February 6, 2014

Closing my eyes during Cayucas’s set, I could see the ocean and feel the sand beneath my toes. The four piece indie-pop band from Los Angeles played to a sizable crowd before Young the Giant this past Thursday at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

“That’s the goal – bringing SoCal vibes wherever we go,” drummer Casey Wojtalewicz told me afterwards. Casey, a Minnesota native, had nothing but good things to say for our dear West Coast.

Their music reflects this appreciation, reminiscent of the Beach Boys’ California-infused vibe. Surf festival promoters take note: you’ll want these guys for your next event. The crowd was loving the set, dancing along and waving their fists in the air. Cayucas got a hell of a response for an opening act, albeit the second band of three on the bill.

The band expressed their gratitude to be back in the Bay Area, singing its praises by dedicating their fifth song to NorCal. The song featured a refrain of “Hella, hella, hella,” embodying the feeling of a homecoming show where most of the band members’ families were in the audience.

Cayucas played all eight songs from their debut LP Bigfoot, for which I gladly paid $10 after the show and had autographed on the spot. One of the things I look for in a band is their fan and crowd interaction; Cayucas gets the full credit on this one. The SF Culture Shock staff stayed for over half an hour after the show hanging out with the band, who were super friendly and more than willing to answer our questions.

It takes a lot for an opening act to catch the interest of an audience assembled for a big-name headliner, but Cayucas did just that. To top it off, lead singer Zach Yudin nailed his harmonies with the bassist, his twin brother Ben. Cayucas blew me away with their beachy vibes and feel-good tunes.

In addition to great music, Cayucas also offered great conversation. The band is looking forward to upcoming spring shows in Sacramento and Santa Cruz, where more family members will be in attendance. Hailing from Davis, Redwood City, and Minnesota, Cayucas are enjoying their time on tour reading and writing their own individual thoughts in personal journals. Keep your eyes out for a possible cover of Peter Bjorn and John’s hit “Young Folks.” Though they’d like to cover some older Beach Boys songs, they’re trying to be more relevant to a younger fanbase.

In the meantime, the SF Culture Shock team has Bigfoot on repeat in our office as we anticipate the March 15th show in Santa Cruz, where you’ll be sure to find us.


Photos by Sam Engel and Rachel Feder / Senior Staff