OC Music Awards at the Tiki Bar Last Night

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
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With the final showcase of the OC Music Awards looming, the Tiki Bar was host to night five of the months-long event. Last night featured four hard-rock bands (and one reggae band) competing in the Best Live Performance category. With the bewildering addition of reggae outfit Seedless, the show reinforced the notion that this competition does not feature a level playing field. At least half of the performers were grossly outclassed by the few shining stars. 

Here's the breakdown:

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

She Screams Remedy: This quintet is fronted by diminutive-yet-spunky vocalist
Kryston Gammon. Backed by a group of burly tattooed dudes, she led the charge and thrashed her way through the set. Their sound is a chugging brand of hard rock, heavy on the grooves and featuring male/female two-part harmonies. The vocals are extremely derivative of Evanescence, while the song arrangements (along with the relative youth of the members) remind one of the recently disbanded Paramore. Watching Gammon bang her head in unison with the three males behind her gave the performance a choreographed feel that looked sort of comical.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Entice: No, this isn't a new perfume developed by
Britney Spears, but rather a dance-pop band with psuedo-garage rock leanings. The overall bounciness of the music is reminiscent of  Bloc Party, but without that band's talent and presence. Lead singer Leland Isaac has yet to learn to sing from his diaphragm; as a result, his voice lacks resonance and frequently wanders off-key. This glaring drawback detracted from the band's overall performance and lent an air of absurdity to guitarist Tony Chopp
's stage presence.  The axeman did little jigs while strumming and singing along to every word, despite his vocals not being miked.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Railroad to Alaska: Just when I thought Night Five was a lost cause, these guys took the stage and delivered the standout performance of the evening. The quartet, whose bread and butter is metal, use a songwriting strategy best described as sonic alchemy. Drawing on disparate elements within the genre, Railroad's jams are incredibly dynamic and switch time signatures frequently. But instead of coming across as a jumble of pieced-together verses and choruses, the band's tight delivery seems to fuck with the passage of time. And while the influences present in their music (
Sabbath, the Fucking Champs, At the Drive In
, even Dead Kennedys) come from all over the map, the band manage to maintain focus and deliver a blistering, manic set of tunes.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Pistolero: These guys would be second in my book for the evening. Though they were every bit as heavy as Railroad, they played a more conventional form of thrash that's somewhat derivitive of acts rocking this sound for the past three decades. Singer Donnie Deschenes has a voice similar to Pantera front man Phil Anselmo, but with more of a screech than a growl.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

Seedless: This one was a head-scratcher. I'm not quite sure how this band ended up on the bill, but one thing came across loud and clear: the last thing Orange County needs is another reggae band. Though they had the biggest crowd turnout and most enthusiastic response, Seedless played a homogenized version of the Caribbean style that would serve well at a residency at Sharkeez Huntington Beach. 

Though vocal duties were shared by Matt Liufau and guitarist Casey Sullivan, it was Liufau who was positioned center-stage. He spent as much time preening to the audience, grunting and cupping his ear to listen to applause as he did singing. The white boys dancing in the audience with their cocktails held away from them didn't seem to mind. The best thing about this band is the keyboardist, who rocks a sonic arsenal of outer-space sounds and has the chops to match.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

The Crowd:
 Lots of pretty girls in knee-high boots or stiletto heels. Dudes in trucker hats, hoodies and glasses. Kudos to the girl in the über-short Kiss T-shirt. Everybody in the joint got a good look at the bottom of her breasts, as well as her butt crack, not to mention her silky-smooth shaved groin and the majority of her torso. Cheers!

Overheard In the Crowd: "You guys fucking rock," shouted a girl during Pistolero's set.

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36 comments
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Joe Reaves
Joe Reaves

But seriously how hard did Railroad to Alaska kick ass! I have no clue how these guys aren't widely popular yet, opening for major acts on large tours right now. They seem to have the stage presence and talent to be a real power house on a large stage / platform. I really cant wait to see what else Railroad to Alaska brings to the table in 2011. I also really enjoyed Pistolero and wasn't disappointed by them at all its the brand of music I enjoy and its got a really great infection energy about it, but I am open to other music if it strikes a chord with me impresses me. Sadly to say no one else that night really had anything else to offer other then the styling of tribute bands.... at least the writer has the balls to write as he saw fit instead of babying everyone, and to those whos asses are soar from this review or critique if you cant handle the critique of a local mag, Then I really fear for you.

Danielle Bacher
Danielle Bacher

Brandon Ferguson wrote this article based on his opinion of the show. Although you may not agree with the review, he reported what he saw/felt. The OC Weekly is not going to praise every band who plays at the OC Music Awards just because we're a music blog. We support all local/national acts, but we are going to write how we perceived the show. I hope everyone can respect that. For those bands who did not get a good review, take that as constructive criticism and prove us wrong. We all want to hear some damn good music.

Best,Danielle BacherInterim Music Editor

Randy
Randy

No one cares Danielle. Your a music editor for a shitty free magazine. dur dur dur

Danielle Bacher
Danielle Bacher

The OC Weekly is a newspaper, Randy. And if you didn't care then why did you comment?

actually attended
actually attended

Woah, woah, woah, let's not get carried away here Tsirishsurf (wtf?), 200 people singing in the audience for Seedless? Let's start with the fact that Tiki Bar's capacity is 250. When Railroad was playing I couldn't even move to set down my drink and I heard the line was all the way around the corner and no one could get in. By the time Seedless played it was pretty much cleared out minus the die-hard friend-fans doing the hula, brah. Everyone knew the lyrics to their songs? Just to make sure everyone get's a Railroad fan's bias of what went down, I'm pretty sure at least half of the dance floor was chanting "RAILROAD" for a solid minute before they went on and if they'd played last (or not on a 5 band night) I'm sure they would have gotten an encore, too. Not to mention the whole crowd sang along to "Learn to Share." Kudos to Ferguson. Hail Railroad!

Musiclover198510
Musiclover198510

No one hating on railroad here.... they did really well. Just the articles bashing on the other bands.

Seedless had a great crowd especially for the last band of the evening on a Tuesday night. Still wall to wall, still singing the songs, still asking for an encore (it happened). It was a great night and i definitely think it will come down to Railroad and Seedless. The whole point of this show was to lift up all these bands for their accomplishments, and this article failed to do so.

Dolsa
Dolsa

Railroad is GOD!

Pops
Pops

Having listened to music and been into every style on our planet, I find it hard to believe Brandon, that you even stuck around to hear Seedless. They killed it and you didn't see 200 people singing and jamming to every song they sang with Railroad. I thought Railroad was beyond great, Entice was cool, vocals hurt them, Pistolero also rocked hard, but Railroad did win that metal contest. If you got off on She Screams then you should stop writing reveiws. They will be a bad ass band someday but not Tuesday Night. Seedless matched Railroad with their style and energy but, come on, they are so completely opposites in their style!! Casey stopped singing Twisted Love and the whole bar took over, going off!! All the band rocked but to tear up Seedless the way you did Brandon shows way heavy prejudice for a review writer. They are not even close to being a Reggae roots type band. Uso will have the last laugh Brah. Aloha and Mahalo to you Brandon, you got the Seedless Nation pumped up . Thanks and enjoy the Big 4 Metal concert. watch out for the Meth freaks when Slayer goes on!!

Chrystal
Chrystal

I wasn't only judging the bands by musicianship, but also by looks. Railroad wins. Hands down.

Mexishaq
Mexishaq

chrystal, your a ruh-tard

cassie
cassie

reading this shit just pisses me off whether i agree with it or not. This is beyond constructive criticism and closer to bashing. I cant believe ocweekly would even post this.

advocate666
advocate666

I think the journalistic integrity/p.r. over at KROQ has pitched a few of your panties into a bunch with some inflated 'egos'. After having seen most of the nominated bands on multiple occasions, and not feeling much more than a compulsion to search my pockets for a pair of earplugs; I had almost discredited the entire orange county music scene and awards until I read these very aptly named, critiques. It's refreshing to finally read a real opinion that isn't fulsomely stroking your egos while shamelessly stroking your shafts; which must be a nice change of pace from wanking it to your own YouTube videos.

Atamoukian
Atamoukian

Everyone else has already said what i would like to, but let me point out some of the things NO ONE has pointed out yet. I will not be bashing any bands that were up there tonight but all i know is railroad to alaska was pretty damn good and seedless stole the show away from every other band. They had the best sound, the best audience, and they even had an encore. Dont get to mad everybody, remember this guy is only an ocweekly writer that doesnt know shit about music. Have fun scratching your head when seedless wins.

Jack
Jack

With all due respect to seedless, cause they earned it with their performance, i didn't hear the crowd ask for an encore...but i did see an ugly bartender ask them for one more song.

AV
AV

You must really like system of the down

advocate666
advocate666

are they a tribute band to "System of A Down?

billy
billy

and he must be bored of muse and james blunt

Bob L - Costa Mesa
Bob L - Costa Mesa

To me, the main point of this article is that most of these bands didn't have the creativity, originality or talent that it should take to be awarded as the best band in Orange County. I'm with Brandon, wondering how some of these bands were even chosen for the competition. Where are all the really original bands? Where are the Growlers? Where's Roosterhead? At least we still have BLOK to look forward to at the Fullerton OCMA competition, guaranteed they will bring their best stuff and represent the OC!

Dean
Dean

Originality doesn't define if you are a good band. It helps, but utilizing existing trends and adding to them is just as praise worthy. And as much as you want to believe that bands like the growlers are original...common. And other groups that embrace originality over musicianship (abandoning basic popular structure and sound) don't deserve praise either. Blok is a complete joke in regards to their music.

BTW this writer, if you follow his style and articles is much more into bands that are heavy. He just wants face melting shit and could care less about anything vibey or pretty.

Impressed by 2
Impressed by 2

It was a close tie between Railroad to Alaska and Seedless for me. I came to watch one of the other bands but those two stood out. I am still trying to wonder if this writer was actually at the concert while Seedless was playing? Utterly biased and very childish report on such an amazing band. If you took a look at the music scene outside of "The Detroit Bar" and "La Cave" you would realize that Seedless sounds nothing like "Carribean" anything. Wake up Furguson.

Music Lover
Music Lover

This is actually the best review I've read for a very long time. I was at this show, and this review is pretty spot-on accurate. I don't consider myself a metal fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a huge music fan, and part of that is being able to distinguish between good and bad performances, and between originality and cliche.

If we only have reviews that sugarcoat and spin bad performances to make them sound amazing, then how can we accurately measure musical quality in the first place, and develop good musical taste? It's our responsibility as music lovers to appreciate quality and originality, and to be able to distinguish for ourselves what bands possess those qualities.

I applaud Brandon Ferguson for his honesty, sense of humor, and the favor he's done to all of us music fans by giving us truth rather than lip service. Just think how great OC music could be if everyone, artists and fans alike, accepted nothing less than the best.

switzerland
switzerland

There are plenty of fluffy reviews out there for anyone who felt like this one didn't aptly describe the shows actual events or provide an accurate (purely subjective) description of the bands and their talent(s). I would suggest reading only articles and reviews which match your own views and opinions. Which is both healthy and very progressive and will surely increase your scholarly approach to journalism and art.

Sure, Brandon probably stood out like a, "SOUR THUMB" as one commentator has ironically pointed out, and yes his mother should have used her vagina to "swallow him" (... although it seems she had). Give him some credit. He's reviewing the nite as he perceived it.

Advice: When your band gets a good review use it as inspiration. Likewise, when your band gets a less than favorable review... Use it as inspiration. Brandon does not decide whether or not you will get into heaven.

Lover of All Music
Lover of All Music

There is a big difference between looking at the night subjectively and giving your thoughts, then obviously showing love for your favorite while tearing down the hard work of the rest. No need to bring in such harsh words to bands that obviously have worked there butts off to get to the recognition they deserve. Now as they try and utilize this great honor to be recognized by their community, the one source of music that supposedly represents them tears them a new one in print. This will be back logged in search engines and leave an imprint regardless of how small it may be.

Sorry "Sore Thumb" turned into "Sour Thumb" my phones autopredict got the best of me. I guess i should of taken more time to proof read this illustrious comment on the OcWeekly website. Either way, the writer stirred up the pot and got a convo going, but he made multiple enemies who aren't so pleased with his "craft"

Kylie Ferrata
Kylie Ferrata

Pistolero was amazing I've seen them before and they never disappoint. Railroad was definitely a close second. I don't have much to say about the other bands other than it wasn't for me.

OC Music Awards
OC Music Awards

Thank you to all performers on Night 5. We very much look forward to seeing and hearing more!!

OC Music Awards

J Friedrich
J Friedrich

This is the worst review ever! Your mother should've swallowed you!

Lover of all Music
Lover of all Music

It appears that Brandon (the writer) should spend more time writing blogs for the OC Weekly and less time following a career in reviewing music or journalism for that matter. He makes notions to the amount of pretty women present at the venue however with his obvious bias to "his" type of music he lacks the qualities that your everyday woman would be attracted to. My guess is he stood out like a sour thumb last night and felt uncomfortable when something with positivity was thrown at him. I am glad you found your vice to comfort your insecurities. Keep metal alive pal, and way to slam bands that have leaps and bounds more talents then your writing ability.

drewski27
drewski27

so are you trying to say that orange county needs more metal bands? because you're a FUCKING MORON. please do everyone a favor and send in your shitty review of everything not metal to your mother so she can tell you how worthless you're still gonna be when you grow up. no, seriously asshole, next time you write a report such as this, pay attention to the fucking bands. you're a pretentious little turd if you think that metal is all that matters.

Advocate666
Advocate666

Reggae-fusion should stay in the grave with Bradley Nowell

pick6
pick6

advocate666 why dont you stop trying to pull down new progression in music, the only thing you can do in music is keep progressing. stop watching headbangers ball and your old ozzfest tapes, buy a new slayer t-shirt and rethink what you just said

Anaheimer
Anaheimer

I think this was a very bias decision and has to be one of the worst revues I've ever read!

Dave
Dave

Woah, sounds like your a metal head. This is a poorly written article with extremely loose and unpolished ideas and opinions.

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