On Saturday, August 1, Velvet Jones hosted a slew of area bands: Royal Suns, Sun Daes, Bonny Doon, and Randall Sena. The show was attended by a sparse but enthusiastic audience, of which a few were regulars of the S.B. music scene.
Orcutt natives Royal Suns started up the show around 9 p.m. with an impassioned indie-rock set as showgoers trickled in. While the band members are young — lead singer and guitarist Liam Kitchen just graduated high school this year — their performance was a well-practiced art. I suspect that these rockers would have pulled a significantly larger crowd if the show had been all ages. The band had a solid awareness not only of themselves onstage but also of the small crowd they had gathered toward the end of their set.
After the Royal Sun’s half-hour set had ended, Sun Daes took the stage. This UCSB-formed band showcased all that is right with I.V. surf rock, delivering a high-energy, well-synchronized show. With warm, resonating guitars and soulful vocals reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys, the group emanated feel-good summer vibes that carried through the night, especially during their performance of “San Francisco.” These hot-blooded rockers pulled in not only the largest crowd of the evening but the most loyal, as well, with fans of all ages mouthing along to their lyrics.
Next up were Santa Barbarans Bonny Doon. The retro rockers, who released three new tracks so far this year, performed a number of songs both new and old for an animated crowd of fans. This was the first band that pulled those hovering by the bar out onto the dance floor. Lead singer Daniel Hopkins’s vocals sounded even better live than he does on the band’s EPs but lacked the dynamic energy of the two previous acts.
Randall Sena of Lompoc closed the show with a half-hour indie-rock set, much of which was spent with Sena singing and pacing across the dance floor rather than the stage. While Sena’s experimental performance choice brought up the energy level of the show several notches, I caught a few showgoers inching away from the dance floor during this part of the concert. When Sena returned to the stage to finish up his show, however, fans returned to the floor and stayed to hear Sena sing about love, identity, and hope until the show’s close at 11 p.m.