Word spread like wildfire about Jack Johnson’s show last night (Jan. 18) at the recently opened Martini Ranch in Encinitas. Johnson didn’t go on until 10:00 p.m., but if you didn’t get there by 8:30 you were pretty much hosed.
[IMAGE 1]By 9:00 p.m. the line to get into the bar stretched past neighboring La Paloma theater, and the Martini Ranch management wasn’t letting anyone else in — the place had reached its 175-person capacity. Surf-industry bigwigs and Jack Johnson super-fans were flashing the bouncers twenties and fifties to get in, but the common folk were left out in the cold, having to enjoy the show vicariously through the lucky ones on the right side of the bar’s giant windows.
Part of the crowd factor could be attributed Surfer Mag listing the show on its Web site, but the plain truth is that Johnson has a growing cult-like following, particularly in the surf industry. Surfer’s Ricky Irons, Volcom’s Lenny Jones, Poor Specimen’s Sam Yago and Taylor Steele, Saxon Boucher, The Great Zeldini, Cody Steele, Pete Santamaria, BYB’s John and Wendi Glomb, Justin Cote, and Peter King were just a few of the many surf-industry-type people on hand. “I felt like I was a part of history,” said one attendee. “He’s going to go big soon — as big he wants to be, at least — and it was cool to see him in such a small setting.”
[IMAGE 2]The setting was intimate — it was just Johnson, drummer Adam Topol, and bassist Merlo playing under dimmed lights on a cramped stage nestled between doorways to the men’s room and the ladies’ room. The music was even better.
Johnson ran through a laundry list of songs during his hour-long-plus set — mostly from his debut (non-bootlegged) album, Brushfire Fairytales. Most of the girls were screaming for him to play Bubble Toes, which he wrote and performed for his wife, Kim, at his wedding. Johnson also played The News, a beautiful yet solemn song in which Johnson comments on our numbness to the violence and horror we see on TV and how we ignore it or write it off as fantasy. Amazing.
[IMAGE 3]Word has it Johnson will be touring with one of his heroes Ben Harper, who has a cameo in Brushfire Fairytales, so to the unlucky who didn’t make it inside Martini Ranch last night there will be of host of other lines to stand in in the future.
You can pick up Brushfire Fairytales on poorspecimen.com.