[follow id = “Brenna_Swanston”]
Night fell in downtown San Luis Obispo this past Thursday, bringing relief from the 100-degree day. But the heat raged on inside SLO Brewing Co., where hip-hop/rock group Radical Something partied onstage.
The trio — comprised of vocalist Josh Hallbauer, vocalist and guitarist Alex Lagemann and instrumentalist Mike Costanzo — jumped around the stage to an audience sporting tank tops, shorts and flip-flops, left over from the sweltering heat.
Hallbauer was excited to be back in his home state of California, kicking off the band’s summer tour, he said.
The trio’s ramped up set with “California,” “Escape” and “Step Right Up,” while spectators drank, clapped, danced and sang along as if summer had begun and there would be no sign of school the following morning.
The band members rotated instruments. Hallbauer was almost always on the microphone, but Lagemann switched between rapping and playing guitar while Costanzo covered bass, guitar, keyboard and backing vocals.
For some songs, all three band members dropped their instruments and took up microphones.
Lagemann was stoked on the summer-like vibe, he said.
“When everybody’s sweaty and packed into a room, the one thing they want to do is dance,” Lagemann said.
They launched into “Say Yes,” during which Lagemann set down the guitar, rapped and extensively flipped off his audience — who happily returned the gesture.
Between songs, Hallbauer suggested a photo break, asking the crowd to squeeze in as close as possible beneath the stage lights for a photo. The trio posed with its fans while its guest drummer snapped the shot.
The group wasn’t done making friends with its audience. Lagemann asked a specific member from the crowd up to the stage.
“A girl named Olivia is turning 19,” he said, waving up an embarrassed-looking woman. Hallbauer serenaded her with a slow and sweet rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
Then it was time to get back to the show. Lagemann returned to his acoustic guitar and revved up for “We Were Just Kids,” inspiring the audience to raise their drinks and sing along passionately.
As the night wore on, security wove into the audience to lift women off their friends’ shoulders and keep the craziness to a minimum.
The band interacted closely with its listeners, with cat calls and call-and-response chants. It played fan favorite “Cheap Drink,” during which Lagemann called out Cal Poly students, driving his audience nuts.
Hallbauer then made a special announcement.
“You are about to become the first people to ever hear this song right now,” he said.
They kicked off a new, appropriately themed tune entitled “Cali Get Down.” The audience might not have known the lyrics, but they danced and threw their arms and middle fingers in the air as if it had been their favorite song for years.
Next up was “Long Hair Don’t Care,” after which Lagemann once again returned to the subject of perspiration.
“Are you guys sweating more than you’ve ever sweated in your whole life right now?” he asked.
Perhaps the dancers were, but it didn’t stop them — the faux summer-night-beach-party vibes Radical Something evoked lasted throughout its set.
Architecture junior Alexis Church has been a fan of the group for more than a year, and its SLO Brew show was her first time seeing them live.
“I’m so glad I came,” she said.
Their music transports her to summer days, she said.
“They’re just so chill and fun at the same time,” Church said. “It totally makes me feel the California vibe.”