The subtle plucking of Lauren Coleman’s ukulele could be slightly heard over the standard chitchat of bar conversations. The crowd was a mix of indie music fans out to hear the Long Beach, California, outfit and wanderers in from some kinda monster truck rally taking place outside the Fremont Street venue. Pebaluna’s jazzy, sometimes rockabilly, funky singer-songwriter tunes were catchy, despite the difficulty understanding the lyrics and even seeing the band in the darkness of the bar.
“This is a pretty cool place,” Coleman bantered between songs with the cute discomfort reminiscent of Ani DiFranco live. “I wasn’t alive in the ’60s, but this is what I’d imagine.” And then later when trying to get everyone snap along to “No I Can’t”: “I feel like a kindergartner teacher trying to get everyone’s attention.” Pebaluna also consists of Matt Embree sharing vocal and guitar duties (previously of the band Rx Bandits), plus familiar faces to local music fans in the form of drummer Jessica Lankford and bassist Jonathan Grillo. Highlights included selections off their Carny Life album including “Hopeless,” “Please Me,” and “Honey,” plus a cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t no Sunshine.” ★★★★☆