On Thursday night, Oct. 27, the Malibu Inn hosted live performers Petty Cash and Pepperdine senior Izzy Loya’s band Jonny Come Lately at a benefit for the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu Teen Center. The promoters, Sicky Dicky and Debbie Frank, said the event kick-starts a string of Thursday nights dedicated to donating the cover charges to different charities.
Petty Cash headlined and fell short and Jonny Come Lately delivered a fast, electrified display refreshing to all present.
The Tom Petty and Johnny Cash cover band dressed appropriately in all black and sported the standard “Viper Room coolness.” As the band alternated between classic Cash and Petty hits, the real show, was studying the Inn-goers. The room seemed perfectly divided between rockers and baseball fans. With five large plasma screen televisions displaying Game Six of the World Series all around the bar/stage, it was not difficult to distinguish the aging Sunset Blvd. punks from the Texas Rangers groupies or the Topangan parents from the St. Louis Cardinal fans. Once the game ended (Cardinals 10-9), the room gave way to a much younger crowd, signaling Petty Cash’s awaited departure. A place where Tom Petty himself was known to stage impromptu performances, the Malibu Inn presented a cover band whose struggle lied simply in a lack of cover-fans, not in delivery. They closed with Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” but not before the inebriated lead singer ironically — or maybe not — proclaimed being “the number one hipster band out there.”
The closing band, Jonny Come Lately (JCL), of “America’s Got Talent” and KWVS Chellapalooza 2011 fame, reclaimed the night. While the band’s merchandise suggests a 2-Tone ska genre, and the frontman evokes a college-aged Elvis while on a stage overwhelmed by a mammoth double bass, JLC’s complete image and sound becomes a near-perfect blend of rockabilly, ska, reggae and blues. The lead vocalist and guitarist, Loya, is a senior at Pepperdine and gained national prominence at just 15 years-old when his band reach the semifinals in NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” JCL’s energy and flair finally got the Inn-ers alive and dancing.
By the end of the night, it was clear the Malibu Inn would benefit from presenting more young, local bands. In the past decade, a more commercialized PCH has swelled Malibu and its nightlife, forcing locals and students alike to seek limited entertainment. Last night was a glimpse into the coming Malibu year and hopefully the resurrected Inn can play a large part of it.