Club Helped Put The South Bay On The National Music Stage
My memories of Saint Rocke go back before it was Saint Rocke.
It was the Pitcher House at the time, a wall-worn, beer-drinking bar on 2nd and PCH in Hermosa Beach with live music before live music was much of a scene in the South Bay outside of, say, Carey Carloff at Pancho’s. I’ll never forget the time I saw Dick Dale, the self-proclaimed “King of the Surf Guitar,” ripping it on stage there one night.
It just goes to show the building was born for bands.
So when Allen Sanford moved in and turned it into Saint Rocke, well, that changed the South Bay music scene. Part of it was timing, of course, but I credit Saint Rocke for the explosion of the talented musicians and bands in the Beach Cities that are so prolific today. For the first time, they had a top-notch place to play and to grow, and music fans had a good place to listen to them in a local venue.
Sanford kept the Saint Rocke calendar full by bringing in regional and national touring bands, as well.
He also cleaned up the place; the first time I walked into it after its conversion from the Pitcher House, I said “wow, this is NICE!”
I knew instantly that Sanford had a hit on his hands.
“I had a blast performing there,” said Shari Puorto of the Shari Puorto Band. “It was a combination of the ambiance and the vibe of the venue. I really appreciated the fans who came out to come see the music.
“It was just all a good time.”
She also said that by bringing in national acts to compliment the local music scene, “Saint Rocke put Hermosa Beach on the map for musicians to come in and play. Which is really cool.”
Through the years, I have seen several bands at Saint Rocke. So many, in fact, it’s hard to remember them all, tho Slightly Stoopid comes immediately to mind.
Most recently I really enjoyed the Elvis tribute band Graceband. I also liked “battles” between The Beatles and Rolling Stones tribute bands.
Those were entertaining evenings.
As were most evenings at Saint Rocke. And let’s not forget that Sanford was instrumental in bringing bands that played at his venue to the beach for the Summer Concert Series.
There’s a good chance that the music will continue at Saint Rocke. Sanford has extensive connections in the music industry, as he proved with the highly successful debut of the BeachLife Music Festival in Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon, and one could of those connections could well become a buyer.
But, like the Pitcher House before it, the memories of Saint Rocke will linger long after this bar’s last call.