OC Music Awards at the Tiki Bar Last Night

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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