Harrah’s Rincon in Valley Center, California… sure, it’s out of the way, tucked an hour or so outside of any suburban San Diego neighborhood on Native American land, but the return of live music knows no bounds. HIRIE — a fire reggae pop artist, forced into dormancy from quarantine — was surfacing for a her first headlining hometown show in almost two years.
Walking into the casino, you could immediately feel the energy pulsating throughout the air.
The night of July 2nd was not only a Friday, it was the Friday that kicked off 4th of July weekend (aka, the first American holiday without a mask mandate or social-distancing). It was full capacity time, people. HIRIE fans lined the walls of the casino floor, waiting patiently as they inched towards the entry gate in a winding cue. Finally, the time had come for HIRIE and her loyal band of boys to take the outdoor stage. Set in front of the pool with a cabana bar located conveniently in the middle of the crowd, the concert took off at lightning speed — the only way HIRIE knows how! Dancing and grooving, the band played new songs like “Bonfire”, as well as those good ol’ oldie HIRIE hits like “Sensi Boy”. Trombonist Andrew McKee even busted out the electric didgeridoo! The addition of Conga Kurty on percussion was a nice, nostalgic twist, while saxophonist Chris del Camino rapped on the mic even between flute solos. And, lest we forget, the main girl herself, Ms. HIRIE! In her signature heels, HIRIE did reps of high knees, jumps, dips and squats without missing a beat. Giving props to women, mothers, daughters and those afflicted with mental illness everywhere (#queen), HIRIE reminded us all why she is indeed regal of headlining any stage.
The band went on to perform an encore, with HIRIE hanging out after the show to take pictures with every person who wanted one at the merch booth. Packing up to get to Vegas to play the Mandalay Bay on the 4th, it was obvious that the band was only at the precipice of their summer fame, especially with their High & Mighty Tour starting this Sunday with Dirty Heads and Sublime With Rome. Cheers to all who were there and to HIRIE for bringing live music back to San Diego right!
Photography by Kristy Rose