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A Frog and Its Reggae Revolution


It's obvious summer is near when clubgoers shed their jeans and turtleneck sweaters in favor of shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops.

Or when a scenester shows up for a night on the town wearing a bathing suit.

Summer is the "in" season Sunday nights at Sen~or Frog's Restaurante y Cantina in Redondo Beach. The restaurant and club features live reggae starting at 8 p.m. and draws a casual crowd of Rastafarians and beach bunnies sporting warm weather fashions and grooving to a laid-back beat.

Singing Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff," Urban Dread singer Jahmark DaCosta sets the tone of a recent evening. As the lyrics roll off the tongue of this native Jamaican, his knee-length dreadlocks, topped off with a top hat, sway to the tempo of the reggae beat.

"I love reggae because it's danceable," DaCosta says.

He is not one to hog the mike, so after a few tunes by Inner Circle and Shabba Ranks followed by some originals, he hands over the show to keyboardist Jason Bourne, who invites regular Mike Z. onto the stage for a rap-style reggae. Clad in a Dodgers jersey, baseball cap and shorts, Mike Z. breaks into a solo of "I Love You Too Much." While the Rastafarians take a break, a deejay spins reggae as if to keep the summer sun from setting. As the syncopated sounds of UB40 and Ziggy Marley bounce off the walls, which are wildly decorated with paintings of frogs and Mexican tourist trinkets, patrons keep their feet moving until the live music resumes.

Sen~or Frog's is a very American Mexican restaurant known best among travelers as a party place that attracts big crowds in Cancun and Mazatlan. The 1-year-old Redondo Beach night spot is the chain's only north of the border location.

In keeping with its tradition of entertaining vacationers, the hacienda-style restaurant is in Redondo Beach Marina overlooking the water. There is an outdoor patio where patrons can congregate under the stars, but most prefer the large lounge.

Reggae is not the only fare served up on the club's entertainment menu. Wednesday and Thursday nights are reserved for regular rock bands Bootie Quake and the Persuader Band and alternative rock night was recently started on Mondays to bring in new talent. On Fridays and Saturdays, a deejay spins disco.

Although disco nights are the most popular, Sundays attract a crowd.

"I come to hear reggae because it feels more like vacation, like summer," said Lella Warfel of Hermosa Beach. Wherever you hear it, she says, "The music makes you feel like you're at the beach."


Where: Sen~or Frog's Restaurante y Cantina, 655 N. Harbor Blvd., Redondo Beach; (310) 318-7117.

When: Reggae Night, Sundays, 8 p.m. to midnight.

Cost: Domestic beer, $3; margaritas, $3.75; enchilada verde, $7.95; carne asade, $8.95; nachos, $5.95.

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