Indie rock band The Red Pears still remember what it was like to see their band name listed on the lineup poster for the Viva! Pomona Festival for the first time in 2018.
The El Monte-based trio played the outdoor stage back then, but are looking forward to returning this year as the Saturday headliner of the the two-day festival at The Glass House on July 15. Coco & Clair Clair will headline on Sunday, July 16 and some of the other acts on the bill include Los Aptos, Michael Seyer, Xavi, Isabella Lovestory, Sugar Pit, Snooper and many more.
“To come back with our names set as a headliner and playing The Glass House feels a bit surreal,” frontman and lead guitarist Henry Vargas said during a recent phone interview. “When we first started playing shows, we used to see Viva! Pomona flyers around the city and at venues, so it’s crazy how time has gone on, and now we’re here.”
Vargas and drummer Jose Corona first connected while attending Mountain View High School in El Monte in 2014, and met bassist Patrick Juarez a bit later on. Located just east of Los Angeles, El Monte has a population that’s more than 70 percent Latino according to the official city website. For the band members, who are all first-generation Mexican-American, they feel a sense of pride being from this area and that seeps into the music.
The Red Pears teeter on the sounds of early ’00s alternative and indie rock with an essence of the DIY punk culture. They’re heavily influenced by bands like The Strokes and Artic Monkeys, but still make the music their own. In just a handful of years, they’ve gone from smaller local stages to playing at festivals like SXSW, Tropicalia and, thanks to Viva! Pomona founder Rene Contreras, who also curates the Sonora Tent at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, The Red Pears made their Coachella debut in 2019. The band also joined Wild Nothing and Beach Fossil’s 2021 co-headlining tour, which sold-out two nights at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.
“A lot of people believed in our potential since the beginning, and Rene was one of them,” Corona said of the Viva! Pomona founder. “We always believed in what we could do, we had a vision for bigger, so being able to play at so many local backyard shows and smaller venue spots prepared us for the future, but also really humbled us. We never forget where we come from and Rene knows that, too.”
Nowadays, The Red Pears are playing the same stages and venues of bands they once looked up to, knocking a few off of the mental checklist they’ve had for years. They recently got the news that they’ll be supporting one of their favorite bands, Interpol. They’ll serve as the opening act for the New York rockers’ second show at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 30 alongside fellow Southern California rising act, DannyLux. Tickets are still available for that show, starting at $29.50 at AXS.com.
It’s a pretty big deal, Corona said, and it’s still something they’re trying to process.
“It all came together so naturally, and that’s the cool thing about it, I mean to open up for a band we’ve been listening to for a while and a band who’s been so influential in the early 2000’s alternative scene in New York is insane,” Vargas added with a laugh. “The fact that they even know about us is insane, too. It hasn’t really hit us yet, but once we get on that stage, I swear, I know it will.”
As for The Red Pears’ upcoming performance at Viva! Pomona, they feel it’s simply right timing and the right place, considering one of the band’s first shows was actually just a few blocks away from The Glass House in a dusty, small backyard. It’s a cherry on top for the group — for now — and they can’t wait to hit that stage and play in front of fans, many of whom have been there and supportive since day one.
“There’s so much growth we’ve had to do throughout the years, and this show means a lot to us because fans can see that growth,” Juarez said. “We’re hoping to release some new music during this set, so I think the fans who have been with us for a while are going to love it. I mean we love it, so that’s what matters.”
When: 3-11:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15-Sunday, July 16
Where: 200 W. 2nd Street, Pomona
Tickets: Two-day passes are $50; single-day tickets are $30 at theglasshouse.us.