If you’ve ever been the world-famous Casbah, chances are you’ve seen a great show there. But just like anything else, some are better than others. With the club celebrating its 25th anniversary during the month of January, some of our SoundDiego bloggers took a look back to reflect on their favorite Casbah shows of all-time.
- Robin Roth: Aug. 19, 1990 -- Nirvana at the original Casbah location. The capacity of the venue was 75 people, but it seemed like there were way more of us in attendance than that ... maybe twice as many? Dave Grohl was not yet with the band, as he joined about a month later. Drummer Dale Crover (the Melvins) played at the San Diego show. I remember Kurt did a backward stage dive with his guitar in-hand, the crowd grabbed him and moved him across their heads, back to the front of the stage. Being in that small of a venue with that incredible energy was like nothing I had ever seen.
- Tim Pyles: June 20, 2000, when Weezer played the Casbah under the name Goat Punishment. This was when the band had reformed and played some secret shows prior to their big return! This show was also the catalyst to forming a short-lived band I had with DJ Ratty, aka Grandmasta Rats. We were called the Banana Seeds? (yes, with the question mark). DJ Ratty is legendary for his DJ skills in SD going back to the early ‘90s, but in this case he was playing a guitar and singing. We only played five total shows, but it was so much fun.
- Dustin Lothspeich: Very few shows, if any, have come close to eclipsing the magnificence of seeing the National and St. Vincent share the Casbah stage on Sept. 27, 2007. It was a makeup for a show they had canceled earlier in the summer, and at the time, they were both blowing up. The National took the stage and turned in one of the most incendiary performances I’ve ever seen. They were locked in from the get-go, and maybe the band appreciated playing in front of such a small, adoring crowd but frontman Matt Berninger barked and intoned his tongue-in-cheek lyrics like some kind of sweaty rock shaman, stomping, red-in-the-face, with veins popping as he screamed the lyrics to "Mr. November," the show’s closing number. I doubt they’ve played a smaller show since that night. I don’t know if it was memorable solely based on their performance or also in some small part due to the idiotic girl I took to the show who feigned sleeping the entire time at one of the tables near the bar while the band played and people crushed in around us. Here's a free bit of advice: Want to know if someone’s a good match for you? Take ‘em to a show at the Casbah and see what they do.
- Scott McDonald: Favorite Casbah show? Unless you’ve only been there once, that’s a trick question. I’ve seen such a deep and diverse roster of mind-blowing performances at the Casbah, it’s impossible to pick just one. But of the dozens I would put into the running for all-time favorite, TV on the Radio in April ‘06 is definitely among them. Their sophomore breakthrough, Return to Cookie Mountain, hadn’t been released yet, and their amazing debut, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, hadn’t left my disc-changer in nearly two years. It was an epic performance in front of a capacity crowd that closed with a sing-along version of "Ambulance." I saw them play the very next afternoon to nearly 10,000 in (and all around) Coachella’s Mojave Tent. They were still great, but it made me realize just how lucky we are to have a club like the Casbah in San Diego. I can only hope it’s around for another 25.