OC Music Awards at the Gypsy Lounge Last Night

Categories: OC Music Awards
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Strange Birds
OC Music Awards
Jan. 18, 2011
The Gypsy Lounge

It's been a long day, so here's what you need to know: last night's competition was held at the soon-to-be-shuttered Gypsy Lounge. Five bands performed, each rocking their full electric lineup. They played in the following order: Gromble, Strange Birds, May McDonough and Co., Kiev and California Condors. Here's a recap:.

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Gromble rock a Weezer-esque sound with a little more manic energy. Most of the time, this is a good thing, and lead singer Spencer Askin strains his lyrics and catchy melodies through a tightly clenched jaw. When the distortion kicks in, everybody in the band sort of spazzes out, twirling and hopping in jerky motions that seem a tad overwrought for the relatively tame music. Guys, you're not exactly Dillinger Escape Plan. Still, the band spout some catchy melodies buttressed by Napoleon Dynamite keyboards and a full array of wind instruments. Plenty of fun to watch.

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Strange Birds delivered the least inspiring material of the evening. Following the mania of the Gromble, these guys turned in a dreary, stone-faced performance. With languid, clean-toned guitars, they were the Valium to the Gromble's Ecstasy.

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
May McDonough and Co. are something to behold. The sultry singer busts out blues-infused cabaret numbers in a deep, smoky voice. As she strummed her guitar, her piercing eyes scanned the audience, her face occasionally breaking into a playful smirk. She is backed by two percussionists: one is a standard drummer, the other plays a menagerie of found instruments, including a propane tank and a bicycle with a brush attached, which sounds like a rattlesnake. As she played, girls in the audience could be heard commenting on how much they liked May's general style, both musical and aesthetic.

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Kiev. This band will be hard to beat at the finals. Sporting a sound that falls somewhere between Local Natives and Radiohead, this band rock five keyboards, guitars, expert percussion and some wicked sax. The basslines slither, and singer/guitarist Robert Brinkerhoff's keening vocals provide the perfect counterpoint. You need to see them.
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
California Condors were the second big disappointment of the evening. Imagine Pink Floyd as a simple three-piece band, but without the benefit of the keyboards of Nick Mason or the genius songwriting of Roger Waters or the smooth voice and excellent guitar work of David Gilmour. Not horrible, but the set was a bit of a chore to get through.

The Crowd: A typical gathering of alcoholic music fans gulping down cans of PBR. Also, as with any of the OC Music Award shows, lots of press photographers incessantly snapping pics.

Personal Bias: This is my second time seeing Kiev. They're better than I remember.

Random Notebook Dump: Honeypie lead singer and OC Award nominee Trisha Smith and Blok front man Damien Blaise were in the audience.

Overheard in the Crowd: "I like her style. I like her look. I like her sound," one young woman said of May McDonough.

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