OC Music Awards at Detroit Bar Last Night

Categories: OC Music Awards
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
New Limb performing at Detroit Bar
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Honestly, I've never seen Detroit Bar as jam-packed as it was last night, the kickoff for the 2011 OC Music Awards series. Hipsters stormed the place, and everyone seemed to have (or know personally) a favorite band. KROQ covered the evening, and Wahoo's even showed up to give away free tacos to the first 50 people. The local acts are competing for the title of Best Live Band, and each desperately wanted to top those who went before and move on to the finals. Last night's roster included Preacher's Sons, Semi Sweet, the Colouristthe Steelwells and The New Limb. Since I am a judge this year, I'm reporting from a different perspective: one in which I don't dish too much information on the band I've selected to move on in the competition. You'll have to wait to find out.

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Preacher's Sons
​Fullerton-based indie/folk group Preacher's Sons (also a featured Locals Only this month) delivered a fluid six-song set highlighted by singer/guitarist Brandon Pfaff's warm vocals and Jared Garcia's twangy guitar. The highlight of their set was "Poison Oak," a sweet, loping pop gem. Midway through their time onstage, Pfaff encouraged all the attendees to move closer. He assured the crowd, "We aren't that weird. I know we are all wearing matching outfits, but come join the music."

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Semi Sweet
Semi Sweet performed next, and they took a vastly different approach. Tricked out with red lights and bubbles, the band unfortunately got totally lost in their own sound. You could barely hear Cassie Walter's voice as she tried to enunciate the lyrics. The highlight of their set was when Kim Conlan joined them on the accordion. It added a nice element to their music, but the song "Sleazy" was as bad as its name. The only cool part about it is that the video was filmed at Detroit Bar. 

The booze-loving lunatics in attendance didn't mind, though, and they kept rocking on to Costa Mesa's The Colourist. Since they had been nominated for Best New Artist and Best Song at the 2010 OC Music Awards and had snagged the title Best Live Band in the Weekly's Best Of issue, I was excited to hear what the band had in store for us. Singer/guitarist Adam Castilla and drummer Maya Tuttle really played off each other well. Their chemistry onstage was infectious, and Tuttle's voice was heavenly.

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
The Steelwells
​By the end of the Colourist's set, Detroit was packed to the brim. It was hot and sweaty, and the crowd loved it. I had to judge the rest of the show from the bar, but folk-rockers The Steelwells put on an amazing performance. The fans went crazy for their haunting lyrics and melodic guitar strums. 

The New Limb were the last to perform, and the piano-infused pop/rock was a nice closer to the evening. The last song in their set was one of the coolest renditions of the New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" I've ever heard. Singer Joey Chavez and pianist/singer Lauren Salamone jumped offstage and played the beginning of the song without the rest of the band. It was somewhat hard to hear Salamone playing the melodica, but it was nice to experience something different. The crowd seemed a bit confused, but after the introduction, the band hopped back onstage to finish the classic. All in all, it was a fun and energetic evening--and a great way to kick off the award series.

Personal Bias: I can't have one. I'm an impartial judge, damn it!

The Crowd: It's Detroit Bar; need I say more?

Overheard In the Crowd: A devoted fan screamed, "We need more cowbell!"

Random Notebook Dump: The old man dancing in the front row during Preacher's Sons set is my hero.
Check out a video recap below:

Location Info


Detroit Bar - CLOSED

843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, CA

Category: Music

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