The Casbah’s annual Rolling Stones–themed “Exile on Kettner” was retired last year after two decades, but the venue plans to keep the tradition of playing Stones music on Christmas Eve at least one more year.
The Exile shows featured former Dragons frontman Mario Escovedo leading an all-star group of local musicians through a night of Rolling Stones covers. The new bill, dubbed “Let’s Spend the Night Together,” sticks with the Stones component during a closing set from Lauren Scheff’s All Star Band, but will entertain non-Stones tunes beforehand, from the likes of the Little Richards and the Schitzophonics Stone Soul Revue, with comedy-rock duo Pony Death Ride playing in the Atari Lounge.
“We’ve had a tradition of doing something special on Christmas Eve going back to the [Casbah predecessor] Pink Panther days,” Casbah owner Tim Mays tells the Reader. “When we started the Exile on Kettner shows, nobody could have foreseen that it would last 20 years. Mario and his band of rock stars put in a lot of time each year to make it happen. It was one of my favorite nights of the year.”
With the decision in place to end the Exile show, Mays knew he wanted to continue the holiday tradition. “I started talking to the Schitzophonics folks last year about maybe doing something for Christmas Eve and they were definitely into the idea. Robert [El Vez] Lopez is usually in town for Christmas to see his parents so I asked him about participating, and he wanted to do the Little Richards, which is him and Schitzophonics and Diana Death, so that was a natural fit. Schitzophonics came up with the idea of doing a holiday soul revue, and that sounded great to me as well.”
- Wednesday, December 24, 2014, 8 p.m.
2501 Kettner Boulevard,
For the last piece of the puzzle, a 90-minute set of Jagger-Richards classics, Mays sought out Get Back Loretta bassist Lauren Scheff, who has been promoting a series of cover nights at the Office using a basic backing band and guest vocalists. “I like the new name, which I think is more fitting to the vibe,” said Scheff. “Exile on Kettner was brilliant, but I think the biggest change are the musicians and singers. I want to pull from the old school players in SD that Mario used, but I also want to bring in the next generation of talent that are making moves in our community.” Among the vocalists taking part will be Stevie Harris (Styletones), Daniel Crawford (Blackout Party), and Timothy Joseph (Palace Ballroom).
While it’s hoped Lets Spend the Night Together is as successful as Exile on Kettner, Mays is leaving future options open. “As far as starting a new tradition, let’s see what happens,” he said.