Shakey Graves and Lauren Ruth Ward played their hearts out to an adoring sold out Observatory North Park audience on Sunday, June 24th.

As the early crowd filled in to what was going to turn in to one of the best shows the Observatory North Park has had this summer, Lauren Ruth Ward and her band took the stage discreetly. The entire group’s outfits and musical style brought back memories the legendary and groovy days of Woodstock with a beachy vibe. She rolled out the smooth and sultry track “Staff Only,” the opening track off her fantastic debut album, Well, Hell, which had the crowd turning heads immediately.

Her backing band played in sync, smiling and trading riffs throughout the set. This allowed Ward to charm the crowd with her energetic attitude, dance moves, and of course, her amazing voice. By the time the band finished, she had won the San Diego crowd over, and locals should be on the lookout for this up-and-coming artist next time she returns to town.

Shakey Graves has made a name for himself with his howling, foot-stomping, and heart-felt folk songs that have gained him a loyal worldwide following. But after multiple albums and EPs, he took a left turn and dabbled into a more spacious, indie, and even psychedelic sound for the new album Can’t Wake Up. The stage reflected his change in aesthetic complete with dark city buildings, dimly lit clouds, and vintage televisions projecting vivid imagery.

As he stirred the crowd into a fervor with the opening track “Word Of Mouth,” he easily kept the crowd in the palm of his hand throughout the night. He mixed solo duties with a full band set, giving the crowd an opportunity to truly appreciate where he started and what he is capable of producing. The band finished the night on “Dearly Departed”  with some crowd help, who all sang passionately to every lyric of the song. Staying true to his title as a true Texas gentleman, he waved his good-byes, thanked the crowd, and wished San Diego a safe night.

Photos by: Sylvia Borgo
Review by: Max Sanchez