If you closed your eyes and leaned back in your car seat Saturday night at the Ventura County Fairgrounds, you’d have smelled the cool salt air and heard the manic ska-funk-punk of L.A.’s Fishbone and Ozomatli. You’d have almost felt like live music was back to normal in Southern California.
At the show, one of the region’s first drive-in concerts bringing live music back during the COVID-19 pandemic, cars encircled the main stage, plonked in the middle of the outdoor venue’s vast seaside parking lot (fans in the back could view the show on big LED screens).
Some families, donning face masks, climbed on the roofs of their cars to get an optimal view, while others stayed in, clandestinely tailgating with takeout pizza. Over a well-synced FM radio signal, Fishbone played its ageless hits — “Party at Ground Zero,” “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” — with extra verve to rouse those in attendance in the 500 cars at the show. Concertgoers honked their approval at the end of songs.
It was a bit like Coachella, if no one left their vehicles, or the Hollywood Bowl, if they brought the stage out to meet the Highland Avenue traffic. For the time being, and for who knows how long beyond that, it’ll likely be the only way we see shows in SoCal.