Pepper spices Lake Tahoe with upbeat concert

Bret Bollinger plays bass for Pepper, which rocked MontBleu on Sunday.
Photos by Pheonix Gruneich / Tahoe Onstage

When concertgoers are hungry for live music, it is nice to be spoiled by three fantastic acts. Pepper, J Boog and Vana Liya played for an enthusiastic, packed MontBleu Showroom on Sunday.

Headliners Pepper — Kaleo Wassman, vocals and guitar; Bret Bollinger, vocals and bass; and drummer Yesod Williams — formed in Hawaii in 1996. The crowd ate up everything they dished out.

Crowd participation is such a pleasure at a Pepper show and there’s never a shortage of ladies. Girls and guys were dancing like no one was watching and just letting go. They introduced a new member and lovingly joked that it “took them 13 months to have a kid and they named him Jeff.” Jeff Nisen plays rhythm guitar, keys and contributed to back up vocals. He runs Kona Town Recording Studios in Redondo Beach.

Pepper delivered the hits: “Give it Up,” “Warning,” “Sugar,” “Bring me Along,” “Too Much,” “Ashes,” “B.O.O.T.” and more. The crowd happily sang along to every word. It was nice for them to play some newer stuff off the 2019 album “Local Motion.”

The audience loved the evening so much it did not want the time to end, but hearing all conversations exiting the show and in the parking lot most agreed it was “such a good show.”

Kaleo Wassman and Bret Bollinger played in sunglasses the entire show but at the end of the evening Wassman took his shades off to express his love to the fans and thanked a ton of people, pointing to them and making eye contact so you knew he meant it. He must have said it at least 50 times. Lots of love was exchanged at this show and who knows maybe even babies were made.

Vana Liva and Kaleo Wassman go “Round & Round.”

First up was the lovely Vana Liya and her talented band, which laid down the foundation for a great night of live music. Her real name Nirvana Goberdhan and she grew up east of New York. She signed with Pepper’s “Law Records” in early 2018 becoming their first female and first solo artist, her debut album is scheduled for release September of this year. Kaleo Wassman of Pepper came out to join her on “Round & Round” her latest single featuring the Pepper singer.

She had a sweet voice that filled the room. She thanked the crowd for coming early to her first Tahoe show.

Up next was J Boog to continue the beautiful evening full of dancing and positivity. The band was stellar, the crowd was happy to sing along. Stupendous harmonies and J-Boog knows how to serenade an audience. They laid down the foundation for a great night of live music.

Safety guidelines were in place as MontBleu Resort Casino Spa and Late-Nite Productions hosted the show. Late-Nite Productions gave away a ton of swag from the brand Cookiesas well as more than 100 tickets to the next show.

Pheonix Gruneich

J Boog sprinkles R&B into his reggae.

ABOUT Pheonix Gruneich

Pheonix Gruneich
Photojournalist Pheonix Gruneich is a native of Southern California where her love of music began. She moved to Tahoe when she was 16. She now resides in the Carson Valley. She is a lover of arts and, most of all, live music!

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