Royal Blood Shatter The Walls of the Observatory

Courtesy of Phrankenstein
In 2014, when Royal Blood dropped their debut album, the earth shook. This is why--with just two instruments, Ben Thatcher (drums) and Mike Kerr (bass/vocals) inject tender (and freaking sexy) vocals, scuzzy riffs, and pounding (yet methodical) drums. Their self-titled album doesn't just earn a + or heart shaped click on your Spotify or Apple Music accounts. Their entire album snuggles its way into its own private playlist. Yes, it's that savage.

Seeing this duo live was invigorating. Before they took the stage, fans stood with feet glued to the floor as Bass Drum of Death and Wakrat kicked things off. A man in the middle of the mosh pit stood with black shades, worn responsibly for flashing lights neurotically bounced throughout the venue in every color of the rainbow.

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Glass Animals Give Off Plenty of Peanut Butter Vibes In Santa Ana

By: Taylor Morgan
Glass Animals's has an electronic infused sound with a similar threading to that of Chet Faker, Purity Ring, and CHVRCHES. Their skillful mastery of beats has the capacity of making even the most blasé of folks feel like they're walking on gummy bears. Their song "Gooey," with witty lyrics about "peanut butter vibes" (a term you wish you coined) nods to a love affair with Justin's, and Jif, that offers spoonfuls of joy.

The Oxford-based group composed of Dave Bayley, Drew Macfarlane, Edmund Irwin-Singer, and Joe Seaward begets the kind of applause that makes your hands hurt for the consistent energy they inject into live performances. Which is why at Orange County's Observatory, four guys that became friends at the age of 14 left the crowd goo-goo eyed and chanting..."encore, encore!"

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Jenny Lewis' Great Voyage Ends in Santa Ana

Micah Wright/OC Weekly
Walking through the parking lot of the Observatory in Santa Ana, I pondered just who the touted "very special guests" accompanying Jenny Lewis for the last night of her "Voyager" tour might be. Recalling past performances by the Queen of indie rock, I ran through her Royal Court of regular special guests: Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher, Ben Gibbard, M Ward, the Watson Twins and more recently, LA's latest and greatest girl power group, Haim.

It was fittingly Womens' Equality Day, here on this auspicious day of the 95th anniversary of womens' right to vote in the US. And in a way, it was apt that Jenny Lewis was performing the last vestige of the tour for her latest album, The Voyager.

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Van Halen Put Away Grudges and Put On a Great Show

Categories: Last Night

Diamond Dave in all his glory
Van Halen
Irvine Meadows Amphitheater

By now, longtime Van Halen fans are accustomed to expecting shenanigans to happen between the band members. Throughout the band's tumultuous 40-year career, there's been enough partying and in-fighting that many of today's bands couldn't accomplish collectively, nevertheless as one entity. Yet Van Halen has managed to survive three singers and two bassists to remain one of the last remaining monsters of rock, if not dinosaurs.

A few weeks ago, that didn't seem possible. Legendary--and ornery--guitarist Eddie Van Halen gave a rare interview with Billboard that was incindiary even by Van Halen standards. Calling out current and former singers David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar (to a lesser extent) and Gary Cherone and former bassist Michael Anthony, that piece could have easily thawed relations with the guitarist and anyone without the last name of Van Halen. Knowing the history of the band, that could have easily derailed this tour, but alas, it didn't.

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KROQ Weenie Roast Y Fiesta 2015 -- May 16, 2015 -- Irvine Meadows Amphitheater

Categories: Last Night

Sugar Wolf
Death Cab for Cutie

View our slideshow of Weenie Roast 2015 right here.

KROQ Weenie Roast Y Fiesta 2015
Irvine Meadows Amphitheater

Some days are perfect days -- weather so nice, people so pleasant that it actually makes you want to throw up a little bit. Last Saturday, the latest edition of the KROQ Weenie Roast was almost one of those days.

Let me start off by saying that the in-city-musical-festival-lite style of festival is my favorite. You don't have to drive too far, traffic isn't horrible, you can shower and sleep in your bed, and I honestly believe it puts people in better moods. The Weenie Roast is quite possibly the largest such event, with enough history and draw to showcase multiple headliner-worthy bands. It's a special event. And that was plainly obvious when you were there.

See also: How Weenie Roast Helps to Redefine Where KROQ is Headed

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Matt and Kim - The Observatory - April 30, 2015

Photo by Jennifer Wang
They twerk hard
Matt and Kim
The Observatory

Matt and Kim are fucking crazy.

And that's a good thing. I had long heard about the pair's amazing live shows and was bummed when they were scheduled against Death Cab for Cutie at Bumbershoot 2013. Since then, they haven't toured, so when I heard they were going to play the Observatory, I knew I had to go. After years of anticipation, I stood there with hundreds of other people, and man, I was totally unprepared.

Because Matt and Kim are fucking awesome.

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The Used - The Observatory - April 8, 2014

Courtesy Of: Anthony Duty of People and Things Photography
The Used
The Observatory
A radio broadcast voice blares through the speakers and the room turns dark, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" fans scream at the tops of their lungs as The Used walk on the stage to face The Observatory's sold out show, for the second night in a row. The broadcast continues, "We live in a land of impunity especially for those in power." Lights begin to flicker exposing a wall of televisions with a cutout mid-center for drummer, Dan Whitesides, who sits on an elevated platform. Bert McCracken, lead vocalist, begins to sing "Maybe Memories" and red and white lights flash on the TV's exposing distorted faces with red lines across their eyes, nodding to their most recent album Imaginary Enemy.

The intro to "Take It Away" plays "You're about to see and hear one of the most significant messages given to us from God." McCracken stands with his back to the audience and his hands point upward in a v-shape. When the guitar and drums hit, after the iconic cocking of a gun, he spits a sea of water towards the ceiling and the crowd goes apeshit with bodies diving towards the stage, and security braces the fall of one fan after another. They move on to perform "The Bird And The Worm" and "Listening" as Justin Shekoski and Jeph Howard kill it on the guitar and bass respectively.

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Going to Alestorm's Pirate Fest Was the Most Pirate Thing You Could've Done Last Night

Categories: Last Night

Eric Hood
If a pirate's life is the life for you, then last night you should've found your way to the back of an abandoned business park to swig rum, raise your cutlass, and bang your head with the small army of metalheads at this year's Pirate Fest. Yes, Pirate Fest--a tour in celebration of all things "Arrr" came to The Music Hall in Anaheim. Headlined by Scottish pirate metal masters, Alestorm, the show brought a deluge bands including The Dread Crew of Oddwood, the 8-bit dance metal of Rainbowdragoneyes and the relentless thrash of Concrete Sledge.

Considering that the tour bus of the fest's world-renowned headliners looked like the size of a pirate ship next to the side of the building they were playing in, it definitely appeared these guys were not fucking around on this US excursion. And seeing them on an intimate stage with the sights and sound (and smells) of a pirate gathering was a great way to end the week. And let's face it, any opportunity to throw on an eyepatch and throw down at a metal show is an opportunity we're willing to take.

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Motion City Soundtrack Delivers Pop Punk Nostalgia in Anaheim

Taylor Morgan
Motion City Soundtrack
House of Blues Anaheim

Crowds rushed into Anaheim's House of Blues last night to see punk-pop legends Motion City Soundtrack. Nostalgic about their teenage angst, couples sang along to Brand New and All-American Rejects tracks playing throughout the venue speakers before showtime. Huntington Beach based band Hellogoodbye took the stage and performed a set of their favorite tracks including a rendition of "Here (In Your Arms)," a mix of Nintendo bleeps and synthesized rock, as a guy in the audience spanked his girlfriends butt to the beat.

Finally, for the main event, Justin Pierre (lead vocals, guitar) Joshua Cain (guitar), Claudio Rivera (drums), Jesse Johnson (moog aka synthesizer) and Matthew Taylor (base) took the stage to perform their second album, 2005's Commit This To Memory. A decade ago, it became the band's breakthrough album, selling over 285,000 copies and peaking at number two on Independent Albums chart. Most importantly it was the soundtrack of millennial youth, reminiscent of breakups, making out, goofing off, and growing up.

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The Game - The Observatory - January 29, 2015

Categories: Last Night

Nick Nuk'em
The Game
The Observatory

Despite not having a single on the Billboard rap charts since 2012, 35 year-old Jayceon Taylor, aka The Game, pulled a sold-out show at the Observatory last night, commemorating the 10th anniversary of his double platinum debut, The Documentary.

Less than an hour before the latest edition of his self-exploiting Instagram campaign, #FineNiggaFridays, where he posts a picture of his ripped and tattooed figure, Game plugged the hashtag to the amusement of the ladies in attendance. Once known simply as a gangsta rapper, responsible for a slew of feuds that burned bridges across the rap community, the rapper has assumed the role of a semi sex symbol, among other roles that give his fans reasons to love that extend beyond his music.

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