The good vibes were in full effect at the Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach for one of the final stops of American Authors’ “Best Night of My Life” Tour. The band – Zac Barnett (vocals/guitar), Dave Rublin (bass), and Matt Sanchez (drums) – promoting their newest album, of the same name, were accompanied by Zac Taylor (guitar) of Van Bellman and had been touring the US for quite some time before making their stop here in San Diego. Though it wasn’t their first time performing in the Sun-Tax City, the group was well prepared to treat it as such and give SD a show we’d never forget. Best known for their stuck-in-your-head chart-topper “Best Day of My Life,” American Authors are a band whose pure joy and love for their craft is further illuminated by their stage presence that’s oh so closely reminiscent of singing your favorite jams with your best friends. It’s as if you’ve known them your whole life. Add to that a stacked tracklist of songs whose lyrics and melodies strike chords all across the emotional spectrum, their concerts are more than just a performance, they’re a reminder of what’s really important in life. This end-of-winter night was no different.

Opening for the headliner was Canadian singer-songwriter, Billy Raffoul. Stepping on stage with his signature mane, Raffoul immediately captivated the audience. His hauntingly beautiful melodies coupled with his raspy vocals left a gritty edge in the air that kept us mesmerized song after song. But what truly stood out with Raffoul was his ability to balance his deeply emotive and immersive performance with a light-hearted candor that showed another side to the artist. Peppered between each track, he captivated us with story after story about his experiences as a musician and I honestly didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did. Reminiscing about his early days, he admitted a lot had changed, more than he could’ve ever imagined. But one thing remained the same, his ride-or-die, Jenny. She’d been with him from the start, and never once left his side. That was until a few stops prior when she could no longer handle the daily grind of touring with a musician. She’s currently awaiting repairs at an auto body shop. Jenny is a Volkswagen Jetta! All jokes aside, Raffoul’s performance was raw and authentic and only made that much better by many of his top hits, including “Coffee” and “Acoustic.” Ending on a perfect high note for seamless segue into American Authors, he left the stage having made a lasting connection with his fans.

An energy swarmed the venue as the lights began to dim and American Authors made their way toward the crowd. Compared to other performances at Belly Up, the band’s set-up was understated, a perfectly balanced counterpoint to their larger than life presence. As soon as the lights hit, we were reminded of why they didn’t need to load up on gear and embellished decor as their monstrous personality filled the venue. Starting with “Believer” from their debut 2014 album, “Oh, What a Life!” American Authors took us back to where it all started. Thus began the rollercoaster of fun that included many of their top tracks, new and old, as well as a unique cover of “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers. In between songs, the band made celebratory announcements about their lives outside of their music; new engagements and adopted bearded dragons to name a few, and reminded us of the importance of family. Billy Raffoul even made a reappearance for a duet of “Neighborhood” with Barnett. After a particularly well-received reaction from the crowd, Barnett joked that he’s going solo and the two will now begin working on a new self-titled project aptly named “Cheek to Cheek” (see photos)! After their “seventh encore” their true encore began with “Live On,” and a reminder that although life is fleeting, it should be shared intentionally with the people we love the most. They closed out the night with an energetic dance party to “Best Day of My Life” and Solana Beach thundered with the echoes of the crowd singing along. American Authors put on a show of happiness and high-energy that made for a truly memorable experience. Though they only have a few more stops on their tour, they may be coming your way. Check out the rest of the their tour dates and locations at


  • Believer
  • Go Big Or Go Home
  • Mr. Brightside
  • We Happy
  • Blind for Love
  • Best Night of my Life
  • Deep Water
  • Neighborhood
  • Pocket Full of Gold
  • Bring It On Home
  • Pride/Love
  • Do My Own Thing
  • I’m Born to Run

*** Encore

  • Live On
  • good 4 you
  • Best Day of My Life

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