B-Side Players at San Diego’s Belly Up Tavern

Celebrating 25 years, San Diego natives B-Side Players hosted a sold out dance party at Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA. Cumbia Machin, a single entity to what sounds like a 10-piece band, kicked the night off with electronic dub-style cumbia music that quickly got people movin’. Using original samples, loops, sequences and live drumming to create an hour-long nonstop dance party is exactly why people came tonight. 

…we were all in for a treat, seeing it was their 25th Anniversary party.

Next up, La Diabla! I had heard about them… seen photos of their disguises, but had no clue what they had in store for us that night. Cumbia music! Real, hip-shaking, lose yourself cumbia music and it was all for us. Not a single person in the house could sit still once La Diabla put their spell on you. We were all in a trance so much that I forgot why I was there (photojournalist :D). Their first song went for nearly 25 minutes and when it was over, the crowd erupted in cheers and whistles begging for more. I loved it and we all left with a little La Diabla pulsing through our veins.

So how do you follow Cumbia Machin and La Diabla? How about with San Diego’s hottest funk, rock, jazz, cumbia, [insert your favorite style here] band once described as “War meets Lenny Kravitz” by Ben Harper — B-Side Players! I knew what to expect, having seen them on numerous occasions, but I knew we were all in for a treat, seeing it was their 25th Anniversary party. “You ready to dance, Belly Up?”, says Karlos “Solrak” Paez, lead singer of the band. “YEAH!” shouts nearly everyone in the house. And, for the next hour and a half, we danced, we sang, we laughed and we loved everything the band brought us. From opening to close, it was the perfect night and I’m thankful to have been a part of celebrating 25 years with a band that gives back to its community, is adored by many and is a staple of the San Diego Barrio!

Photography by Chris Gomez

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