Saturday, March 17 , 2018, 10:02 am | Fair 53º


Paul Mann: Dishwalla Plays Benefit Concert in Carpinteria for Victims of Thomas Fire

Guitarist Rodney Browning Cravens leads Dishwalla through a set of blues-laden, post-grunge rock on Saturday at the Alcazar Theatre in Carpinteria. Click to view larger
Guitarist Rodney Browning Cravens leads Dishwalla through a set of blues-laden, post-grunge rock on Saturday at the Alcazar Theatre in Carpinteria. (L. Paul Mann / Noozhawk photo)

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In the wake of California’s largest wildfire in modern history, Carpinteria’s own Dishwalla played a sold-out concert Saturday at the Alcazar Theatre.

Formerly known as the Plaza Playhouse Theater, the gem of a venue, with accidental perfect acoustics, has returned to its original name, Alcazar Theatre. Carpinteria Community Theatre Inc., which runs the venue, renamed the theater based on its regional name. The 200-seat theater initially opened in 1928 by Oliver Prickett and became a popular getaway destination for Hollywood elite. The Alcazar will celebrate its 90th anniversary on April 27.

Dishwalla made a national name for themselves in the mid-1990s, beginning with their hit album Pet Your Friends. After a five-year hiatus, the band returned with a new lead singer. The band has been touring the world relentlessly during the past year promoting their new album recorded in Joshua Tree, Juniper Road. The band opened for Tears For Fears at the Santa Barbara Bowl last summer. According to many fans in attendance, the hometown group stole the show, as the veteran English duo suffered from a shared case of laryngitis from their grueling world tour.

The concert at the Alcazar was one of many local efforts to raise money for victims of the devastating Thomas Fire. The entire city of Carpinteria was in danger of burning to the ground and was saved only by an army of firefighters risking their lives to save the town. Nearby Ventura was not so lucky with more than 500 homes destroyed the first day of the fire.

Dishwalla played a pleasing set full of their hit songs as well as their new material. The veteran rockers led by phenomenal guitarist Rodney Browning Cravens tore through the blues-laden, post-grunge rock that is their signature sound.

The band's latest singer, Justin Fox, has been with the group long enough now that his vocals have become seamless with the music and has allowed the band to evolve into new territory. The band has had particular success in scoring music for television. In 1995, the song "Counting Blue Cars" was featured in the movie Empire Records. "Pretty Babies" can be found on the Blast From the Past soundtrack. In 1998, the band's "Truth Serum" appeared in the movie The Avengers; in 1999, the song "Stay Awake" was used in the movie Stir of Echoes, and the song "Find Your Way Back Home" was featured in the movie American Pie. In 2002, the song "Home" was in the movie The Banger Sisters.

The band played a nearly two-hour set for adoring fans in their hometown of Carpinteria. Cravens noted that the band had played in Carpinteria only three times in their 22-year history. “The first time was at the city’s annual Avocado Festival,” Cravens said. The band also played an extended acoustic set employing some of their many local musician friends from the audience.

It was a great start to 2018 for Carpinterians' favorite band and the new old Alcazar Theatre, and all for a noble cause.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

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