ScHoolboy Q - The Observatory - December 16, 2014

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By: Taylor Morgan
ScHoolboy Q
The Observatory
12/16/14

Class was definitely in session last night at the Observatory when West Coast gangster rap's crowned prince ScHoolboy Q took the stage for a packed crowd in Santa Ana. The LA rapper, whose album Oxymoron debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 album charts last March, strutted out from the back of a smoky stage just before 11 p.m. Appropriately, he started his set with the gun-clapping track "Gangsta," jumping up and down across the stage in his Toronto Maple Leafs Jersey with 'Kessel' monogramed across the back.

Blunts were consumed as the audience belted "crush a bit, little bit, roll it up, take a hit". Q held the mic in his right hand, leaning forward towards the audience and asked, "How many of you got Oxymoron in here?" Taken back by the response he noted, "I never thought I would be rapping. I never thought I would make an album and people would love it. I never thought my ugly, finger nail ass, would be up here." The crowd went wild and he shouted, "let's get to some Oxymoron!"


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The Best and Worst of KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas

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Daniel Kohn
Over the weekend, KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas celebrated its 25th anniversary at The Forum. It was the largest venue to host the event featuring Bush, Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, No Doubt, and lots of the biggest names in the iconic station's history that came out to pay tribute to the place that gave many of them their break. Here are the best and worst things that happened over the two days.


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Allah-Las - The Observatory - December 13, 2014

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Taylor Morgan
Allah-Las
Allah-Las
The Observatory
12/13/14

A girl with a seahorse ear cuff and silk mushroom scarf around her neck held her tall boy cerveza in the air screaming as the Allah-Las assumed their positions onstage. "We locked eyes at an underground bar in Venice when I saw them play last! They're soo dreamy," a fan shared with her friend in the crowd of the band's Constellation Room show on Saturday. Longhaired surfer boys sporting their dad's hand-me-down t-shirts nodded in agreement. A fan who leaned up against the bar added, "the Allah-Las played at my wedding at the Natural History Museum!"

Spencer Dunham (bass), Matthew Correia (percussion), Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar) and Miles Michaud (vocals + guitar) performed some of their best tunes over the weekend, including favorites like "No Werewolf", "Busman's Holiday", "Follow You Down", "Buffalo Nickel," "No Voodoo," and "Da Vita Voz." They sipped whiskey out of clear plastic cups between songs and the smell of cigarettes and marijuana covered the clothes of audience members. The band moved on to perform, "Calm Me Down" a Human Expression cover that had the crowd moshing for no apparent reason, "Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)" featuring tambourines and the melodica (as known as the pianica or blow-organ) and "Better Than Mine."


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Flying Lotus- The Observatory- November 12, 2014

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All Photos Brian Feinzimer
Dead.

Flying Lotus
The Observatory
11/12/14

We're caught up with the notion that Steven Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus is a musical genius. But since the release of Flyo's latest album, "You're Dead!" Ellison has become regarded with even more praise, as he's infused even more jazz, psychedelic, and cinematic influences into his layers of hip-hop and atmospheric beats to create a concept album with an elaborate narrative of the afterlife.

Ellison has developed his latest creation into an interactive audio-visual 3D stage show to complete his vision, and the result is an incredible, mystifying experience that resonates long after its over. He brought this ultra-sensory installation to a sold out show at the Observatory last night, supported by the equally talented Thundercat, but took the stage on his own to take audiences on a journey across the unknown.


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First Aid Kit - The Observatory - November 10, 2014

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Mary Bell / OC Weekly
First Aid Kit is Johanna (left) and Klara Söderberg
First Aid Kit
The Observatory
11/10/14

It's always a surprise to see how indie folk singers can rock out on stage -- just because their album is personal and familiar, their songs confined to your four walls in the dark, doesn't mean it translates to a quiet, intimate show live.

First Aid Kit showed exactly how folk singers transcend quiet spaces at the Observatory in Santa Ana last night. Decked out in gold lame skirts and dresses, Johanna (on the keyboard) and Klara Söderberg (on guitar) came out to the large Monday crowd with guns blazing. It was the perfect first song choice: "The Lion's Roar" made everyone get up and dance as Johanna whipped her golden hair around in a way that would've made '90s Eddie Vedder proud.


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The Black Keys - The Forum - November 6, 2014

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Daniel Kohn
The Black Keys
The Forum
November 6, 2014

Few would have predicted 10 years ago while on an indie label and on third album that The Black Keys were destined for a life in the mid-level garage scene instead of headlining their second arena tour in the States. But the success the Akron-bred duo are basking in has been completely earned. After years of grinding on the road, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have rightfully taken their place near the top of what's left of the arena-rock scrapheap.

There were moments last night where it would have been easy to get caught up the experimental confidence of the Keys' stage show. For longtime fans, subtle tweaks to the songs demonstrates not necessarily a sense of exploration, but it's a confident move by a band showing their prowess. Unlike other sludgy garage bands, the duo have pushed their sound from that to the mainstream, even if that means upsetting their status quo. The risks the Keys have taken have turned them into a huge success.

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Weezer - The Glass House - November 6, 2014

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Andrew Youseff
Weezer plays at Fantasy Springs Special Event Center on August 29, 2011

Weezer
The Glass House
November 6, 2014

Beyond dimly lit canyon roads and past a mysterious castle in Chino Hills you'll find The Glass House. Weezer, one of the most popular post-grunge bands of the '90s took the stage last night, performing at the fifth show of their eight-stop tour and they decided to start the night off with an intimate acoustic set.

The audience sang, "Goddamn you half-Japanese girls/Do it to me every time" from Weezer's song "El Scorcho," released in 1996. The crowd -- an eclectic mix of nerds in flannels and punks in denim vests -- all attentively watched and chimed in. Towards the back of the venue, a security guard pulled an underage girl aside as she was drinking by the bar and escorted her out as a older man showed his medical stash to his friends. Rivers Cuomo, lead vocalist, announced that up next they would be performing a song they'd yet to do on tour from the album Make Believe, released in 2005.

They began to perform "The Other Way" and fans laughed and devotedly sang along with the chorus. Cuomo yelled out to the sea of bodies standing before him, as well as those above peering over the balcony, "Here we are again at the Glass House." Fans whistled and screamed and the band seamlessly transitioned to "Back To The Shack" pointing the mic towards the audience. Next up was "Island In The Sun" and the band debuted a slowed-down rendition of the favorited track as iPhones were grabbed and videos for Snaphat and Instagram commenced.


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GWAR - The Observatory - November 3, 2014

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Vulvatron introduces herself and her special ability. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

GWAR
The Observatory
November 3, 2014

Gwar is a legendary band whose reputation usually entices would-be audience members to seek them out, sneer at them, or simply become bug-eyed at the stories. To see them perform is like watching characters from the Warhammer Fantasy world perform a Banana Splits routine.

The satirical, thrash metal, costume band is 30 years old and has had the occasional rotation of all its performers with the one constant of founding member Dave Brockie (also known by his stage name, Oderus Urungus). In March, Brockie died of a heroin overdose, and the absence of his stage persona was not lost to the other outrageously costumed characters in their latest performance; in fact, the storyline of the band's first post-Urungus show centers on trying to locate the missing lead singer.


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Marilyn Manson - The Observatory - October 29, 2014

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Chris Victorio
Marilyn Manson playing The Grove in Anaheim on August 25, 2009

By: Taylor Morgan
Marilyn Manson
The Observatory
10/29/14

An overpacked crowd in black filled The Observatory as fans stood on tip toes to see goth-metal singer, Marilyn Manson. The self-proclaimed Satanist had his management team spread the word, just before 7:00 p.m., that he was not interested in being photographed by press. After all, a photo of this theatrical man would never quite do his show justice.

Devil horns were thrown in the air as Manson yelled in his deep and somewhat haunting voice "Welcome to the revolution Santa Ana." A white tapestry fell and he sang, "The day that love opened our eyes/We watched the world end" from his epic song "mOBSCENE." Next up was "Disposable Teens" and couples kissed sloppily against barely available wall space. Manson pointed his mic towards the crowd, pushing his white electric guitar to the side and the fans screamed, "You say you want a revolution, man/and I say that you're full of shit/we're disposable teens".

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Kimbra - The Observatory - October 24, 2014

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Photo by Charles Lam
It was so perfect, I'm not even sure it happened

Kimbra
The Observatory
10/24/14

Last Friday was a fête at The Observatory. Hundreds of people were in line for the sold out Wiz Khalifa show, but hundreds more were there for the other sold out show, Kimbra's first ever trip to Orange County.The indie-pop princess had already played five shows in L.A. this year, but still drew a crowd so large that the Observatory's main room was a good 10 degrees warmer than its entry way. But man, was that show worth it.


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