KCRW Summer Nights

Spend a summer evening with KCRW and enjoy free, all ages, outdoor performances across southern California all season long.

I’m attending quite a few music festivals this summer and although they each have extensively talented lineups, I was a little disappointed that some of my favorite local bands didn’t make the cut. Chicano Batman being one. If you think you don’t know them, you do. That song, “Friendship is a Small Boat in a Storm,” that’s them. So when KCRW announced their Summer Nights lineup included a performance by them at One Colorado in Pasadena, I was totally in.

Throughout the summer KCRW hosts free, yes I said free, concerts across SoCal. From Santa Barabra to Pasadena, Union Station to Santa Monica, Chinatown to Anaheim and more. They curate some of the best music acts, along with beloved KCRW DJs and put on spectacular shows at some super cool venues. Last year I attended a Brazilian Girls concert at the Annenberg Space for Photography.  Read about it here. 

Old town Pasadena is one of my favorite places to eat and drink. Since summer nights didn’t start until 7:30pm we decided to hit up my favorite wine bar, Everson Royce for some pre-partying. It’s a no reservations, come as you are kind of place. No pretense just really good wine. On certain nights they offer cheese pairings or freshly baked bread served with sweet creamery butter. Mmmmm butter…

Summer nights is a no ticket event. Just first come, first served until they reach capacity. I knew this event would get packed quickly so we walked over to One Colorado with time to spare and I was right, the place was already filling up.

One Colorado is a gorgeous courtyard lined with shops and restaurants. I walked from place to place trying to find a spot to grab a bite. Everything facing the stage was already full. I finally found Il Fornaio and thankfully they had a table on the patio. I thought at least we can hear the music. But the music gods were smiling down on our little group, the patio backed up to the stage and we could see and hear everything. It was perfect.

Anthony Valadez kicked off the night spinning some great tunes while we sipped wine on the covered patio. Chicano Batman took the stage and were even better live than I hoped. So what, I could only see them from the back, the music was fantastic. We listened to them while sharing bowls of pasta family style as the sun dipped down behind the buildings. If you visit Il Fornaio I highly recommend the Pennoni Alla Vodka. It was the fave dish of our group. When the sun went down the strings of courtyard lights twinkled on adding a such a charming touch to this picturesque locale. I still can’t believe I saw Chicano Batman, a hugely popular band, on such a tiny stage in such a quaint setting. I don’t know how KCRW convinces the bands to join them each year. But the roaring and clapping after each song was evidence enough that the audience was grateful.

As their set wound to a close we enjoyed the last tunes with some coffee and dessert. Actually I had my coffee and dessert in one. Il Fornaio’s Affogato Al Caffe is Espresso poured over two luscious scoops of vanilla gelato topped with fresh whipped cream. The perfect sweet ending to my night.

But Summer Nights is just getting started. There are plenty more shows scheduled throughout southern California. Tomorrow night DJs Dan Wilcox and Valida take over CtrCity Anaheim. DJS Jason Bentley and Aaron Byrd play Chinatowns Central and West Plazas on July first. And, Paul Oakenfold with Mondo Cozmo play Sound in Focus on July twenty second. To check out all the talented artists scheduled, visit KCRW SUMMER NIGHTS. I totally recommend checking this out. It’s free awesome music. How can you say no? Plus with so many different venues there is bound to be one close to your home.


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