In Seventh Year, Long Beach Zombie Walk Conquers New Territory

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Mac Sabbath plays Long Beach Zombie Walk 2014. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Despite the fact that the nearly mainstream zombie subculture revolves around hideous imagery and concepts (i.e. re-animated corpses, cannibalism, and an apocalyptic paradigm), zombie walks have become increasingly family-friendly. Now in its seventh year, the Long Beach Zombie Walk expanded the typically one-day event to three days and moved it from the city blocks of Downtown Long Beach (where it was last year) back down to Rainbow Lagoon Park (across the street from where it was in 2012). While this shift did accommodate more entertainment programming and increase the convenience for guests to schedule their attendance, it also, likely, caused the overall decreased headcount per day.

On day one (Friday, Oct. 4), Dr. Demento played host, there was a zombie prom, and the classic Edgar Wright / Simon Pegg horror spoof Shaun of the Dead was screened. On the following day, the official zombie walk occurred, and George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, the quintessential zombie film, was screened. On the third day, there were a series of themed wrestling matches by Vendetta Pro Wrestling, a children's costume contest, and, in keeping with the children's theme, a screening of the film ParaNorman.


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Army of the Pharaohs - The Observatory - October 22, 2014

Categories: concert review

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David Garcia
Vinnie Paz of Army of the Pharaohs

By: David Garcia

Army Of The Pharaohs
The Observatory
10/22/14

On October 22, fans of underground hip-hop had a very rare opportunity to catch Philadelphia's Army Of The Pharaohs live at The Observatory in Santa Ana. What one would assume to be a quiet Wednesday night was quite the opposite once inside the building walls of what has become known as Orange County's hotspot for live music of all genres.

Starting off the night were a couple of rhyme-spitting duos known as DMC and Children Of A Lesser Fraud. The latter of the two, made up by Anu322 and 2Mex, performed in preparation of a full-length album that they plan to release in February of 2015, with AOTP's producer featured on several tracks.

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Moon Block Party - Pomona Fairplex - October 18, 2014

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Corners performs at Moon Block Party (Photo by Scott Feinblatt)
Moon Block Party
Pomona Fairplex
10/18/2014

The ethos of Phil Pirrone's Moon Block Party music festival is that it is "like a block party on the moon." This third annual event was thrown at the Pomona Fairplex, last Saturday, by Pirrone and his collective of artists and musicians. The event's website encouraged attendees to come dressed in "astronaut gear" or in an "alien 'costume,'" but while no one seemed to take the encouragement literally, plenty of colorful concertgoers turned up for this terrific festival.

The program for the one-day music festival consisted of 22 acts, performing on three stages; clothing, art, and food vendors; and a costume contest. The sets of the multitudinous bands lasted from a half hour to just over an hour -- the headlining bands' sets were the longest. Throughout the day, there were typically two performances occurring at any given time, and none of the set times were completely identical; so, upon the completion of one band's performance, its audience would collectively shuffle across the fairground of the horse-racing track / field and see what they had been missing at one of the other two stages.

See also: Creating Moon Block Party's Spacey Vibe Takes a Lot of Focus

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Thurston Moore Lights Up the Constellation Room

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Thurston Moore Band (photo by Phil Sharp)
Thurston Moore
The Constellation Room
10/11/14

Sonic Youth has always had a cult following. Thus, it was appropriate that folks wanting to see Thurston Moore (the founder of the dormant group) perform at The Observatory had to endure $20 parking, walk a half mile, and shove through thousands of black-clad, sweaty, and drunk Latinos -- attending The Observatory's La Tocada Super Estrella Fest -- in order to cram into the venue's intimate Constellation Room, where they waited an hour and a half past the showtime for the music to begin.

Though one may think that this is not an ideal set of circumstances to experience one of the 100 greatest guitarists (according to both Rolling Stone and Spin), Moore's fans understand that when they attend one of his shows, they will have a transcendental experience which will eclipse any annoyances that may threaten to ruin their days. Moreover, the most profound moments of his art tend to occur when he and his bandmates abandon the realm of mundane existence, forgoing conventional ideas about tonality and diving into profound oceans of distortion and feedback. These excursions are difficult to qualify as anything but noise; however, emotional and spiritual communication often occur beyond the limits of human language, and it is in this domain that Moore has thrived for nearly 35 years.

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The Buzzcocks Kill at Bang! Festival

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The Buzzcocks photo by Scott Feinblatt
Bang! Festival
The Observatory
9/20/14

Over time, the typical arc in the life of rock musicians reveals that they are no less whores than any other type of celebrity. Laziness and age beget compromise, and, of course, money makes people do crazy things. However, Saturday night at the Bang! Music Festival (hosted by The Observatory and sponsored by the Weekly), headlining punk rockers The Buzzcocks proved that they are just as full of piss, vinegar and spit as they were nearly 40 years ago.

Sandwiched between headlining acts Los Lobos and X, the raw punk energy of The Buzzcocks stood out. Each of the headliners was allotted a one hour set, and as soon as The Buzzcocks took to the stage, not a second was wasted. There were literally one to five second intervals between each of their upbeat, high-energy songs -- each of which was played appropriately loud. In fact, from the moment guitarist Steve Diggle slung the first of his guitars and strummed it, he ordered the sound man to increase the volume. It's hard to tell whether he was the culprit or an unheeded voice of reason in the off-balance mix of the first few songs in their set. From the first song, the band established a vigorous momentum, and by about the fourth song, the mix was appropriately adjusted, allowing for the discernment of the delicate timbre of Pete Shelley's voice.


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Ian Anderson - Segerstrom Hall - September 18, 2014

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Ian Anderson, Southampton UK, 2014. Photo by Martin Webb
Ian Anderson
Segerstrom Hall
9/18/2014

Segerstrom Hall is not a typical venue for a rock concert. It frequently hosts musicals, classical acts, and dance extravaganzas, and the audiences it usually hosts are quintessentially the "white-hairs" of Orange County. However, Ian Anderson's show is not your everyday rock; the legendary musician's show is quite theatrical, and Segerstrom was an ideal venue for him to perform his new album, Homo Erraticus, as well as a set of Jethro Tull's greatest hits.

The show was reminiscent of Neil Young's Greendale tour in that it consisted of a multi-media presentation of a concept-album followed by a satisfying throwback to old times -- a sure way to appeal to classicists. The Homo Erraticus album consists of folksy Irish motifs, powerhouse progressive rock jams, and challenging lyrical content. [see the Weekly's interview with Ian Anderson on the creation of the album] Prior to the Homo Erraticus set, a short introductory film showed Anderson and his bandmates as a patient and his doctors, respectively, at a remote sanitarium. The doctors pull the sheet over the dormant Anderson, declaring him dead, and file out of the room. Anderson then pulls the sheet back, mutters a bit [it was hard to tell what he said due to the crowd's woots], climbs out of bed, extracts his flute from a nearby cabinet, and leaves the sanitarium.

See also: Ian Anderson's Idea of Rock-n-Roll is More Complex Than You Know


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Katy Perry - Honda Center - September 16, 2014

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Photo by Scott Feinblatt
Katy Perry
Honda Center
9/16/14

Did you ever have the feeling that you were the only 40-year-old heterosexual man at a rave-themed pep rally for seventh grade girls? On the occasion of Katy Perry's "The Prismatic World Tour," the Honda Center was filled with 14,000 of the like (by Perry's count). The only bad vibes came from a tattooed man wearing a Suicidal Tendencies t-shirt -- arguably the only other older straight guy (not counting the daddy chaperons) -- who was ejected prior to the concert for throwing punches at a couple of effeminate men. But whereas violence was not tolerated inside the stadium, the stadium itself was surrounded by a dozen or so religious protesters bearing fancy signs of intolerance towards homosexuality.

This was likely in response to the first single of Perry's [herself, the daughter of two Pentecostal pastors], "I Kissed a Girl," which was released in 2008 and reached number one on Billboard's Hot 100. Now, multiple hits, successful tours, acting roles, product endorsements, and millions of dollars later, Perry demonstrated that she knows how to put on a great show.


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Waka Flocka Flame - The Observatory - September 16, 2014

Categories: concert review

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Julian Gutierrez
Too turnt up

Waka Flocka Flame
The Observatory
9/16/14

Fueled by ratchet vibes and various substances, Waka Flocka Flame put on an energetic, enthusiastic set at the Observatory last night. The night was slow to start at first, with a mellow crowd and DJ KaliNDaMix bumping the current hits to bobbing heads and tapping toes. Eventually, Joey Fatts came on and warmed up the crowd, hopping around and performing songs mainly from his recent mixtape, Chipper Jones 3. Though he didn't come on until around 10 p.m., he elevated the night from a kickback to a rager, causing the crowd to jump in sync with the throbbing of the bass. The 22-year-old Long Beach native (and cousin to Vince Staples) isn't well-known enough for crowds to sing along constantly, but he injected some much needed energy into the room as a solid opening act.

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Yes - The Greek Theatre - August 24, 2014

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Yes performing at The Greek Theatre (photo by Scott Feinblatt)
Yes
The Greek Theatre
August 24, 2014

It seems to be a trend of late for legendary bands to dust off and perform their legendary albums. Last night, Yes performed two of theirs, Close to the Edge and Fragile. The band's extensive current tour began just a few days before the release of their latest album, Heaven & Earth, but it is not curious why their set only included two songs from the new album, which they played in between the vintage albums. The new album has not been receiving great praise, but perhaps this is because it has been 40 years since the progressive rockers began charting new cosmic territory.

Since that time, the band has seen numerous permutations in its line-up, and it is no surprise that it has never encapsulated so pure a manifestation of vision and virtuosity as it did on those two albums. Nevertheless, all history, drama, and art versus business speculations aside, there was something incredible happening on stage at the Greek Theatre. By taking a potent magical spell and casting it with aplomb, able magicians can easily entrance their legions and adherents.

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The Zombies Rise Again in Santa Monica

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Colin Blunstone of The Zombies (photo by Scott Feinblatt)
It might seem ironic that the 50 year-old band The Zombies would perform at Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. However, to suggest that the band is nearing the end of its life would be inaccurate given the brilliance of its performance and the enthusiasm of its reception. Indeed, moans of disappointment rang out over the Internet as numerous people realized that The Zombies had been in town, and they had missed the opportunity to see the band. Such is the strength of their music, and the years have not diminished it.

Though the band is currently pared-down (no pun intended) to two of its original five members, those members happen to be Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone. Founder / lead songwriter / keyboardist Argent spoke with the Weekly last week about his inspirations and creative process. On stage, he is simply on fire. When he's not standing up from his keyboard station to set up various songs or encourage collective hand-clapping, he is making his Hammond organ and Kurzweil keyboard sing as if their electronic lives depended on it. As he revealed in his interview, this has always been his approach to performing and recording -- to put his all into every performance so that the music has a life of its own.

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