The OC Music Awards Last Night at the City National Grove of Anaheim

growlers222.jpg
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
The Growlers won Best Surf
10th Annual OC Music Awards 
The City National Grove of Anaheim

As the 10th Annual OC Music Awards sails off into our memories, there are a few highlights to discuss. 

The final awards show, held Saturday night at the City National Grove of Anaheim, was a well-produced, smoothly run affair, thanks to the efforts of directors Luke Allen and Ashley Eckenweiler. It lived up to its promise of offering local musicians the opportunity to get some well-deserved exposure. And the event didn't disappoint, offering its fair share of rousing live performances and surprise winners. 

There were also a couple of unexpected outbursts (or expected, depending on how you look at it), not the least of which occurred immediately after the show, when Weekly Music Editor Lille Bose and I were approached by the mother of the band who just won for Best Electronic Act, the ever-entertaining freak-rap trio BLOK
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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
BLOK won Best Electronica. Their mom believes they're geniuses
Mama BLOK accused me of trashing her daughter, co-MC Gianna Gianna, in previous blog posts, adding that she had never read such weird reviews and admonished me to "stick to the music," which she insisted was genius. 

Indeed. Perhaps we should all stick to music from now on, especially BLOK, who rely heavily on visual gimmickry in their live performances. I would add I have given BLOK favorable press in the past, specifically in an interview with front man Damien Blaise published in a question-and-answer format--a style that serves as easy publicity for musicians looking to gain exposure. 

As for the bands who were trashed during the weeks-long lead-up to the final event, be thankful--scores of hard-working musicians never achieve a level of notoriety that affords the opportunity for a good critical trashing.

As for the music, the show consisted of the announcement of 21 awards, each decided by an academy of music journalists, radio DJs, venue owners and other industry professionals.  A lifetime-achievement award was presented to Stan Freese and an impact award given to Social Distortion. Each was handed out by various industry insiders and event sponsors including Weekly Editor in Chief Ted B. Kissell and Music Editor Lille Bose.  

The presentations were interspersed with several live performances from an eclectic coterie of musicians including Stacy Clark, The Steelwells, Evan Stone's Jazz Comporium, Micah Brown, Dahga Bloom and others.  

Most of these artists performed at earlier showcases, with the notable exception of psychedelic experimental band Dahga Bloom, a shame because they gave one of the most remarkable showings of the evening.  

Sitting on a darkened stage, backed by flickering colorful geometric shapes, the sextet was configured in a tight semi-circle and played an instrumental jam featuring atonal, wheezing keyboards occasionally drowned out by wonky radio-wave sounds. This was all accompanied by a steadily chugging back beat whose conventional essence was at odds with the sonic cacophony it was backing. Truly compelling shit. 

Bluesman Micah Brown also delivered a soulful performance and showed why he deserved the title of Best Acoustic act. The axeman, who hid behind dark shades and a bushy beard while sitting on the Grove's massive stage, demonstrated once again his mastery with six strings as his fingers nimbly danced across the fret board and his rhythm hand picked out a melody with the locomotion of a hungry caterpillar.

 As for the award announcements, the big surprises (or not, depending on how you view it) included Huntington boys Avenged Sevenfold, who took the prize for Best Metal band. Not exactly an upset, the nod demonstrated the just how staggered talent in the categories can be. This particular group included well-established international acts pitted against local up-and-comers. We would have liked to see Railroad to Alaska take this one for their unique approach to a well-tread genre. No matter, they won for Best New Artist. 

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Stan Freese was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award
​But of all the performances and award winners, nothing approached the levity brought upon the room by Stan Freese, who accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as the Disneyland music director. Freese spent 10 years as a tubaist on the '70s variety show Hee Haw and is the father of Vandals drummer and musical gun-for-hire Josh Freese. Stan's award was presented by Disney Director of Creative and Parks Entertainment Marylin Magness, who, in one of the night's other big surprises, notified the audience she had purchased her first G-string for the event. (Has somebody spiked the punch in the house of mouse?)  Before giving him his award, Magness recounted seeing Freese lead the Disney marching band down Main Street USA years ago and, unlike other band leaders who walked a straight path, would veer from side to side so he could touch the folks lining the curb. His passion for the work he's done was made apparent by a short biography beamed onto the stage's two massive monitors and included interviews with Josh Freese as well as Vandals bassist Joe Escalante. As he delivered a heartfelt acceptance speech, he was joined onstage by Mickey in the flesh--or, rather, cloth. He told aspiring musicians to be "the best you can at what you're doing." 

The night ended with the announcement of Best Album, which again went to Avenged Sevenfold. Before the prize could be claimed, however, one of the members of the electro rap duo Wildboys, a bloke who operates under the pseudonym Charles Bronson, hijacked the microphone in a Kanye West moment and said something about local indie band New Limb making a great album followed by phrases such as "I don't care if you hate me" and some shit about God blessing "faggots" and "rapists." Oh, Bronson, we can't help but wonder what mischief you'll get into next. Maybe I can introduce you to BLOK's mom. She might have some choice words for you.

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Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Martin Sanchez of Wildboys has a Kanye Moment
The Crowd: An eclectic mix of young music fans, Orange County bands and older industry types. Unlike previous showcases, however, the attire was classed up slightly, lending a prom-night vibe.   

Overheard: "Stick to the music!"

Award Winners:  Click here.



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24 comments
chris h
chris h

This whole awards night was such a joke.

A mother defending her children, who she is very proud of.. how could you blame her?

As for the live performances..I thought Dahga Bloom performance was interesting! You don’t necessarily need captivating vocals to be a rock band.

"the special secret guest" .. everyone had a blank look on their face showing the emotion "who are these random guys that sound like a rip off of NIN?" What the hell were they thinking. I rather have watched dahgla bloom hit random percussion instruments for 20 mins.

Steelwells sounded bland and boring. There music is ok though. “no hard feelings”

Evan Stone = AMAZING

Charles Bronson= he didn’t perform but I must say he’s quite the poser.

I’ve know Mr Freese for a long time I’m glad he won.

..and for a majority of the other winners congrats.. but I’m sure some of you were somehow connected with the heavy hitter sponsors on this awards night tisk tisk.

Sophia Green
Sophia Green

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Blokhead
Blokhead

Brandon. Just write about the music, dude. The music. Write about it. He's a genius.

gabriel san roman
gabriel san roman

If you're going to rip a writer, at least use your full name. I'm sure Brandon won't make it a point to seek you out at a public event and give you a piece of his mind!

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voguec

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Anonymous
Anonymous

For those who are applauding the author's writing, those critiquing are just following suit to the author's own philosophies as expressed in the above article:

"As for the bands who were trashed during the weeks-long lead-up to the final event, be thankful--scores of hard-working musicians never achieve a level of notoriety that affords the opportunity for a good critical trashing."

That being said, I am not a wronged musician, fan, or a parent. But Brandon deserves a good critical trashing for his continued mockery of objective, impersonal journalism.

If he can dish it, he should be likewise served.

Clear Channel
Clear Channel

I commend Brandon Ferguson for continually speaking his mind regardless of the criticism he receives from "wronged" musicians, their parents, or "fans." Thank you for providing some integrity in a blind orange sea of lemmings.

bob log
bob log

Terrible article. You should be fired.

the ghost of eddie murphy past
the ghost of eddie murphy past

I've read just as many positive comments about Brandon as i have negative ones. the only difference is the negative comments smell like they were written by band members who got bad reviews.

advice: surrounding yourself with "yes men" will do your art and your band no good. just ask MC hammer and Axl rose.

The Hammer
The Hammer

you write like a teenage girl who is consumed with the popular kids...grow up dude and write about the music.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I must say that everything you write is snarky, misguided and horribly written.

But that's not the thing that irks me about this. What really bothers me is that you insist on unprofessionally targeting someone and insulting them passive-aggressively i.e. BLOK's mom.

Not one OC musician has every said anything good about you and you are basically alienating a whole entire music scene from having respect for the OC Weekly.

You don't become a good writer by being an asshole, FYI.

Anonymous
Anonymous

woah you want to insult their mom publicly some more 'cause you misinterpret what they do as "gimmickry"? I'm sorry your mom didn't love you and if she does I'm sorry for her you turned out to be such a sh*thead, I can't believe the ignorance that is supposed to be an article on the music scene, EVERYONE SHOULD DISRESPECT AND BOYCOTT THE WEEKLY FOR HIRING SOMEONE LIKE THIS

Anonymous
Anonymous

wow this columnist is the most pretentious @$$hole, I could only hope in the future he could get fired and this job could go to someone who deserves it

Trentg
Trentg

You are showing your stupidity here for all to see, dragging down the name of oc weekly. I feel sorry for you that you wanted to be a MUSIC reviewer but didn't know how so turned this into a blog about your personal opinon. Maybe you should listen to mama blok because once again, the music wasn't mentioned, just looks.

Vanessa
Vanessa

First of all congrats to all the winners.. Some deserved it, some I don't know how they won.. Well all I can do about this review is that you forgot to write here that the special act "Julien-k with Frank Zummo(Street Drum Corps) and Dj Thriffty Lips" was the best performance of the night, a great band that deserves some "spotlight" but as always is forgotten..

Bryan Crowe
Bryan Crowe

Why does the punk category always go to an old bunch of guys who once were from the OC and don't attend the event. Other categories seem to favor more young current talent.

Steeve
Steeve

I must agree with Mikey, I would like to read more about the actual show and artists more then the writers personal issues with mama BLOK.

Jason
Jason

Awesome event but wasn't impressed with Dagha Bloom's performance at all.... especially that they took home Best Rock?! They didn't even sing, nor present anything even remotely approaching what one would call "music." Random and up for Best Expiremental...sure. And let's not forget their fantastic excetance speech. Annoying how the weirder you are the more "Indie" cool you are today.... Congrats to the bands, those who won and SHOULD have won for a great year.

mikey
mikey

Shame, what a waste of an article. I would have loved to read a review about the OC music awards, not the writer's beef with a certain stage mom. Look, talk about your personal problems with your friends bro, and in this case, stick to the awards show!

Martinn brown
Martinn brown

I love that, even after 10 years, the media is still continually slagged off in OC. whether it is Rich Kane, Ben Weiner, Brandon, Billy Bob Bubba or whoever, the county still never understands that writing, like music, is an artform, it is totally subjective and, ultimately irrelevant. When you realise this, the anger subsides!-Martin Brown

The Hammer
The Hammer

Actually he did write about me and I was the only one to receive a positive review of that night from him. Everyone else that night he slammed their appearances or music abilities where as I went unscathed, actually he complemented my singing abilities. All in all, he still comes off as a douche who is more concerned with outside elements instead of the craft at hand, the music.

PS - I really don't care what critics say…..I loved you in The Nutty Professor!

DaDDy DahGA aka Dizzy
DaDDy DahGA aka Dizzy

They didn't even sing, nor present anything even remotely approaching what one would call "music."

this has got to be the best thing said about us ever. were using this on our page for sure man. would u please write a review of your idea of what dahga is and send it to dahgabloom@yahoo.com?? if its whorible enough we will definately post it on our info page on facebook. thank you for your depth and understanding.

God
God

don't hate the player hate the game

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