Technology with attitude

Review: The Coach House has Common Sense


We had a late start on Sunday night and missed the Pacific Festival OC on Sunday. Not to be outdone by poor time management skills, I hopped online to find some damn live music to groove to. Four minutes later we were on our way to see a local reggae band, Common Sense, at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.

Not really knowing what to expect, I was a little thrown off by The Coach House’s interior layout, which is to say it was a simple banquet-style room with a dimly lit bar in the back, opposite a talent show type stage. Weaving through chairs and long tables we found a seat with a clear shot of the stage, which was actually a bit of a challenge given the energetic crowd dancing on all sides.

Having never heard Common Sense before, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. Thankfully, they were pretty damn good.

Their frontman, Nick Hernandez, looks like the guy with a story for everything, as if his life’s been turned upside-down once or twice before. This might actually be to his credit as his passion for the music was apparent, though it still seemed second to his passion for the female fans in the front row. Performing shirtless, the junk grabbing somehow deflated the message in the music, given the children in the audience. I wonder if these decisions were calculated or just instinctual.

Despite the at times over-the-top stage presence, Nick is a talented singer and you can see that he feels the music which results in a soulful delivery. The same energy is mirrored in his bandmates. Having arrived a little late I’m sure I missed much but I did get to thoroughly enjoy a couple amazing guitar solos. The guitarist, Phil Gough, kicked the crap out of his obligation to Jimi Hendrix in their rendition of All Along The Watch Tower.

Phil Gough rocking out.

Nearly as entertaining as the performance on stage were the fans in the crowd. From the face-plant-drunk middle-aged women dancing at the stage, to the tall Rasta that jumped for an hour straight and finally to the conservative older couple that sat quietly at our table bobbing their heads – this was a true demonstration of age, race and cultures transcending divides to enjoy some good music in their own individual ways.

In all, The Coach House seemed to know what it takes to put on a worthwhile show. The crowd was mixed for optimal people watching and sparse enough to move about comfortably. The drinks were a little steep but strong. And the entertainment was well worth the entry fee.

Though if I were a drinker, I imagine a complaint might be the lights coming up and chairs getting stacked once the music ended at midnight. If you come down for a show, have some after party plans and a safe ride to get there, since The Coach House doesn’t seem interested in keeping the doors open until last call.

Nevertheless, I plan on going back to enjoy more live music, especially if I can hear a quality live performance of Bob Marley’s – Could You Be Loved again.

Where: The Coach House
33157 Camino Capistrano , San Juan Cpstrno, CA 92675
When: Regularly
Cost: $15-$30 per ticket (depending on performer)
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