Pepper – Belly Up Tavern, Solano Beach

Concert review by Candace Coy

Photography by Denis Sunga

P3It was a gorgeous night in Salono Beach, CA.  The sea breeze was carrying in the salty smell of the ocean and the night air was warm with enthusiasm and excitement. Walking up to the Belly Up Tavern, I could see the long line of devoted fans waiting to get to their island groove on with Pepper. As I walked in the door and through the growing crowd of the sold out show, I grabbed a seat and waited for the show to begin.

As the floor filled up from the front of the stage to the back of the room, we all watched with anticipation as the stagehands set up microphones, guitars and bongos. With the flickering of the lights; the show began. Kaleo Wassman, Brett Bollinger and Yesod Williams took the stage, as their fans were pounding on it with their fists egging the band on to start the show with a bang. Rising to the occasion, Pepper started with Give It Up and give it up they did! They seemed to have traded in their pop/ punk version for a smoother more reggae rendition.  It was perfect. The crowd was jumping up and down with joy and singing along to every word. You could feel the energy of the crowd as they moved with the music. The next song they performed was Trade Winds. Again, not disappointed! The way they stage was set up; the lucky few in the front were able to reach out and high five either Kaleo Wassman or Brett Bollinger in between their sets. Pepper seemed to be very comfortable and at home on stage. They talked about their first concert experience and even how they enjoy personal time in the shower. I wonder if they enjoy beautiful sunsets and long romantic walks on the beach…..

P1After a few more songs, they left the stage for a quick intermission. While the stage was being re-arranged and the drum set was being put together, the crowd began to chant “Pepper, Pepper” in unison. After a quick wardrobe change they re-emerged sans T-shirts.  If that wasn’t enough to pique interest, they even played four new songs off their up and coming album that is set to be released in July. If the crowd’s eager acceptance of those new songs is any indication of its success, then Pepper better be ready. During the second half of the show, they started to have a few technical difficulties. At one point their microphones cut out, leaving the crowd to finish a few lyrics, which they enthusiastically obliged.

They closed up the show with The Office. The fans seemed delighted as they swayed to the beat of their final song. Overall, it was an amazing show. It was intimate, exciting and very  entertaining. If you enjoy great music and a good time, then this band is for you!

To get more information on their forthcoming album which drops July 16th, go to www.pepperlive.tumblr.com. Also try their social medias pages which are found at Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Instagram and Flickr.

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