The Central: Social and Pleasure Club – Santa Monica, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
On President’s Day eve; Concert Confessions truly had sea to shining sea covered. While the incredible Jay Porks was being covered in large amounts of blood and semen in Brooklyn; I was 14 blocks east of the ocean taking my second trip with Cubensis. Playing two sets every Sunday at The Central: Social and Pleasure Club for the low, low price of two Abe’s (or ten Georges, perhaps a Hamilton or even five Tom’s) there was no way I was going to miss this event knowing Monday would be cubical free. So with a wallet full of dead Presidents thirsty for $4 micro-brews, I once again found myself deep in the Cubensis-zone.
Set I clocked in at a little over an hour and hit the senses of the over-capacity club hard. After paying tribute to the holiday weekend with the opening “U.S. Blues” the band put some serious boogie down on a cover of Bob Marley’s “Stir It Up.” Guitarist/Vocalist Nate LaPointe lead the group through a wicked version of “Me and My Uncle>Big River” that warmed up the chilly basement club. Other first set highlights included dedicating “Easy to Love You” to a fan who had just turned 21 (and thus no longer had to sneak into shows that are not all ages) and a cover of the Jimmy Cliff classic “The Harder They Come.” Yet the ultimate highlight of the first set was the closing number – “Shakedown Street.” Clocking in at just less than twenty minutes multiple members stretched musical exploration to the max as they jammed into the unknown.
After kicking II off with a solid “Passenger” the songs began to take a backseat to the jams. You know you are witnessing a great jam band show when the songs almost feel more like bus stops on a long journey versus a typical concert. After solid takes on “Althea” and “Tough Mama”, the bands journey went a little something like “Samson and Delilah>Drums>Space>Viola Lee Blues.” I may be missing a song in that run, but regardless the band went off to a rabid fan base. The set ending “The Other One>Friend of The Devil” simply continued the good vibe and energy felt within the room. The night wrapped with bassist Larry Ryan handling vocal duties on “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” sending many fans back to the bar for a celebratory drink with the band.
There is no doubt Cubensis can create some serious musical magic upon the stage. With a gig every Sunday at The Central, Dead fans have no excuse to miss a truly great experience.