Santa Ana Noise Fest Inspires Underground Artists to Turn It Up

Categories: festivals

Stephen Anderson
Skunk Puppet playing at last year's Noise Fest
Most music fans in OC have no intention of looking under the rug at the sounds that exist in the noisy underbelly of our avant-garde music scene. But you can find them Saturday at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), where some our most inventive young artists will come to tear the definition of "music" to shreds at a yearly event dubbed the Santa Ana Noise Fest.

Stephen Anderson remembers the first time he started booking bands that traded in the art of celestial feedback and unholy squall in 2008. "We had a lot of very small, very underground shows with garage rock and sometimes punk bands," the founder of Noise Fest says. "But it evolved. We started getting more experimental bands. So then in 2008, we started Noise Fest."

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In Seventh Year, Long Beach Zombie Walk Conquers New Territory

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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Beach Goth - The Observatory - October 25, 2014

Jen Fedrizzi/ OC Weekly
The weird and wonderful denizens of Beach Goth welcome you...

The long-awaited Beach Goth festival finally arrived last Saturday, where there was enough weirdness to satisfy veteran Beach Goth-goers and newbies alike. As Brooks Nielsen of The Growlers said in our Beach Goth cover story this week, "We always gotta up the ante so that we're satisfied. And our being satisfied means that everyone else will be."

Now in its third year, the band has certainly made good on that promise, making this third Beach Goth the biggest it's ever been. The lineup included an exciting mixture of big-artist names such as Chelsea Wolfe, GZA, Cherry Glazer, Alice Glass of Crystal Castles, Andrew Jackson Jihad and The Garden listed among newer acts like Cat Signs, Emily's Army, Broncho, and Walter TV.

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Anthrax's Scott Ian Talks new DVD, Knotfest and Interviewing Ozzy

Categories: Metal, festivals

Anthrax guitarist and founding member Scott Ian has become a man who wears many hats. As most artists tend to explore different realms of the spectrum, some awaken new, unfound talents while others flop. For the 1980s thrash-metal musician, becoming an author, television interviewer, spoken word performer and storyteller seems to fit well into his visionary potentiality.

In coordination with his live spoken word performances titled Speaking Words that have started in the last few years, Ian's releasing a longer and demonstrative tour DVD called Swearing Words in Glasgow that encompasses a performance in Scotland. The DVD is set to release on Nov. 13 via Megaforce Records. Ian's autobiography I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy from Anthrax, which was released on Oct. 14, holds similar stories told in the live performances, but in an elongated narrative.

Amid the autobiography and DVD releases lies Anthrax's final show of 2014--according to Ian--this weekend during Slipknot's Knotfest at San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino. According to Ian, the remainder of the year will be focused on writing the new Anthrax album.

Ian spoke with the OC Weekly on his new DVD, his autobiography, Knotfest and his experience interviewing Ozzy Osbourne for Rock Show while he was dressed as Gene Simmons.

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Slipknot's Corey Taylor Talks Knotfest, New Album and Paranormal Experiences

Categories: Metal, festivals

M. Shawn Crahan
Despite the chaos that the Des Moines, Iowa band has gone through in the past few years, Slipknot's duality of the release of their fifth studio album .5: The Gray Chapter and eponymous three-day heavy metal festival Knotfest are noteworthy events to look forward to.

Sponsoring Knotfest and the release of their first new album in six years signifies another new chapter in the band's career, one that most would say is a positive migration after the last few years, which included the departure of drummer Joey Jordison in December 2013 and the untimely death of founding member and bassist Paul Gray in May 2010.

After both incidents, Slipknot fell silent and their future as a band was suddenly in question. However, the band channeled their blended emotions to successfully produce a traditional and deranged Slipknot compilation of music for eager and supportive fans. The full album was released on Tuesday.

We talked with Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor about all of the above, from how the dynamic changed within the band after Gray's passing to how it feels welcoming a new member to his own family.

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With Dark Matter, GZA Thinks Big--Really Big

Categories: festivals

Sometime in the early 1970s, Gary Grice's younger cousin did something incredibly foolish and potentially fatal: He stuck a pair of metal tweezers into an electrical outlet, which violently shocked him, burnt his hand and blackened the wall around the outlet. A doctor later told Grice's aunt her son would have died if it weren't for the rubber sneakers he was wearing. Hearing about this strange turn of events intrigued a 7-year-old Grice. "How can rubber have saved him?" the now 48-year-old says. "Why does electricity travel through some things and not through others?"

That boy would grow up to be GZA (a.k.a. the Genius), one of the original members of Wu-Tang Clan, the iconic Staten Island rap clique. After Wu-Tang forced their way into hip-hop prominence with 1993's Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), its members began to fire off solo albums. GZA's Liquid Swords (1995) quickly emerged as one of the best of the pack, owing to its gritty, barbed beats; inventive rhymes; and sordid, minutiae-heavy tales of crime and power. It was as close as we'll ever get to The Wire of hip-hop.

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Moon Block Party - Pomona Fairplex - October 18, 2014

Corners performs at Moon Block Party (Photo by Scott Feinblatt)
Moon Block Party
Pomona Fairplex

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

Categories: festivals

Courtesy of Moon Block Party
Deap Vally
Phil Pirrone knows you've got to take a chance when the universe presents you with an opportunity. In 2011, the longtime musician and maverick event organizer lived in an apartment in downtown Pomona that required him to contribute to the city's popular monthly Art Walk. With the help of friends, Pirrone threw a huge block party, booking a long roster of bands and securing a shopping-center stage.

"The second we plugged in the PA and put on some music to test it, it was so loud everyone was like, 'What's going on?'" he recalls. About 5,000 people showed up for the first installment of what has become one of the most anticipated alternative music festivals in Southern California: Moon Block Party. The third edition--featuring headliners the Black Angels, Band of Skulls and Black Lips, as well as several up-and-coming local acts--hits Pomona's Fairplex on Saturday.

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'90s Shoegaze is Alive and Well in Pioneertown

Categories: festivals

Steven Dietrick
The Dandy Warhols
Some of the best DIY festivals tend to have one thing in common: the adventure of getting there. The thrill of the trek was definitely on Tommy Dietrick's mind when he settled his Desert Stars Festival in the cactus and boulder-infested oasis of Pioneertown, at storied venue Pappy and Harriet's. Over 115 miles from OC, the freedom of a quick weekend road trip to the annual psych rock/shoegaze festival on Oct. 3-4 is second only to the aural head trip induced by cranked up amplifiers, thwacking drums and rippling delay echoing through the glinting sky of no man's land.

"Once you start driving through those mountains, you can really feel yourself getting into the region," Dietrick says about passing through the forest of giant wind turbines in Palm Springs off the 10-E Fwy. on the way to Indio. "The event begins then, the experience begins then."

With the resurgence of '90s shoegaze and psych rock, it's a good time to also discover the Desert Stars Festival's grassroots community if you haven't already. Now in its 8th year, it continues to draw fans and bands from all over SoCal along with various exports from around the country. This year, bands range from Santa Ana-bred opening act Drinking Flowers to headliners The Dandy Warhols and He's My Brother, She's My Sister.

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Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre- September 13, 2014


Holy hotness! Despite the ridiculous overload of funny comics on tap at the 2nd annual Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, there was nothing funny about the heat. "Sweat" was the theme and it was seen on everyone from patrons, workers, and even the comics themselves. So yeah, it was hot. That aside...

While this year wasn't 100% sold out, it was certainly packed with the most eclectic mix of comedy lovers that you could imagine. Of course the line-up pretty much had something for everyone so the diverse audience was to be expected. Although, I did see two babies there and I'm not sure at all who they came out to see. Maybe they just came out for the beer and food trucks. Who knows?

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