Doom Fills the Observatory During the Psycho California Music Festival

Categories: Metal, festivals

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Mammatus performing at Psycho California Music Festival. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
Psycho California
The Observatory
5/15-17/2015

On the five year anniversary of legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio's death, metal fans travelled from all over the United States in order to pack the Observatory and immerse themselves in sludge (and other subgenres of heavy metal). In his preview of the Psycho California music festival, Jason Roche suggested that the worst band in the three day festival's 50-plus band line-up was "very good." If the 20 acts that performed on Saturday were a decent cross-section of the talent playing over the entire weekend, then Mr. Roche's assessment proved accurate and the pilgrimages that the numerous metalheads made paid off.

Though Friday's attendees were not going to let a few hiccups ruin their overall experience of this musical and cultural feast, several recalled a couple problems from the opening day of the event. Specifically, they said that the Constellation Room (one of the Observatory's two performance areas) had been double booked with the indie rock band The Wombats, and this resulted in the programming for the "Grizzly Stage" being relocated to an outdoor stage, which allegedly had bad sound. The other main gripe was in the arrangement of the merch area, which was also located outside. This issue hadn't been resolved satisfactorily by Saturday, as fans wanting to buy t-shirts and sundries had to wait for prolonged periods of time, in a long line that stretched through the courtyard behind the venue, in order to reach the tent of the coveted merchandise.

See also: The 10 Best Bands at Psycho California

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The 10 Best Bands at Psycho California

Categories: festivals

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Diana Lee Zadlo
Pallbearer
This weekend, the Psycho California festival will engulf the Observatory in a thick wall of stoner-rock, doom-metal, psychedelics, and other sorts of caustic riffage. Over 50 bands will besiege the venue Friday May 15th through Sunday May 17th, all arriving with the goal of melting your face and leaving your eardrums a little worse for wear.

Psycho CA's organizers have done a fantastic job of curating this year's festival, an expansion on the "Psycho De Mayo" single-day events of previous years. The worst band on the bill is still at worst, "very good." But we recognize that at a festival that lasts for three days from 2pm-2am each day, you will need to take a smoke break, eat, or engage in other activities in the quest to maintain a killer buzz. The bands below are our picks to budget all of these breaks around so you don't have to miss a single minute of their sets.


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How Weenie Roast Helps to Redefine Where KROQ is Headed

Categories: festivals

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Courtesy of KROQ
Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy hotdogging for the crowd at Weenie Roast
Attending her first Weenie Roast as a fan in 1999, 106.7 FM KROQ DJ Kat Corbett has seen the show evolve with the times. Though she'd rather not remember the "Limp Bizkit-Creed year," Corbett points to the show's largeness and loyalty to the station as one of the key reasons why it's succeeded and resonated.

"It was weird to me that a radio show would put on a show that's so big," she says. "It is a large scale that it took me a while to get my head around what it is. It wasn't just another show; it was actually bands who were appreciative of the station spinning them, and it's a cool experience to feel that love."

Over the past 22 years, the Weenie Roast has become the preeminent radio rock show. Despite other markets playing catch up, the Weenie Roast (officially called the Weenie Roast Y Fiesta because of it's proximity to Cinco De Mayo) has built enough cache to become the unofficial summer kickoff concert for rock fans in Southern California. Of course the definition of what a KROQ band sounds like has changed quite a bit if your look at this year's lineup touting pop powerhouse Florence + The Machine, soulful crooner James Bay and indie gods Death Cab for Cutie.

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Get Your Tickets For Summer Fest 2015!

Categories: festivals

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Through the Roots will headline this year's Summer Fest
Beach. Bands. Booze. Bites. Babes. The five elements of the Weekly's annual Summer Fest never change. And who would want them to?! Particularly the babes part--the faithful readers who come out to help us celebrate our massive Summer Guide issue are always the sexiest people in our eyes. That's why we're calling on all of you to join us at Newport Dunes on June 20 from 12-5 p.m. for our all-day seaside party featuring amazing live bands paired with the best local food and drink we could find.

This year, headliners Through the Roots are coming up from San Diego, bringing with them the perfect mix of Jamaican riddims and infectious party anthems to cap off their latest national tour.

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Dustin Lynch is Pleasantly Surprised By Southern California's Country Scene

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Justin Nolan
Dustin Lynch
Country music fans will be knee deep in tunes and twang at the inaugural ShipKicker festival, set to storm the Queen Mary's Waterfront Park May 23 - 24.

Dustin Lynch tops Saturday's lineup, and there's no mystery behind his success in the country music realm. The Nashville-based singer's velvety voice is suited for lovesick ballads and country pop anthems alike, all laced with a wise-cracking sense of humor. Lynch first garnered attention for his syrupy, down-tempo track "Cowboys and Angels" but his light-hearted nature was revealed with the fiddle-laden, jukebox charmer "She Cranks My Tractor." His down home demeanor and sing along hooks gave country fans something to cling to, and judging by his growth in popularity over the last two years, they're not letting go anytime soon.

Lynch is currently riding a wave of success from his sophomore album, Where It's At, which was inspired during his time on the road with Keith Urban and spawned his current gig touring with country music heavyweight Luke Bryan. In between dates, Lynch will mosey over to lead ShipKicker, along with the festival's day two headliners Parmalee. We caught up with Lynch over the phone to discuss his headlining gig, when to expect new material, and whether or not Southern California is prime territory for country music.

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Desert Daze Grows Into The Anti-Mega Fest

Categories: festivals

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Courtesy of Desert Daze
By: Andrea Domanick

It's a Thursday evening in early April, and Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone is holed up at the LA home of his art director, Mason Rothschild. They are mapping out the festival's slate of installations and discussing the sets they'll play with their respective bands. With just a month to go, Pirrone still has a long to-do list to check off before the newly expanded psych-rock-flavored music-and-art festival returns to Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca on Saturday.

In addition to more than a dozen interactive art offerings, the festival's fourth edition features its largest single-day lineup, with more than 40 bands, including Warpaint, Deap Vally, the Budos Band and RJD2. The daylong event has also beefed up its production and expanded camping and dining options in anticipation of as many as 5,000 fans descending on the desert oasis. Now, Pirrone and his team are being forced to navigate some of the less-than-sexy minutiae of event planning, such as additional security, dust control and parking-lot expansion--things their careers as musicians and artists offer little preparation for.

"We're in the awkward teenage phase of being a festival, so there are challenges and new hoops to jump through," Pirrone says. "It's a new level of detail. This is a total new kind of chapter for us, and we're just at the beginning of it."

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50 Things People Say at Ultra

Categories: festivals

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Photo by George Martinez/gmartnx.com
When Toothpaste Man passes, they say: "Brush erryday!"
[Editor's Note: Our sister paper Miami New Times ventured out to Ultra Music Festival recently to surround themselves with next-level beats, kandi kids and PLUR vibes. Here is one of their many reports about the fest.]

Ultra Music Festival is 36 solid hours of EDM-themed overstimulation.

Superfamous DJs! Pop-star cameos! Half-naked ladies! Oiled-up beefcakes! Dancing robots! Human tacos! Toothpaste Man! Pyrotechnics! Cryo cannons! Fireworks!

Everything at Ultra deserves an exclamation point. Or maybe ten. And there's never fewer than 120 decibels rumbling through your already stimuli-flooded skull. So who's paying attention to what people are saying?

Actually, we are always listening. And we're taking notes. Because the chit-chat, shit-talking, and non sequiturs are just as entertaining, weird, absurd, unsettling, and LOL-able as anything else at this phantasmagoric annual spectacle.


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Burgerama: What Was Awesome, and What Was Meh

Categories: festivals

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Christopher Victorio
Random robot on stilts: Awesome.
By: Adam Lovinus and Lilledeshan Bose
Burgers, beer, bands and boobs--Burgerama 4 definitely brought the essentials. The sold-out two-day festival over the weekend at the Observatory also showed its ability to super-size itself with big-budget headliners while still keeping the local flavor of a packed parking lot festival filled with tie-dyed Burger ilk of all ages. Going into its fourth year, the fest wasn't short on growing pains as it continued to figure out the constraints of holding a massive festival in the middle of a business park. But a lot of what we saw throughout the weekend proved that in the cannon of OC festivals, the 'Rama definitely reigns supreme. Here's our take on what was awesome and what was just meh about Burgerama 4.

See also: Burgerama Becomes Bigger, Badder, and Beefier


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Burgerama Becomes Bigger, Badder, and Beefier

Categories: festivals

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Julien Kelly
Fidlar performing at Burgerama III
It is dinner time at the Burger Records bunker, the back-room living quarters that founders Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard fashioned behind their record store in south Fullerton. Peanut butter on whole wheat and a bag of Cuties mandarins are spread out on the coffee table next to tomorrow's outgoing mail, yellow envelopes full of cassette tapes. This is crunch time for the Burger boys, who are four weeks out from the biggest Burgerama yet.

"We are malnourished and sleep-deprived," says Rickard, leaning back in a folding chair in the office next to his bed, a couch nestled in the back corner of the space. It isn't so much the festival that is putting Rickard and Bohrman through the paces at the moment as it is coordinating Burger's presence at South By Southwest (SXSW). Anyone who has ever tried to coordinate anything at that annual conference in Austin, Texas, knows it is a logistical shit show. It is hard enough for one band to be in the right time and right place during that week; this year, Burger is coordinating 77 bands there.


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Riding Along With Dengue Fever's Chhom Nimol in Long Beach's Cambodia Town

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Taylor Hamby/OC Weekly
Nimol demonstrates krama scarves
Before she became the lead singer of the internationally known rock band Dengue Fever, Chhom Nimol lived in a gritty neighborhood most people in Long Beach (not to mention the rest of Southern California) might not realize even exists. It's called Cambodia Town and it boasts the largest population of Cambodians outside Southeast Asia and France. The neighborhood is easy to miss, stretching along the north side of Anaheim Street between Atlantic and Junipero Aves.

With the recent release of the band's fifth album, the wonderfully moody and psychedelic The Deepest Lake--which finds the band at the height of their songwriting and performing prowess--we figured it'd be a great time to check out Nimol's old haunts.

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