugo’s achingly beautiful tenor has a richness that resonates through your body. This rejuvenating tone can ricochet from your ear canal straight to your feet to set them to dancing or burrow deep into your brain to lull you to sleep. Though the crowd’s feet were eventually drenched from the water that had seeped under our feet, we never stopped dancing. The next time they come to town I suggest you run, not walk to watch this band. Even if you have to brave the Fantastic Flood of The Casbah (my shoes are ruined).