Armed with a new drummer and a debut album in its sights, South Lake Tahoe reggae-rock band Weapon is cocked, locked and ready to rock.
The band takes the stage Friday at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa’s Blu Nightclub as the opening act for Long Beach Rehab, the Southern California band that includes members of Sublime, Bad Brains and Smash Mouth.
Weapon has been playing music in and around South Lake Tahoe for the last two years. Todd Christensen (bass) and Billy Blurton (guitar, vocals) recently recruited Matt Mandella (drums), a graduate of Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, after the group’s prior drummer left the band. The band also revamped its sound in the last year.
“We were doing like a bluesy rock band, but we just kind of wanted to switch up the pace and find something that everyone enjoyed, young and old,” Christensen said. “It’s just fun dancing music, but we definitely like to rock out hard at times, just get a nice flavor of everything.”
Weapon is currently fine-tuning its initial record, with a release date expected later this summer. Titled “Weapon’s Roots,” the album was recorded in Reno. Many of the group’s original tunes develop out of band jam sessions, Christensen said.
“A lot of it, we just get together and are having a lot of fun,” the bassist said. “A lot of times I’ll just come up with a bass line and we’ll just start jamming out. Then Billy comes in and we just start going from there.
“Sometimes we don’t write the songs, the songs write themselves. A lot of times they just click and happen. Some of them come out phenomenal.”
Friday won’t be the first time Weapon has appeared with Long Beach Rehab. The bands have played together on several occasions.
“It’s almost like our anniversary show because our first show was two years ago about this time with Long Beach Rehab at Brothers Bar,” Christensen said. The two groups also appeared together in November in Mammoth Lakes, a show that Christensen said was Weapon’s largest to date.
“We’re a really good match for them, I feel,” the bassist said. “We’ve played with them a couple times. They bring a really good show, a bunch of Sublime tunes that everyone loves.”
Beyond the upcoming album, Weapon’s members are mostly focused on growing their reputation both within and beyond the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“We’re really hoping to get out of town this fall, after this summer,” Christensen said. “I think this summer is going to be really good for us, especially after we got this new drummer.”
With summer shows scheduled at the American Legion, Whiskey Dick’s Saloon and the Boil ‘n Fry Day at MontBleu, Weapon will have ample opportunity to do its thing in front of hometown crowds. According to Christensen, Weapon’s aim is a simple one: “Really trying to make people feel happy and have fun and dance is, I guess, our main goal.”