He loves the nightlife

Che Perez

Photo By Larry Dalton

Che Perez is known by many as “The Vibemaster.” As the moniker implies, Perez possesses the ability to identify events with a happening vibe. He admits that he occasionally misses the mark, but after nearly 20 years on the scene, he has fine-tuned his “vibey-sense.” For the past two years, this night crawler has been posting events on his Web site, at www.sacvibe.com, and shedding some light on Sacramento’s nightlife.

How did Sacvibe get started?

The origins actually begin with a guy named Johnny Briones, who used to be a morning voice for KSFM 102.5’s The Morning Zoo. I ran into him in October 2002, and he said, “I just started this thing called Sacvibe. I can use you as a webmaster.” So, I brought him over to my house, we sat down for a night, and I hammered out a brand-new Web site for him. Fast-forward a year-and-a-half. Someone had bought Sacvibe from Briones and kept me on as the Web guy. I felt like I was putting 90 percent of the work into it, so why not just go ahead and buy it? So, I bought it, and for six months now, I’ve been running it full time.

Tell us about Sacvibe.

Sacvibe filters out the best of the best. Basically, I read all kinds of magazines, journals, Web sites and anything else I can get my hands on that has to do with music, concerts and special events. Then, based on my knowledge of Sacramento, I think, “If I was a visitor, what would impress me?” There are so many things going on, and honestly, they’re not all popping. I pick the ones that I think really have their game down tight.

Are you out there every night of the week?

I go out three to five nights a week, depending on what’s going on. I’ve pulled back a little bit, especially within the last month. I’ve made a major shift in focus from how we started, which was hitting bar after bar. I thought, “That’s not very vibey. What’s vibey is a special event or a concert.”

What makes an event vibey?

To be vibey, you’ve got to have music. That can be a deejay or live music. I’m not very hot on this new trend where deejays are just dropping CDs in. I understand that they’re spinning the vinyl and they’re producing the CD, but you’re missing some of the energy. Vibey doesn’t have to be at a Harlow’s or an Empire. I mean, it can be a free party at Discovery Park or McKinley [Park]. It has to be targeted toward a younger demographic, the 21-to-40-ish group. Mostly singles, but not necessarily. There has to be a near-capacity crowd. If your venue holds 100 people, and you’ve got 50, that can be vibey—so long as the music is good, the people are good, and sometimes if you have food, that helps.

Are you a night owl?

I enjoy the nightlife. I enjoyed it a lot more before I got into this. Now, going out is a job. Every time I go out, I take a big sigh and say, “All right, let’s grab the camera and the batteries and make sure I have film. All right, let’s go do this.” Even at major shows, I sort of feel jaded until I get there. Then, I’m reborn again, and I’m like, “This is going to be a great show, and I’m part of it.”

You must know a lot of people.

I meet a lot of interesting people, and I know things that I can’t even talk about. A lot of it’s hearsay, of course, because I meet roadies and stage handlers and tour managers, and when they get drunk at the VIP parties, they always want to talk about this artist or that artist. So, I hear a lot of interesting stories.

What do you say to people who complain that Sacramento has no nightlife?

I would say that they’re right. Sacramento is not a huge metropolitan, “urbane” cultural center, but there is culture here. And you can find most of it on Sacvibe.

Anything you would change about Sacramento’s nightlife?

I like how in San Francisco, if you want to go clubbing, you can park your car and you can walk half a mile and hit 12 clubs on one strip. Right now, we’ve got Empire on 14th and R, Harlow’s on 26th and J, 1815 at 1815 L, and we’ve got Aqua way out in Citrus Heights. We’ve got all these nice clubs, but they’re not close to one another. I think it would be really cool if the clubs would have stayed on a strip. If you want to go club hopping in Sacramento, you have to get in a cab and go across town. You can’t really feel the city that way.

Any upcoming events we should check out?

On July 8, we’ve got the Vans Warped Tour, which is the big punk show. For the old-timers, one of the biggest things coming up is Rush. Incubus is coming up. Van Halen, Dave Matthews and Sting with Annie Lennox. Those are the main shows.