Snakebit Drifters with Alejandro Pareja
April 9, 2011
La Cave, Costa Mesa
After circumventing the DUI checkpoint on Newport Blvd. and 17th St., I pulled into a parking space at La Cave. As I walked in, I expected to see the dinner crowd making their exit, but every last table in the front room still hosted white linen, tableware, wine glasses, and full parties of dining patrons standing their ground against the ambush of young Costa Mesa locals who had come to do two things: hear the insanely fast tunes of Snakebit Drifters, and get wasted with a huge crowd of buddies.
Instead of following the traditional three-band lineup, the three members of Snakebit decided to host a marathon set, split into two parts. For the initial act, Snakebit Drifters pulled the crowd into their psychobilly sound. One by one, another face from the crowd would squeeze their way into a crevasse of the snug, wood-panel stage, dominated by Kevin Yoches on drums, Robin San Jose and his massive upright bass, and lead singer, Tim Willis, with his Gretsch guitar in hand. The most notable moment of the guest performances was watching Mike Brophy, lead singer of local band, the Pricks, hold down a steady freestyle rap to a toned-down version of Sublime's, "April 29th, 1992."
Snakebit Drifters teased the crowd for a while, and then decided to take a break before their fingers started to bleed. Relieving the band during intermission was Alejandro Pareja, of Alejandro's Awesome Surf Band. He picked up Willis' guitar, making it sing with sorrow, and released fast surf melodies that kept the crowd rowdy. It would make Dick Dale proud.
As Snakebit returned for their second performance, the crowd huddled back onto the dance floor, secreting sweat as they threw their heads and their hands and their bodies around vigorously to the fast beat generating from the stage. At times, the music would get sloppy because of the speed, but it never fell apart. Precision did not seem to be the aim of the trio, and the occasional slip-up only added to the madness of the audience.
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In the end, the crowd began to thin, filing out the front door to be greeted by a row of cabs. The remaining fans lingered in the parking lot, still ready to party. Down in "the cave," broken bottles and shattered glasses covered the dining room, music room, bathrooms and hallways. Once thing is for sure--La Cave and its attendees definitely got Snakebit.
The crowd: Young Costa Mesa local deviants, cute chicks and action-sports industry types.
Overheard: "I bought your boy a drink ,and now he wants to start a fight!"
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