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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Hail Mary Mallon - Constellation Room - January 10, 2015

By: Taylor Morgan

Aesop Rock & Rob Sonic are Hail Mary Mallon
The Constellation Room

Underground hip-hop lovers stood shoulder to shoulder Saturday night at The Constellation Room for supergroup, Hail Mary Mallon. Emcee/producers Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic hit the stage and immediately began to spit rhymes like ear candy as DJ Abilities spun the instrumental beat creating an art form in-and-of-itself. "Mother fuckers, what's good?" Aesop screamed into the mic in the midst of performing their first track "Jonathan" off their 2014 album Bestiary.

The group has been making music since 2009 with a name that pays homage to Typhoid Mary, the asymptomatic carrier of typhoid fever who infected over 50 people in NYC during the 1900s. With a seamless transition into their second track, "Krill," a feeling of an underground hip-hop scene began to infect the room. Aesop wore a yellow T-shirt with a black bat centered across the chest reading, "Zero Friend." Tattoos covered his arms that flailed to the beat as he moved his head back and forth in an ostrich like motion.

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ScHoolboy Q - The Observatory - December 16, 2014

By: Taylor Morgan
ScHoolboy Q
The Observatory

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

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

Thumbnail image for AllahLas.jpg
Taylor Morgan
The Observatory

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

All Photos Brian Feinzimer

Flying Lotus
The Observatory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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