San Diego is known for its laid-back atmosphere, so it’s no surprise that reggae music has a such a strong fan base here. That made it all the more fitting when The Expendables, a rock/reggae band from Santa Cruz, Calif., stopped at San Diego's House of Blues on Feb. 17.
Several bands opened for the Expendables, including Pour Habit, MTHDS, Micah Brown, Zen Robbi, and DJ Unite and DJ Peril of Tribe of Kings. So, when the clock struck 9:30 p.m., the stage was already in full swing.
As the back lights dimmed, the crowd knew it was time for the main event to start. The announcer ran on the stage and yelled, “Are you ready for the Expendables?!” The band stormed onto the stage in an explosion of energy, jumping up and down and priming the already pumped-up fans for what would be a fun-filled performance.
The Expendables' opening song had attendees dancing on their toes, waving their arms back and forth and singing along with the people surrounding them. Melodic drones drifted between the smoke clouds as the group's dueling guitar solos simultaneously evoked reggae, punk and ska.
The band performed a lot of its hits, including “Down Down Down,” “Bowl for Two” and “Sacrifice,” then transitioned to some upbeat punk-rock songs, which incited fans to form a mini-mosh pit in front of the stage.
As the set came to a close around 11 p.m., fans shouted for an encore. With the crowd chomping at the bit like that, there was no way the Expendables weren’t going to return to the stage -- and five minutes later, there they were. The band's ensuing encore of acoustic songs from its new album Prove It provided an unforgettable ending to the show.
Although the Expendables aren't from San Diego, fans had no trouble displaying their appreciation for them and their music. It's not always easy for touring bands to find a distinguishing sound that strikes a chord with the area they're visiting. But the Expendables had no problem doing just that -- they knew how to ride the flow of San Diego's music culture with each and every song they played.