The 502’s make a pit stop in San Diego

Why I wish The 502s could stay with us longer than “Just a Little While.”
The 502’s make a pit stop in San Diego
Image by Lina Mauk for The UCSD Guardian

On Friday, May 17, San Diego welcomed the happiest band alive, The 502s, to The House of Blues. The Great American Road Trip tour opener, Zach Seabaugh, gave the crowd a unique blend of Georgian and Alabaman indie music. While anxiously waiting for The 502s, I paced around the venue, taking in its beauty and grandness. Despite its size and extensive strobe light effects, The House of Blues was still small enough to feel close to the band, and I felt lucky enough to be a few feet away from one of my favorite bands of all time. While it seems that tall people are always conveniently in front of us less advantaged individuals, due to the layout of the venue, particularly with a raised ledge near the bar, I was able to find a perfect spot to watch the rest of the show after I left the pit. 

When The 502s finally came out, the crowd roared in excitement. The band leaped right into “If Good Times Were Dollars” from their latest self-titled album. Throughout the song, they impressively managed to play the banjo, acoustic guitar, and alto saxophone while jumping up and down. I was starstruck by the amount of energy and pure joy that they brought to the stage. 

The lead singer, Ed Isola, asked us if we were ready to rock out before tearing it up with one of my most treasured songs, “Friday Night,” from their album “Stories to Tell.”  Every single track The 502s played began and ended in perfect synchronization, making me all the more infatuated with their ability to perform. 

In hindsight, earplugs would have been smart to bring to a loud and thrilling event like this. However, the band must have known my ears were getting destroyed as they mellowed down with  “Perfect Portrait of Young Love”— a perfect song for couples in the crowd, but not too slow for everyone else to dance along.

When Isola began explaining the story of how the band came together, I thought I knew what was coming next: a performance of the one song that got me into The 502s in 2021, “Just a Little While.” Isola told the audience that he had had no prior music experience and just thought “playing a banjo sounded cool,” so he ordered one to his dorm — something I have actually considered doing as well. He played the song’s iconic riff in the middle of his story and I screamed “This is my song!” Little did I know, they weren’t actually starting the song yet. 

Isola teased the song again and the crowd cheered louder, building more and more anticipation. Finally, after he was done detailing the band’s origin story, they played the song, and I sang my heart out to every word. One of my childhood best friends and I would listen to “Just a Little While” all throughout high school, and it made me so happy knowing that she and I got to see their concert within three days of each other, even though we live 500 miles apart. 

I have faced a lot of challenges this quarter that have forced me to grow as a person. Although it has been a struggle to push through, this concert helped me forget about everything: for that hour and a half, I felt an incomparable bliss. The 502s are easy to love, and I hope everyone has a chance to go to one of their concerts once in their lifetime.

The 502s performed in front of a sign onstage illuminating the words “the happiest band alive,” a sentiment I fully believe. As simple as it was, I couldn’t get the image out of my head, and it grounded me through the entire event. Attending The 502s was fully rejuvenating and has made me feel ready for the final sprint of Spring Quarter.

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About the Contributor
Lina Mauk
Lina Mauk, Staff Writer
Third year Clinical Psychology major. My goal is to continue writing while pursuing a career in therapy! I enjoy taking photos and devoting my time to art projects in my free-time.
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