The Casbah August 11th 2013

By: Amanda Martinek

Even on a Sunday night with the promise of an early next morning, San Diegians came out to their favorite venue-by-the-airport and took a journey back to a much groovier time. The bands on the bill had been journeying down the coast on the last leg of their California tour and we were lucky enough to have them stop at the Casbah.

I arrived in the middle of the opening band, a solo project of Jonathan Rado of the band Foxygen, but wish I hadn’t missed a single track. Decked out in paisley, head scarves, tight pants, and tambourines, this band was definitely vibey. The group announced their last song and Jonathan began to tell us about a recurring dream he has once a month with aliens in a VW bug. He was then urged by the lovely lady vocalist to show the crowd his phone background, which indeed had a picture of aliens in a VW bug. And then, of course, their last song was about his recurring dream with aliens in a VW Bug. Far out.

Jessica Pratt was next. A tiny girl with a cute floral long sleeved dress, black blazer, and bangs covering her face, she didn’t look up the entire set. She actually didn’t seem to move a muscle other than her fingers, as she fluidly strummed her guitar. But this girl, who seemed so shy, had a VOICE so distinct and beautiful, soft yet so powerful. In a mystical way, she channeled Stevie Nicks or Carole King or other lady songbirds of the past. She seems like one of those people who are just born an old soul. Although not too exciting to watch, closing your eyes and listening was enough to take you back to a golden time you’ve only ever heard about or seen in old photographs. You were transported to the past, and then she stopped singing, and then you were in the present again.

But not for long. White Fence was up next and people began to crawl from their corners, abandon their bar stools and suddenly the room was full. Tim Presley heads this music project along with three instrumentalists, who all had boyish haircuts and tight pants. Presley plays his guitar at chest-high level and oozes with style. Reminiscent of a young Mick Jagger, I begin to wonder if he’s British, but know he’s from LA. The songs blend from one to the next in a seamless jam, as people bop their heads and move their feet. The crowd seems lethargic yet fully engaged.  It is a Sunday. I am enjoying it so much and on my third beer, the set seems to end as quickly as it began.

With so many musicians relying on computers and technology to make their sounds these days, it was refreshing to see artists bringing back a pure and overlooked sound and style that so many have seem to forgotten.