Concertgoers on Friday wore smiles and not masks.
Proof of vaccination for Covid-19 was required for entry at the T-Bar Social Club in June Lake. The Nomads, a band from the north shore of Lake Tahoe, performed for the first time in 14 months. Singer “Rock” Kandy Xander congratulated the crowd for being a part of history.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Xander told the paid audience of 35, in compliance with state social-distancing guidelines.
Attendees provided either their vaccination cards or their “digital health wallet,” a newly created app by Bindle Systems. It was the first time the protocol was required and used for a concert in North America and perhaps the world, T-Bar co-owner Jamie Schectman said.
The first person to use the Bindle app was Sherry Rogers of South Lake Tahoe.
The vaccination policy created a stir on social media. After it was reported in the Mammoth Times newspaper, its Facebook page was inundated with comments. Schectman was called a communist, anti-American and discriminatory, and some called for a boycott.
“I am pretty certain those people don’t go there in the first place,” Schectman said. “Most concertgoers will want to be vaccinated if that’s what it takes to go to a show.”
However, Facebook likes and hearts outnumbered angry emojis 9-1 before the administrator removed the story because of the vitriolic comments.
Schectman created the policy after surveying 60 bands that had played at the T Bar since it opened three years ago.
The building in June Lake’s downtown area is down the hill from the Big Rock Resort and next door to Ernie’s Tackle and Ski Shop. June Pie currently serves pizza out two windows to patrons on the sidewalk. Around-the-clock renovation continues with a downstairs beer garden deck and an upstairs restaurant — Balanced Rock Grill and Cantina, which will serve steak, seafood and Mexican food. The work scheduled to be completed by midsummer. The downstairs concert area has a sunken, square dance floor surrounded by tables and a bar.
The mood of the May 7 show was festive.
“It’s so nice not to wear a mask. I’m sick of all of it,” said Taral Garcia of Mammoth Lakes.
Leslie Redman of June Lake is an avid concertgoer who has traveled to Los Angeles and Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado to attend shows. The last one she attended – Dr. Dog – was February 2020.
“It’s been a rough year,” she said.
Xander and her band were as enthused as the crowd.
“After 14 months of not being able to do live music, we felt energized performing to a small intimate crowd of like-minded rock fans,” she told Tahoe Onstage after the show. “It was great to actually see people’s faces, too. My view from the stage was smiles galore and I felt an incredible synergy with everyone in the room.”
Between songs drummer Jeff Martin proved that he not only is proficient with the sticks but also has quite a shtick, improvising jokes.
After a performance of hard rock songs made famous by Pat Benatar, Deep Purple, Def Leppard and more, Martin screamed a concluding explanation mark: “Take that Covid-19!”
But the night was hardly finished. The Nomads were called back four times for encores.
“For a town of 600, June Lake likes to punch above its weight,” Schectman said.