By Simone Goldstone | Soundcheck Columnist
Bayside restaurant hosted the eclectic but successful mix of musicians that make up Newport Beach-based Supergroup the Side Deal. Comprised of Train’s Charlie Colin, Sugar Ray’s Stan Frazier, and PawnShop King’s Joel and Scott Owen, the Side Deal gave Newport Beach an afternoon to remember during a midday lunch concert at Bayside Restaurant on October 10, presented by the Irvine Barclay Theatre.
The three-course meal at Bayside was elevated by a casual, intimate concert provided by the Side Deal, who performed on the spacious the outdoor patio with their instruments as if they were greeting old friends. Their jovial attitudes and friendliness set the mood for a relaxing treat.
“We want this to feel like a living room,” said the Owen brothers, “If you have questions, ask away.”
Their casualness and openness endeared the band to me, and the audience. Refreshed after their Covid-induced hiatus, the band took to the stage to play to a mix of originals tunes and covers.
Some songs were guaranteed to stir up nostalgia from their respective bands, such as Train’s “Calling All Angels,” or Sugar Ray’s hit “Fly.” Other songs were promising originals from their upcoming album.
“We’re all sitting here on a beautiful day during a completely normal time in life,” Scott Owen joked.
Right off the bat, they tugged at our 90s sentimentality with the first song, “Every Morning.”
Visibly missing from the band was Train’s Charlie Colin due to his being under the weather, but the Side Deal still launched into a rendition of Train’s “Calling All Angels.” Immediately their harmonies and strumming patterns captured and held the audience’s attention. With no autotune, their four-part harmonies are pure talent. It is a tricky balance that they manage to achieve with ease and laughter.
The concert felt like I was peeking in on a garage jam-session of high-school friends (though with a professional level of talent) by how much fun they were having.
The lyrics of “Calling All Angels” rang out: “I won’t give up if you won’t give up,” with a certain poignancy. “We need each other to get through these times,” Joel Owen told the audience.
Next on their line-up was Sugar Ray’s “Every Morning.”
“We’re the only band who plays their own covers,” joked Stan Frazier. Their low-key rock and roll style is like driving down Coast Highway on cruise control. Smooth sailing, with jangly guitars and the certain brand of soft-rock that’s both soothing and energizing. It sounds as easy and familiar as a Sunday morning.
Owen and Scott cracked jokes and explained the fluke of forming the band. Newport Beach has a lot to be proud of, being called the hometown of these musicians.
“We toured with Stan at Warped Tour in 1997,” said Scott Owen. “:We all went to high school together. You’ll hear songs you know and songs you don’t.”
The throwbacks and flashbacks of their previous, separate bands were punctuated by stellar original songs. For example, their tender “as close to a love song as we’ll do” love song, “Stay Poetry” was inspired by Swedish words meaning “together in heaven.” The song is both sweet and catchy.
Looking up from bites of butterscotch pudding (the most fabulous dessert of my life), it was time for Stan to play his much-awaited hit “Fly.” Surprising us with some backstory, Stan went on to say “Fly wasn’t about girls, or what people often think. It was at a time when I was at a meeting with our record label with the band, and we desperately needed a hit song. There wasn’t much else going for us, and we’d have to go back to our old jobs. I went to the top of the building and looked down. It’s a song about wanting to exit. I just want to fly. I looked down off the roof of this building, you know? And out of it came a hit song.”
Whipping out our camera phones, cheesecake slices pushed aside, we let the band take us right back to the 90s. We enjoyed the music and breeze and reflected on the sentimental song.
Other highlights included Sugar Ray’s “Someday” and original songs “Burn the Ships” and “Ghosts.” “Ghosts” is edgier and has more rock n roll roots in it. Think sliding vocal notes and fun, punchy beats.
“Burn the Ships” features their signature harmonies. They also covered songs such as Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” and a raunchy, energizing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On.”
Between the wonderful drumming filled with detailed beats, each one intentional, the upbeat strumming patterns, and the changing, complex harmonies, the Side Deal captured the mood and aesthetic for a memorable, seaside Saturday.
It was carefree, barefoot music that left us dancing in our seats. “Fare Thee Well” ended the afternoon, as the band reminded us that we were brothers and sisters just trying to get through this world, and coming together to share a day of fun, food, and wonderful tunes.
Bayside Restaurant hosts two more Saturday concerts, presented by Irvine Barclay Theatre: Jazz greats John Clayton & Gerald Clayton with Kevin Kanner on Saturday, Oct. 24, and legendary OC surf band The Chantays on Saturday, Oct. 31. Cponcerts start at noon. Seating starts at 11:30 a.m.
Visit www.TheBarclay.org for tickets.