San Diego Radio Sucks Quite A Bit

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Classic Post From 2001 - Rochelle Rochelle at Scolari's Office

Rochelle Rochelle are doing a reunion show at The Casbah on October 6, 2012. This is the review I wrote when I first stumbled onto this band, over ten years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.


I was on my way to a friend’s 50th birthday party when my leg, broken from a 20-mile run earlier that spring decided to get soft on me in the late afternoon Del Mar traffic. As I crawled along the I-5 I wasn’t sure if I could make it all the way to the north end of LA, despite the rumors of an all-nude half-century bash. I wasn’t sure whether to be intrigued or petrified by the possibilities, but I was going.

"I can’t make it," I explained to my friend’s answering machine through my disappointed sighs. “I don’t know if I can make it that far and even if I do I don’t know if I could make it back tomorrow." I’d already told all my friends that I was going to this big nudie party so they’d all made plans. I guess I’m on my own tonight, I thought, turning the car toward the closest international border I could reach by land. 

By the time I got home, it was dark. I decided to go out and look for something. What I was looking for would be revealed to me over the course of the evening. I was hoping to find something about 5’3" with long dark hair, but what I encountered that evening was several disappointments that led up to one beautiful relationship. 

I started at the Casbah where I caught a few songs by Sub Pop Monster Magnet Mimics Nebula. The last time I saw them some drunken lass had jumped on stage, taken her top off, danced around like an idiot, got pushed off stage, threw a beer bottle at the band and started a fight. This time was not quite so entertaining so I split. 

My next Sapphire was imbibed at Lancer’s, the bar you go to when you would rather scream at your friends over a jukebox than scream at your friends over a band. Looking around, I saw no promising prospects. I slammed my lowball, nearly swallowing the lime, and was out. 

Off to the Red Fox, where Miss Shirley always puts on a great show with a little help from her old friends and a little hindrance from her new friends. Well, sometimes the guest singers aren’t bad, but sometimes they are. This night was pretty dead, so I decided to head home. I wasn’t through yet, though. I decided to park the car in the driveway and limp to as many bars as I could until I either found someone willing to at least listen to me bitch about the night I’d had or better yet, listen to me coo about the night I had over breakfast on Sunday. I gimped up to Scolari’s Office, a small dive with great drinks that’s less than a block from my house. I don’t know why I’d never visited there before that night – I’d lived within hawking distance for over a year. 

As fate had it, this was the night I was to discover not only the venue, but the act. I walked into the place, drawn in by the music I heard as I thumped my feet up to the door. I saw everyone in there standing not more than one foot away from the band. EVERYONE. I have never seen anything like it. The funny thing is, there were only 12 people in the entire place. But all eyes were on this quartet. 

I stood there, dazzled. Being somewhat of a Casbah spectator over the course of the last year I was sure I would have heard of these guys. “Who ARE these guys?" I shouted to the guy next to me after about three songs. “Rochelle Rochelle," he said, never turning away from the band. “They’re fucking amazing!" I shouted. “I know," he yelled back.

The band proceeded to pound out only two more songs before calling it a night. I felt cheated that I had missed most of the set but blessed that I ever got the chance to see them, considering the circumstances. I felt like walking up to them and saying, “I don’t know what to do now." 

The band describes their sound as "Hard rock that’s pretty," and it’s an accurate description. Their use of dynamics and time signatures is reminiscent of acts like Hum and Smashing Pumpkins, and the influence of Radiohead and Drive Like Jehu shine through on songs like "Farewell Production," which pits Erik Berg’s floating yet grinding vocals against the chunky, electro-shock-like melodies courtesy of Austin, Jeff and Nick. 

I honestly didn’t know what to do after seeing them for the first time. I felt star struck, as if I’d just seen the next big thing right before my eyes. These guys are up and coming only because they’re relative unknowns in the scene. Be sure to check them out for the sake of good music, if not for the sake of telling your friends you were listening to them before everyone else was.