Home » Pepper at Empire 1-22-09
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Pepper at Empire 1-22-09

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Thursday, Jan. 22, the band Pepper played a show at Empire. Pepper is originally from Hawaii now based out of LA, they have a sound and feel similar to Sublime and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The show was a 16 and over concert venue. The first thing I noticed walking up to Empire was all the high schoolers hiding in the shadows downing coke bottles full of alcohol.

I arrived about 2 hours after the show actually started and the line was short and moved quickly after a brief frisking by the staff.

Passafire was playing as I entered and I quickly made a bee-line for the bar on the first floor with a good view of the stage. I ordered a vodka-cranberry. It cost $6 and was very weak. To ensure myself a drink containing alcohol I opted for an $8 beer the next round.

Passafire, an East Coast based ska-punk band, sounded amazing. They had great energy that really got the crowd going. Their mix of traditional guitars and drums along with their other instruments sounded fantastic.

When their set ended, we had to wait a few minutes for Pepper, during which time I made my way out onto the floor in front of the stage along with every other person in Empire. After shoving my way to the front of the stage and passing through too many plumes of smoke to count, Pepper finally appeared and sent the mob of people into a frenzy.

Shirtless, they jumped right into their set. Those who swayed slightly to the other bands were dancing and shoving each other around in the mosh-pit. The entire place was going crazy. If I thought Passafire had a great energy then Pepper was absolutely electric.

They got the crowd involved by demanding us to scream out profanities and sing along.

They also were sure to compliment good old Sac Town. They said we were crazier and wilder than those in New York, but slipped up once by thinking they were in San Francisco. I hope they were kidding.

Pepper’s songs were a good mix of reggae and rock and sounded fantastic live. They played until 10:30 p.m., and not a single person was standing still by the end. They left the stage to chants of encore, and returned shortly to an ecstatic crowd who transformed Empire into one huge mosh-pit.

Several songs later they exited the stage for the final time and the house lights came on. As a sea of people flowed toward the exit, the fire alarm sounded. Apparently someone pulled it which was not a surprise, considering the 16 and over crowd, prompting 4 fire engines to arrive within minutes.

I made my way through the groups of young people away from the screeching alarm to R15 for some affordable post-concert drinks. Overall I had an excellent time although I would have preferred it to be 18 and over. Pepper played a great show and I highly recommend them to everyone, especially live.

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