Earlier this year, Bay Park dive bar O’Connell’s was bought out by new owners, and all the regulars who called the ragged drinking hole their No. 1 place to hear mediocre bands had to go elsewhere. At least until this past August, when it became The Griffin (1310 Morena Blvd.)
I checked out the revamped bar on Saturday night; it's pretty snazzy relative to its history. The new owners added leather booths along the wall and cleaned up the place to look like a rustic, mid-century cabin with sandblasted wood walls. They replaced the sound system, so, even in the relatively small bar, the sound was clear throughout.
That comes in handy since The Griffin is hosting acts of all genres. The night before, an all-female rock night benefiting breast-cancer awareness went down, and every Sunday night they host a viewing party for the awesome AMC zombie show The Walking Dead.
But as fate would have it, my night was reggae night. I don’t have anything against reggae. It’s just that too many people are awful at it. On this night, a white woman from Ocean Beach called Lady Cellie fronted the band.
While I appreciate that she didn’t use a fake Jamaican accent (looking at you, British dude from UB40), she was still cheesy in her love of Jah and Mary Jane.
Lady Cellie was followed by an actual Jamaican called Englishman. The crowd went crazy for the guy. As one would expect, the place was filled with the colorful characters that are part and parcel of a reggae show: white dudes with dreads, people staring off into space with a goofy grin on their face, women who looked like they hated deodorant. I would’ve stuck out like a sore thumb, but, luckily, my allergies were acting up so my eyes were really red and watery. Not that it mattered. Everyone was so damn chill.