Suplex That Sweater!: The Ease's EP Release Party at Sandrini's

Local indie surf rock duo The Ease welcomed Easter with a packed Sandrini's for the release party of their EP Not Now, But Soon. Each guest received a free EP with the cover charge and band members Jose (Jo) Berlanga and Sam Garcia (Sam G.) mingled around the bar before their performance. I love that these guys are so upbeat and approachable.  They genuinely like to meet their listeners.

Jose, frontman and guitarist, stopped by to greet a group of my friends and chat for a few minutes before the show. He told a story about one of The Ease's earlier shows where a man took off his sweater during their song "Sweaters" (listen here) and slammed it into the wall and on the stage.

The Ease EP Release at Sandrini's
Courtesy of The Ease
Photographer Joey Greer

"He was just going crazy with that thing--throwing it around everywhere, dancing with it," Jose said.

"Next time I come to a show, I'm going to bring a sweater to do that with," I joked.

"Suplex that sweater!"

The Ease took the stage soon thereafter (with fog machine!) and the usually somewhat stiff Sandrini's crowd danced even with the first song. Each time I watch The Ease, I'm amazed by how much raw sound comes out of the two man band. Their polished low-fi style strikes a balance between garage rock and sounding over-produced. Jo's upbeat, streamlined melodies keep the songs tight while Sam G.'s beats add a dynamic intensity to the music.

Sound to stage, The Ease is dynamic. From Jo's use of the entire stage as he performs to Sam G.'s intense drumming, the band gives the audience something not only to listen to but to watch.  They look so involved in their performance that you can't help but get into the music too.

 Easter Bunny rocks out to The Ease at Sandrini's
Courtesy of The Ease
Photographer Joey Greer
The band has captured a surf rock sound with a dark edge that's still danceable. Think the Violent Femmes with a little California sunshine (and perhaps slightly more sensitivity). I've never seen the crowd at Sandrini's dance so much--except for maybe at the New Years Eve concert with the fun and loveable 80s cover band Members Only. In particular, I remember an appearance from the Easter Bunny who jumped up on stage to dance with the band to celebrate around midnight.

Justin Foss, owner of Sacred Gypsy Tattoo and Art Studio (826 18th Street) and local artist, was among the dancers at the show. He's done live painting at recent Indie Music & Art Shows held monthly at Jerry's Pizza. The event brings Bakersfield artists and musicians together to showcase their work in one venue. The Sacred Gypsy has also hosted art shows and concerts together (and with any luck, we'll see some poets and writers added to the mix soon). 

It's refreshing to see the two communities come together and to promote each other's talents. Too often different types of artists find themselves separated from each other and I applaud the organizers and promoters of these cross-genre events for reaching out to each other. I appreciate the de-institutionalization of the arts. Not that I mind the more traditional ways of distributing culture, but it's time that our ever expanding DIY culture make the jump over to the arts. The next time you find yourself complaining that there's nothing to do in Bakersfield, then do it yourself. Or at least promote the people who are.

You can find more information about The Ease on their Facebook profile here. If you missed the show, you can pick up a copy of the EP at World Records (2815 F St.). The band has made two music videos (with a third slated to be released within the coming week). My favorite is "One Is A Lonely Place" which you can watch here. Hope to see you at the next show!


  1. Great write up. The show was awesome. I had a blast!

  2. @Mikee: Thanks for all the support! I love The Ease--seems impossible to not have fun at their shows.