Fred Armisen Brings a Live Portlandia Viewing to the Observatory

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Charles Lam/OC Weekly

It's hard to name one other television show that has brilliantly crystallized the humor and absurdity of contemporary lifestyle trends than Portlandia. Created by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein--veteran musicians and close friends--the two pooled together their collective experiences of Portland and have generated a successful format for satirizing some of the most innocuous quirks about the city and the millenial generation as a whole.

Four seasons since their debut in 2011, Portlandia has become a cult hit with its iconic one-liners ("Put a bird on it!"), awesome guest stars, and various recurring characters played by Armisen and Brownstein, like the gender-swapping roles Lance and Nina, aging punks Spike and Iris, and of course, feminist bookstore Women & Women First owners Toni and Candace.Last Saturday night, Armisen came down to the Observatory in Santa Ana to extend to fans an exclusive first look of this season's upcoming episode 8, and engaged audiences in a hilarious Q&A session full of memorable moments and insightful answers.

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RAC - The Observatory - April 9, 2014

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Photo by Brenda Wong
The man himself
RAC
The Observatory
April 9, 2014

How does one of the most prolific and talented remix producers working today go on a live tour? He grabs his MacBook, a magical music box, and finds a keyboardist, bassist and drummer and takes them all on the road.

André Anjos, better known as the man behind RAC (formerly the Remix Artist Collective) played the Observatory last night in support of his new album, Strangers, which was released last week. It was his second time playing at the Observatory in less than a year, but his first in the main room as his last trip to Orange County for some reason saw him playing the Constellation Room after multiple sold out shows in LA.


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Kevin & Bean's April Foolishness - Shrine Auditorium - April 5, 2014

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Chris Victorio
Kevin & Bean's April Foolishness
Shrine Auditorium
4/5/14

On Saturday, Kevin and Bean's April Foolishness brought a cavalcade of badass comics to the Shrine Auditorium, including Jim Jefferies, Patton Oswalt, Tim Minchin and more.
When you have an all-star comedy line-up, a ton of alcohol consuming fans, and attach a couple of super causes to it, you're sure to have nothing short of spectacular. DJ/VJ Mike Relm was on wax and video duty and once again, he killed it. Mad skills Mike. Mad. Fucking. Skills. After a hysterical video intro from Jimmy Kimmel, Kevin and Bean hit the stage and the wild crowd became even louder cheering the boys on as they thanked everyone for coming out. They shouted out the comics that would be entertaining us all and let us know that proceeds from the night would be benefiting Fisher House (that provides homes for VA's) and Cedars-Sinai NICU. Laughing is great but when you pair laughing and a charitable cause together, you have even more to be grateful for. And let it be known, everyone sure did seem grateful for the night ahead.

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Kings of Leon - The Forum - March 21, 2014

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Daniel Kohn
Kings of Leon
The Forum
3/21/14

The raucus Followill cousins were back in town for their first proper headlining gig since the tumultuous 2010 tour, which culminated in lead singer Caleb Followill serving a stint in rehab after vomiting during a show in Dallas. When they last played in this room, back in 2009, Kings of Leon were at the top of the rock world. They had two smash singles in "Sex on Fire" and "Use Somebody," which seemed like they were on every radio station at the time. Those songs haven't gone away and have grown into rock radio staples, but something changed about the band.

Touring behind the lukewarmly received Mechanical Bull, which seems better suited as a bar than album title, the cousins didn't exactly recall the hard rockin' swagger that marked their early years. Hardly the mega hit when compared to Only By The Night, the album bridges their early days with their more commercial sound of today. Yet in a strange way, the album doesn't transcend above its crisp recording and in a live setting, lacks the fiery grit of the first few albums. Whether you love them or hate them, at least the Followills made you feel something. These days, they've fallen in the dangerous trap that beholds any successful band. In this case, catering the bro'd down arena rock that is completely different than what them a breath of fresh air and so dynamic in the first place.


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The G-Funk Fest - The Observatory - March 15, 2014

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Yes, that's Spice-1 and MC Eiht on the same stage at the same time.
The G-Funk Fest
The Observatory
March 15, 2014

It's been three years since west coast hip-hop's most respected crooner Nate Dogg passed away. Like all other hip-hop artists who have passed, his death only seemed to bolster his impact and bring it back to the spotlight. It's well deserved too; what would California summers and springs even be like without hearing a Nate Dogg hook somewhere during your daily routine?

Though the G-Funk era seems pretty dated in 2014, it lives on through the artists of the era who still produce music and do shows, and through its impact on the current West Coast revival. The Observatory celebrated the life of Nate Dogg and and his contemporaries in the fashion it knows best: hip-hop bills filled with west coast rap veterans, including Warren G, MC Eiht, Spice 1, Kokane & Big Hutch of Above the Law, and 2nd II None. That's four musical sectors of California -- Long Beach, LA, the Bay Area, and Pomona -- covered within a few hours.

See also: The Top Rappers in OC


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The Grand Finale - Detroit Bar - February 28, 2014

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Jackie Connor
Dirty Science pumps up Detroit Bar

The Grand Finale (Abstract Workshop and Dirty Science)
Detroit Bar
February 28, 2014

Orange County D.J. collectives Abstract Workshop and Dirty Science closed out Detroit Bar's 13 year history with a bang to the beat of classic hip-hop tracks last Friday night. The packed house barely fit into the balmy interior of what was left of Detroit Bar as hundreds of people dwarfed the average sized venue's capacity on the cold and rainy evening. Getting a drink at the bar was, how should we say this...a challenge. But considering it was the bar's last hurrah, most people didn't let a little struggle for booze get in the way of a good time.

See also:
*13 Detroit Bar Shows Worth Remembering
*Goodbye, Detrot Bar

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Miley Cyrus - Honda Center - February 20, 2014

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Sugarwolf / OC Weekly

See Also: Miley Cyrus @ Honda Center

Miley Cyrus
Honda Center
2/20/2014

There was a lot of tongue, weed paraphernalia, and bananas in the crowd at the Honda Center last night as Miley Ray Cyrus, the untamed former Disney-star-gone-bad-girl, hit the Honda Center for part of her Bangerz world tour. Miley did her thing on stage in half-naked leotards, sequins, wigs, cowboy boots, and long gowns. Although she's received a lot of criticism for her racy live performance, and her public image has gone from child star to ratchet rebel, she still has a tremendously large fan base.

Last night, Cyrus celebrated her fourth studio album, Bangerz which came out in October 2013, going platinum despite (or probably due to) her crazy endeavors. She has become this generations most contentious pop star who knows how to deliver an entertaining live show of Britney Spears proportions. It was so unforgettable, we had to review each moment with a minute-by-minute breakdown.

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OCMA Showcase, Night 6 - The Tiki Bar - February 11, 2014

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Bridget Arias
The Originalites
OCMA Showcase, Night 6
Tiki Bar
2/11/2014

The OC Music Award's hosted it's reggae/rock installment on night six of it's showcase series appropriately at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa last night. Mikey Pauker, Katastro, Solution, Wheeland Brothers, and The Originalites made up last night's array of multifaceted local bands merging styles from reggae, hip-hop, rock, ska, punk, and folk for an entertaining night of live music. Listed as Best Rock Club of 2012 in OC Weekly's Best Of issue, the Tiki Bar is known for the delicious Sunday brunch just as much as it is for it's strong music scene. The year old remodeled building also boasts a brand new sound system, but what we're really wondering is what happened to the lobster machine?

Mikey Pauker and his dapper band started off the night with his dreamy voice and Ryan Adams like demeanor. Straight from his world tour to promote his debut full-length album Extraordinary Love, this was Pauker's first local gig in over a year. The Laguna Beach resident gave us a little lesson in modern Jewish music by having the crowd sing along repeating lyrics like "shalo shalom." His peaceful melodies and unique lyrics based off spiritual Jewish text from the old testament had the perfect blend of folk, reggae, and even electronica to get the crowd moving. The performance was in no way spiritually pushy, but rather soothing as he sang about themes of love and unity.

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Young The Giant - Hollywood Palladium - February 7, 2014

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Matt Oliver
Young The Giant
Hollywood Palladium
2/7/14

"I remember when trying to sneak into an LCD Soundsystem show here," Young the Giant lead singer Sameer Gadhia mused about a quarter of the way into the band's 90-minute set. "We've come a long way since then."

And indeed they have. Working their way up through the rigid L.A. club scene saw Irvine's great rock hope play at the Whisky-a-Go-Go and The Roxy before garnering national attention with "My Body" and "Cough Syrup." Though they filled the Wiltern their last time in Los Angeles, selling out the Palladium was an entirely different beast.

On the third night of the band's massive 2014 tour, they showed that they've grown comfortable with the rigors that come with being a band on the rise. In the few years since their last proper headlining tour, the quintet added an arena-ready light display. However, it seemed like Young the Giant were a bit reserved and tense at times.


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Skinny Puppy - The Observatory - January 24, 2014

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Brian Erzen
Skinny Puppy, one of the most prolific bands of the industrial music world, started their new tour in the Observatory Santa Ana last Friday. They opened the show with "Cholalone," a song they haven't performed since 2000. The classic song set the tone for a night of gloriously abrasive nostalgia for most die-hard fans who rarely (if ever) get to see the band perform in OC, as well as debuting songs from the latest chapter in their history.

See also: Skinny Puppy's Rage is Still Relevant, 30 Years After They Started.

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