Summer at Lake Tahoe is the best – especially on Thursdays at South Shore. The weekly tradition that is Live at Lakeview delivers its eighth season with a tsunami of music from national touring bands and a blend of homegrown talent.
Two bands play each week from 4:30 p.m. until sundown at Lakeview Commons, the waterfront park with a granite amphitheater and the exclamation point at the end of South Lake Tahoe’s redeveloped Harrison Avenue. An estimated 1,000 to 1,500 make the Thursday scene, which includes food and crafts concessions and a beer garden.
Live at Lakeview co-founder — and Barton baby — Leslie Schultz has moved to Music City, USA (Nashville, Tennessee), where she built an event production and management company, Vibe Direction. But she is back at Tahoe for the summer. Schultz’s work in the nation’s music hub has expanded her talent-buying acumen. For example, Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs, jazz superstars from New Orleans, will play at this summer’s Live at Lakeview.
“I was surprised we were able to get him,” Schultz said. “But he happened to be routing in the area and we made an offer.”
Mestizo Beat, an afro-Cuban band from Los Angeles, was introduced to Schultz by the talent buyer from Chinook Fest in Washington: “They have such an incredible sound. They are super fun and just really funky. We’re lucky the routing worked out on this one as well.”
In past years, Vokab Kompany had one of the greatest-attended shows, and the San Diego hip-hop/electronic funk band will return to open the season on June 20. Founding member Robbie Gallo (aka Rob Hurt), a South Shore native, will debut his new band B3K to open the show.
The Sextones appeared during Live at Lakeview’s first season and will be back on Aug. 15, followed by another great group from the Biggest Little City, the funky Mojo Green, on Aug. 22.
A city-wide vote made the parking free, but there are not that many spaces. However, the formerly secret parking spots have been made public. They are across Highway 50 at the library and rec center and just a 5-minute walk to Lakeview Commons. There is a free bike valet. Dogs are not allowed.
More Live at Lakeview news:
- New this year is an expanded valet for Lime Scooters
- An app now is available for Tessie’s Beach Bites so concertgoers can order food from their phones to avoid standing in line.
- Fourth of July falls on a Thursday this year, so there will be no concert on that day. With tens of thousands of tourists at South Shore, it’s not ideal to set up the show.
- At the South Lake City Council on June 18, Live at Lakeview will seek a new five-year contract.
Here’s a primer for this year’s Live at Lakeview:
June 20 — Vokab Kompany w/ B3K
Vokab Kompany is a San Diego band with close ties to South Lake Tahoe. Vokab Kompany is Robbie Gallo, aka Rob Hurt (MC/vocals), Matt Burke, aka Burkey Baby (MC/vocals), Geoff Nigl (keyboards), Richard Galiguis (bass), Tyler Olson (drums) and John Avery (saxophone). Burke and Gallo met in Tahoe in the mid-1990s, by way of Gallo’s sister. Since 2006, Vokab Kompany has been on a roll, bringing a hip-hop/electronic celebration to the masses, from SoCal beaches to the Sierra Nevada. Rob Hurt and Burkey Baby are still smiling after all these years. Last year, they played the music of Outkast at MontBleu Resort on the South Shore and the previous year, they celebrated Gallo’s 37th birthday at Hard Rock’s Vinyl showroom. They performed at Live at Lakeview in 2016 and at the Lake Tahoe Reggae Festival in 2015. Sometimes, they ask “Where’s My DeLorean?” B3K features Gallo delivering low fidelity hip-hop, soul and progressive music with the thought “I Can B Anything.”
June 27 — Scott Pemberton with Big Sticky Mess
He’s baaack, and he’s got chops…. He’s the Timber Rocker, a hippie superhero, the unofficial mayor of Live at Lakeview and the Bruce Lee of rock and roll. Portland, Oregon’s Scott Pemberton is the most popular artist in the history of Live at Lakeview. His backstory is incredible. Pemberton was a college music instructor, studio producer and member of several bands. He nearly died in a traffic accident. It took months for him to recover from his traumatic brain injury. When he did, Pemberton picked up a guitar, shocked to learn of his virtuosity. With his schedule cleared, he had an opportunity to restart his career. He decided to create his own band and tour the country. Pemberton has been coming to Live at Lakeview ever since. The only side effect from accident is that he cannot wear a guitar strap. So he places his instrument on a bar stool and attacks it like, well, the Bruce Lee of rock and roll. Big Sticky Mess, also returning to Live at Lakeview, is a Davis, California-based band that frequents Tahoe and delivers the jazzy funk.
July Fourth — No event for Independence Day. God Bless America
July 11 — TapWater with Barnsmoke
Lake Tahoe will continue to be filled to the brim this summer, so it’s fine to turn on the TapWater. “Portland’s TapWater sounds like Americana gods The Band if they’d taken a load off in N’awlins and picked up steel drums and a love of funk.” So says Ben Salmon of The Bulletin in Bend, Oregon. “TapWater is a dextrous and shape-shifting band that merges world rhythms with bluegrass and rock for highly dance friendly shows long on chops and energy,” says the The Goodfoot of Portland. TapWater is a “world twang” experience, bringing musical inspiration from around the world right back home to your front porch, or in Tahoe’s case, the beachfront. You may recognize the lead singer as that steel drum player, Rudy Slizewski from the Scott Pemberton Band. Barnsmoke, the openers, is a new newgrass quartet out of South Shore. Patrick Croke plays mandolin; Christopher Paranzino, guitar; Andy Voelkel, banjo; and Chad Lawrence, keyboard.
July 18 — Shakedown String Band with Patrick Walsh
Shakedown String Band is a collective of musicians bound and determined to make you dance and smile to Americana, blues, bluegrass and jam grass. The eight-piece band is rooted in San Diego. “Good beats, good vibes, good musicians and good people. It’s all good!” sums up one fan. Patrick Walsh is a homegrown one-man band. Storyteller, producer and multi-instrumentalist Walsh brings a fresh sound from the world of no genres. Born and raised in the Gold Rush towns of Northern California, he often incorporates local history and experiences into his songs. Introduced to music through the piano at age 6, he now plays and records with nearly 20 different instruments. Walsh writes, plays all instruments, records, masters and even does most of the artwork for his albums. Owner of Hangtown Studios in Placerville, he also has created his own record label, Lo Cal Music, along with his genre CaliCountry. With 45 previously released albums, he is now focusing on live shows.
July 25 — Mestizo Beat with Boca do Rio
Mestizo Beat is a Los Angeles-based band blending the styles of Afro-beat, Afro-Cuban, funk, R&B, soul and jazz. The band is comprised of musicians who compose and perform music influenced by the early 1970s era of funk, soul and international sounds, formed by lead guitarist Aquiles “Lito” Magaña along with his brother Gus Magaña on drums. These two would come to share their passion and love for this era of music and become the driving core for the group. Boca do Rio will bring its Brazilian space funk to Tahoe onstage. An Afro-Brazilian world music group from Northern California, Boco do Rio delivers a unique blend of pop hooks, pleasing vocal harmonies, funky rhythms, and African percussion. The music is rooted in distinct instruments that seem both timeless and yet also grounded in the here and now.
Aug. 1 — The Golden Cadillacs with Jimbo Scott
The Golden Cadillacs are a Sacramento band of lifelong friends and inhabitants of numerous corners of the California foothills. Consistent as the golden sun in the rolling hills that tie them, the Golden Cadillacs always bring a captivating show, expanding their cache of psych-country, roots-infused songwriting with an effortless charm. They began their musical journey by forming a band back in their high school days. After exploring different roads musically, their paths have led them back together to create a unique harmony founded in friendship. The band consists of past and present members of Jackie Greene, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Dead Winter Carpenters, Jake Peavy and the Outsiders, Tim Flannery and the Lunatic Fringe and Merrygold. The opener, folk-rock singer Jimbo Scott, was born in Memphis and raised in Oakland. You may recognize him from the well known band, Poor Man’s Whiskey. His songwriting style is derived from a childhood saturated in various traditions of American folk music
Aug. 8 — Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs with The Tahoe Tribe
Trumpeter Shamarr Allen hails from New Orleans and spends most of his time touring with Galactic. A musical prodigy, people have long recognized his extraordinary talents as a musician. He’s shared the stage with the likes of Patti LaBelle, Lenny Kravitz, Harry Connick Jr., Branford Marsalis. In 2011, Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs were invited to tour Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan as cultural ambassadors for the United States State Department. Allen cites one of his favorite moments as being the first trumpet player to play the National Anthem for President Barack Obama. Ultimately, he played for the President twice, the second time with multiplatinum artist Harry Connick Jr. at the White House. On the local front, The Tahoe Tribe is a brotherhood and “mafia of musicians” made up from the bands Super J and Lavish Green. You know these guys: Vincenzo Thomas Amato on guitar, Danny Barnes on drums, Rob Wheeler on bass Seth Hall on saxophone. Expect some jammin’ — Tahoe style.
Aug. 15 — The Sextones with Chile Verde
The Sextones are a family of music renegades known for viciously executed soul compositions and white-knuckle driving funk. Fronted by the charismatic and soulful vocalist Mark Sexton, The Sextones’ sound is a tip of the hat to the days of Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder while actively forging the path for a new generation of soul and funk. Based in the wild desert of Reno, The Sextones continue to diligently craft their distinctive brand of soul with face-melting guitar parts, intricate bass-work, commanding drum rhythms, sticky Hammond B3 comping, brutally honest and heartfelt vocal acrobatics and a fearless and exciting stage performance. Bassist Alexander Korostinsky, drummer Daniel Weiss and keyboard player Ryan Taylor round out the group, which recently returned from a second European tour. A North Lake Tahoe band, Chile Verde serves up a “funky stew sure to light your pants on fire.” So be careful.
Aug. 22 — Mojo Green with Boot Juice
Mojo Green is a seven-piece high energy, horn-riven funk and soul machine from Reno that has become known as one of the West Coast’s hottest live music dance bands. “Funk in Public” and “Soul Phatasaxtion” won Best Albums of Northern Nevada in 2013, 2014 and 2016 (as voted by readers of the Reno News and Review), as the 2017 Forte Award for Best R&B /Soul Band. Mojo Green is Fletch on drums with Ivan Gates on bass, Tim Bain on guitar, a powerhouse horn section composed of Kevin Thomas on baritone sax, Monty Adams on trumpet and Davis Corl on trombone, with Jenes Carter adding her soulful and sexy vocal leads, Mojo Green plays a style all its own that is funky, upbeat and impossible not to dance to. Hailing from Davis, California, Boot Juice is a five-piece band, playing river rock and mountain blues. The quintet is know to leave dance floors stick. Boot Juice just released a new album, “Speaking In Tones.” With Boot Juice and Mojo Green onstage, this show might just become dancing-room-only.
Aug. 29 — J Ras & The Higher Elevation with Miki Rae, Taking Root
From the hills of Northern California, J Ras has been turning heads and opening minds across the nation with his uplifting music and high-energy stage show, having toured with the Vans Warped Tour. His band seamlessly blends modern roots-reggae with classic hip-hop and dancehall. J Ras & The Elevation recently released a new single and music video “Crash Down,” filmed at Lake Tahoe. Taking Root brings a local flavor to reggae music, as the group is based in South Lake Tahoe. Taking Root plays popular reggae covers in addition to orginal music. Current members are EJ Hixenbaugh on drums, Derek Zalewski on bass, Miki Rae on vocals and ukulele and Dylan Long on Stratocaster guitar. Miki Rae also will perform a solo set. The order of the evening will be peace, positivity and good vibes — a fitting way to close another season at Live at Lakeview.
— Randy Hashagen