On a recent Tuesday night, the basement entrance of the Copper Door hums with the noisy bricolage of a bar gig. The loud crack of pool balls scattering on green felt mingles with the buzz of drunk conversations, alt-rock blaring through the house speakers, and the tightening twang of tuning guitars. Sporting a white Stetson typically worn by 51-year-old MILFs at Stagecoach, the singer of a local country band checks the mic. A country night--especially one with a friendly, enthusiastic crowd--feels a bit unusual for downtown Santa Ana, but the bar is bustling with fans and weekday regulars before the gig has even started.
Erica Torres Photography Orange County Music League
As the crowd builds, three guys sipping beers in matching backward black-and-orange ball caps are huddled around a laptop. OCML is printed across each one in bold orange lettering. Focused on the glowing screen, members of the Orange County Music League put the finishing touches on the set times for tonight and many nights afterward on their increasingly busy calendar of weekly shows throughout OC. Whether pushing reggae, rock, metal, hip-hop or country, every OCML show is required to be free to the public and reliably curated. Most important, bands are never charged for the pleasure of playing.More »