True or not, this town ascribes to the view that tourists want to hear cover songs. And while visitors are welcome, the final Live at Lakeview event of the summer will feature two South Shore bands that will play original songs for a crowd of friends in the neighborhood.
Last year, the City of Lake Tahoe celebrated its 50th anniversary at the final show of the summer.
The 51st Live at Lakeview concert on Thursday features South Lake Tahoe’s best-known band, Lavish Green, and the area’s best unknown group, the Wesley Orsolic Band.
As it concludes its fifth season, Live at Lakeview has established itself as South Shore’s favorite weekly summertime gathering. When Lakeview Commons opened in 2012, every politician from here to Sacramento turned out to make a speech and take credit for the new park with a granite amphitheater that faces Lake Tahoe. The development was funded by a state proposition passed by California voters. Last week, Live at Lakeview organizer Rob Giustina invited longtime City Councilman Tom Davis to speak in between sets of the 50th concert.
The show ended with the gypsy rock band Diego’s Umbrella inspiring the crowd to dance in a circle. The wild oscillations on the beach created a dustdevil that swilled into the sky.
“We’ve reached a critical mass,” Giustina said about the sustainable community event. It has become a staple, a tradition and an altruistic endeavor with its True Tahoe Support campaign (see box at end of story).
Lavish Green, which played its first show 21 years at a house party a couple of blocks from Lakeview Commons, appears every year at the weekly summertime get-together.
The beloved rock ‘n’ ska band delivered a tweet to its followers on Tuesday: “Great lil rehearsal last night — looking forward to bringing the Lavish Green experience back to the home land.”
While Lavish has produced the soundtrack of so many people’s lives here during the past two decades, Orsolic’s band is just getting started. However, Orsolic is hardly new to the music profession.
After early success in his native Croatia, Orsolic moved to the United States, studied at Berklee School of Music in Boston and turned down a record deal with Motown, which insisted it have the publishing rights to his songs. He landed in Tahoe and had a band, Raw Nature, before taking on work covering Top 40 songs.
He said the day he decided to stop playing covers, his mind became uncovered and new songs poured out of him. The tunes were so good, two famed musicians agreed to record them with Orsolic for his album, “Carry On.” Myron Dove is best known for playing with Santana. A former South Lake Tahoe resident, Roger Smith plays keyboard with Tower of Power, and anyone else he desires.
Never at a lack of confidence, Orsolic sent Smith his music and invited him to play on his funk-jazz-blues album.
“I was pleasantly surprised because you get a lot of stuff that comes across your desk, (and you go) ‘Next, next,’ ” Smith told Tahoe Onstage. “The songs were very well crafted, speaking as a producer and a songwriter, let alone his artistry as a vocalist and as a guitarist. He’s a monster guitarist. Wes, his music and his talent put him in that other box. The short-list box. So I called him up and said, ‘Hey, man. What do you want to do?’ ”
While Smith and Dove might someday join him onstage, Orsolic has assembled an outstanding band of local players. Liz Broscoe, a former Raw Nature member, plays drums, Lowell Wilson plays keyboard and the newest member, Reno resident Ruben Thompson, plays bass.
The Wesley Orsolic Band had several shows this summer, including gigs in Reno, Carson City, and locally at Divided Sky, Steamers Bar and Grill and the Beacon, a tourist-destination known for cover bands.
“It was amazing how people responded to the band,” said Orsolic, who played an almost entire set of original songs. “People ate it up.”
The Wesley Orsolic Band plays Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Lavish Green hits the stage at 6.
Don’t expect to hear cover songs such as “Sweet Home Alabama.” Instead, there will be tasty homegrown tunes played in the town’s backyard.
- Live at Lakeview’s “True Tahoe Support”
– 51 Free concerts on the beach
– Average of more than 2,500 bikes in bike valet per summer (12,500 bikes in bike valet in five years)
– Approximately $2,000 raised per summer in the bike valet for local nonprofit organizations (More than $10,000 in donations from bike valet operations in five years)
– More than $15,000 raised for local athletes in beer garden (Heavenly Ski and Snowboard Foundation and South Lake Tahoe BMX Association in five years)
Related story and video: Wesley Orsolic’s Tahoe-inspired album, band: LINK