I’ve got no idea what the Isla Vista music scene is like right now, though I’d bet it’s dominated by recorded tunes as compared to live bands, thanks in large part to the sound and suds shackles social host ordinances and other well-meaning/culturally destructive measures the overlords have imposed in recent decades. When I was cruising Del Playa 20 years ago, however, live music was the nightly show, with rock ’n’ roll, jam bands, reggae, ska, and the occasional freestyle rap accompanying our Natty Ice and Red Nectar kegs every weekend.
Granted, some of the tunes that I shimmied to with drunken abandon may not have stood up to less beer-lubed ears. But flipping out to ALO’s light show in I.V. Brew Co., skanking to Jimmy 2 Times on a balcony with ocean waves crashing below, and catching a Cool Water Canyon show at Anisq’Oyo’ Park as the smoke blew and cops watched on remain some of my fondest experiences in life, let alone college. Those were the days — prior to the Attias crash, prior to the mass shootings, prior to social media creating the Float- and Deltopia crazes that inspired the crackdowns — when Isla Vista was fully engaged in guilt yet still somewhat innocent.
In a fit of brilliance, UCSB Alumni is bringing such bands back for a show at Campbell Hall during the All Gaucho Reunion, which itself is becoming quite a worthy affair for all graduated ages. Zach Gill of ALO (and keyboardist for fellow alum Jack “OMG, will he show up, too?” Johnson), Jimmy 2 Times, and Cool Water Canyon (who also plays Sat., Apr. 29, at Velvet Jones) will rep my general era, while The Olés are picking up the more recent slack, on Friday, April 28, at 8 p.m. In a nod to an ALO song, it’s billed as Wasting Time: Music at the Heart of Isla Vista, and tickets can be snagged at allgauchoreunion.com. Bring $5 for the keg (not really).