Tahoe crowds are the best: Scott Pemberton to make North Shore splash
If you go
What: Scott Pemberton
When: 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Red Room
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — “There was a guy in a bear suit trying to stage dive,” says Scott Pemberton, reminiscing on the last time he played at the Crystal Bay Casino.
Pausing, Pemberton tacks on: “Tahoe crowds are the best.”
Indeed, the Portland, Ore.-based guitarist is itching to jump into the rowdy North Shore scene once again. Pemberton and his three-man backing band will take the stage of the CBC’s Red Room on Saturday.
“We’re so stoked,” Pemberton said. “It’s always been a really fun party with rowdy crowds and great hang time. And it’s an incredibly scenic spot.”
Not to mention, Pemberton — whose long hair and robust beard gives him a ZZ Top-esque aesthetic (he routinely performs in sunglasses, as well) — said he feels fully embraced by the fans when he performs in the Red Room.
In fact, “I feel like we’re maybe slightly too popular for that room,” Pemberton said. “Not to sound cocky, but it gets real packed front to back, people spilling out the sides.
“Everybody’s dancing, a lot of people know the songs … it’s fun. It makes us feel loved.”
‘IT ALL FITS TOGETHER’
Those planning to attend Saturday’s show — bear suit or no — will see why Pemberton beckons listeners in large numbers.
Shredding the guitar with palpable energy, Pemberton — who the Chico Enterprise-Record called “a modern day Jimi Hendrix” — unleashes a brand of music he’s labeled “timber rock,” nodding to the sounds of his Pacific Northwest roots.
Grunge. Blues. Funk. Those elements are all there, and just the beginning of Pemberton’s genre-blending scope.
“We’re like surf-y acid-rock funk with afro-beat concepts,” Pemberton said. “I think that’s part of what people find interesting about our shows. It goes in so many directions but it all fits together.
“In one show you’ll hear metal and funk and surf and it all works. I think that’s part of why we’ve been able to have some appeal.”
With influences ranging from Hendrix to spaghetti western music, the ever-eclectic Pemberton is an advocate for sustaining a fresh, freewheeling sound. In that vein, he said his band is using “some new instrumentation” on their current run of shows, implementing steel-pan percussion and a keyboard to go along with an electric bass, drums and guitar.
Since he first dedicated himself to making music in 2011, Pemberton has recorded three full-length albums — “SP3” (2011), “Sugar Mama” (2012) and “Timber Rock” (2015) — and has been a constant standout on the festival circuit.
“It’s been nice growth to where we are now, gradually going to new places,” Pemberton said. “That’s kind of been the model — gradual; letting things naturally exist.”
AMPED TO SKI
When he’s not bounding the stage with a ripping guitar solo, Pemberton likes to spend some of his energy ripping down the ski slopes.
Needless to say, Pemberton is hoping to carve out time for skiing while he’s in the area. After all, the last time Pemberton played in the Tahoe region during the ski season — last March at Sierra-at-Tahoe’s Equinox Spring Festival near the South Shore — the drought had already put a period on the resort’s winter operations.
With the Tahoe-TTruckee region’s ski season in full force this year, Pemberton hopes to take advantage.
“I’d love to ski,” Pemberton said. “I’m kind of setting down all the routing (for the tour) right now, and that’s the plan.”
Read more about Scott Pemberton at scottpemberton.com