“Take off your pants!” exclaimed the guitarist and singer of Sleepy Feet at the beginning of his set Saturday at PB&J, Pomona’s relatively new arts and entertainment space. He then proceeded to take off his pants, seeming to expect everyone in the audience to do the same. There was an awkward silence and a few muffled laughs. Refusing to be embarrassed, the frontman let his pants remain at ankle-level until a fellow band member joined him in the revolution. Soon enough audience members joined in on the de-pantsing.
PB&J, which stands for Photos, Brushes & Jams, was created at Pomona in January 2010 for events, studio rentals, and art displays. Owner Joey Gonzalez said of his decision to found the venue, “The idea is to have a cool spot like this around here, because I grew up around here and there was nothing like this growing up.”
Starting this past Saturday, there are monthly concerts held at PB&J in cooperation with KSPC, the radio station of the 5Cs. After October, there will be a stage at the Aladdin Jr., a next-door restaurant, and at PB&J, so that even more bands can play. “I grew up listening to KSPC… ever since high school, when I got into underground music,” Gonzalez said, elaborating on why he decided to partner with KSPC. Alison Rosenfeld, the Live Music Director of KSPC, explained about the partnership, “We’ve done series in the past, Art After Hours, but we liked doing some off-campus events and we really liked PB&J… PB&J supports the same local music scene that we do, and KSPC actually has a really big local fan base.” KSPC is one of the most popular non-profit radio stations in Southern California, and even has an international fan base.
Evan Hemsley and the Library of Congress opened the most recent concert at PB&J on Saturday. Hemsley, a Pomona student and DJ for an electronic show on KSPC, created an electronic and ambient sound.
The Melting Clouds, a band from Ukraine that is currently on tour in the L.A. area, followed Hemsley with a sound that was heavy but not quite metal. Relying on a pedal to distort their music, the band made their sounds fluctuate and fuse. During their set, members of the audience were invited to paint on a T-shirt, which became an inspired work that visually channeled The Melting Clouds’s sound.
Storey and the Tellers, a band composed of Pitzer students, played next. Storey and the Tellers, composed of a bassist, electric guitarist/vocalist, and drummer, captured the audience with their unique vocals, crazy guitar solos, and stage presence. Their rock sound was very much electric, alive, rebellious, and as unexpected as the changing rhythms. The band has played shows in Anaheim and L.A.
Then Sleepy Feet, also a band composed of students, played and entertained the crowd with their de-pantsing movement. A fun mixture of folk, bluegrass, punk, and rock, their sound carried listeners off to a carefree, lazy summer day.
Bands DEaf and Razzle Blaster, among other local groups, will play at the next PB&J event. Gonzalez said of the bands, “They’re just like off the wall, crazy.” The bands in the future will not necessarily be from the Claremont Colleges, but probably from the Inland Empire, as KSPC and PB&J like to support the local music scene. Gonzalez elaborated on how he chooses bands: “Recently I’ve been leaning towards, definitely rock… It doesn’t have to be in the music, it could be in the vocal delivery… Pace and melody, and that equals excitement.”