Drake vs. Lil Wayne - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre - Sep 19, 2014

Categories: live review

Nick Nuk'em
Drake vs. Lil Wayne
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

Invited in by the scent of some of California's sweetest cheeba, smokers, drinkers, twirlers, and athletes (including OKC Thunder's point guard Russell Westbrook) rolled into the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre to catch Capcom Presents: Drake vs. Lil' Wayne. In the classic story of the apprentice one day emerging as his mentor's adversary, Drizzy Drake stepped to Lil' Wayne ready in a fight for the crowd's affection. By the end of the night audience members were tasked to choose a winner between the two. So far on the tour, Lil Wayne held onto a one show lead, upping the Toronto protégé 15-14.

Graphics on the screen prompted the crowd to download the Capcom-powered app for the tour. From there, crowd members chose who would perform first and ultimately, who would be the victor of OC's exhibition. Lil Wayne started things off, ascending to the second story of the stage for three songs. For the majority of the night, the two would perform in triplicate, charming the crowd one bit at a time.

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OC Death Fest - The Music Hall - September 13, 2014

Categories: Metal, live review

Alex Distefano
The Faceless
OC Death Fest
The Music Hall

The blazing hot sun and triple digit heat didn't keep hundreds of faithful metal heads away from a warehouse in an industrial corner of Anaheim on Saturday for the second annual OC Death Fest, organized by Arrogant Behavior Promotions, an LA-based underground metal booking company.

With over 20 local and touring bands performing, the festival began early. Doors opened promptly at 1 p.m. and the first bands were on shortly after. The set up of the seemingly makeshift venue, known simply as The Music Hall, was an outdoor stage and an indoor stage, both of which were hot as hell. But from the onset, fans were treated to a flood of local talent throughout the entire 11-hour event.

Whether it was death metal, black metal, thrash, deathcore, grind, progressive or some kind of hybrid, this festival covered it all. From the brutal, head banging death metal of LA's female thrash band Harlequin.

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Linkin Park - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre - September 11, 2014

Categories: live review

Linkin Park
Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

Last night, 16,000 people found a brief distraction from the somber memory of 9/11 at Linkin Park's Carnivores Tour stop at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. The band arrived with 30 Seconds to Mars and AFI in tow to support The Hunting Party, a new album released in June. However, a good chunk of their set was dedicated to the band's earlier days. After opening with "Guilty All The Same" from their new release, three of the next four songs - "Given Up," "With You," "One Step Closer" and "Papercut" - all came from AFI's landmark first album, 2000's Hybrid Theory.

Linkin Park still sticks mostly to the radio-friendly rap-rock that made them famous - a Limp Bizkit buttered with more hooks and less misogyny. The formula serves them well, however, and more than a decade on, any rough edges from genre blending have been sanded off by years of touring and six studio albums. Resident rapper Mike Shinoda takes to the guitar and keyboards as much as the mic these days, and DJ Joseph Hahn - a brief beat breakdown in the middle of the set notwithstanding - provides backing atmospherics more than any outright scratching.

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Atreyu Reunite to Demolish Old Stomping Grounds

Categories: live review

Thumbnail image for Atreyu2.JPG
Taylor Morgan
By: Taylor Morgan
Chain Reaction

It's been at least a decade since Atreyu have set foot on stage at their old stomping grounds inside Chain Reaction. In that time, they've managed to reach the height of metalcore fame, release five albums, followed by a five year hiatus and now deliver one of the biggest reunion shows in OC at the tail end of summer. And what better place to do it then the venue that helped nurture them from the very beginning?

Inside the packed, steaming venue, chants of "A-trey-you-- A-trey-u--A-trey-u!" waft over the crowd. So does the smell of BO. The energy throughout the venue, which sold out in minutes, is undeniably contagious. It's been about three years since the band played their last show together and the anticipation for a new chapter for the band, as well as the release of their forthcoming new album, is well documented.

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YG - The Observatory - September 09, 2014

James Brunt
The Observatory

Before doors opened for the second YG show of the night at the Observatory on Tuesday, an extensive line snakes from the front doors ending just yards shy of Harbor Blvd. People of all sects stand in their version of fly summerwear from hipster looking girls in long white Coachella-type dresses to your casual t-shirt and baseball cap-wearing dudes among the predictable concertgoers; chicks in tanks and high-waisted shorts and bros in tanks and shorts that look odd if they're not clad with anchors. Simultaneously, the venue is experiencing a mass exodus. Moments before, the first of two YG shows had just concluded and the indomitable energy lingering after a great performance oozed from early crowd.

"Y'all betta turn the fuck up when y'all get in there" demands one young lady as she heads towards the parking lot. Her demeanor resembles a young emcee looking to get the crowd hype.

One year ago, a YG show would not have been as big of a ticket. But on this Tuesday night those who may have forgone his opening performance at UCI's fall concert last year, would not miss a second chance to ride the wave. As the affinity for using the word "ratchet" whenever possible has grown, so has the chance to vibe to the tunes that accompany the trending rap vernacular.

See also: YG's Listening Party Was a Bompton-Style Rager

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Reggae Rock Hitting Heavy at the Annual Orange Street Fair

Categories: live review

Matt Corkill
Seedless at The District Lounge
By: David Garcia
Seedless/ Solution
OC International Street Fair

Located in the historic downtown district of Orange, the city's 3-day Orange County International Street Fair still hosts its annual bash in the hot summer sun with arts, crafts, live music, multiple vending booths, tons of new food and tasty beverages for all ages to enjoy. Saturday is easily the most popular day to partake in the fun as it contains nine different stages featuring live performances that start as early as 10am and run until 9pm. Over the weekend locals favorites Seedless and Solution performed for free on two different stages and settings in the middle of the day.

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Nine Inch Nails - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre - August 22, 2014

Categories: live review

Christopher Victorio
Nine Inch Nails and Sound Garden
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

After 20 years from both of their breakthrough albums Superunknown and The Downward Spiral, both heavily popularized '90s- scene leaders Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails proved their relevance in 2014 at their joined tour stop at Verizon Amphitheater on Friday, August 22.

While focusing on their 80 and 90-minute sets respectively on their star albums, their featured songs off of Soundgarden's 2012 King Animal and Nine Inch Nails' 2013 Hesitation Marks kept the momentum of the two bands rolling. Nine Inch Nails' elemental industrial rock proved more apocalyptic in the age of technological-produced music, infusing the movement of the crowd with a kinetic set of sound and visuals from the previously stone-statue crowd during the grunge set.

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Foxygen - The Observatory - August 15, 2014

Categories: live review

Moss Perricone
The Observatory

"When I say Rado, you say drank," Jonathan Rado calls out from behind a stack of keyboards. Rado. Drank. Rado. Drank. He hits a button -- the beat kicks in at 74 BPM. It's the same tempo as Kendrick Lamar's Swimming Pools. Roll up. Drank. "Give me your pants," someone shouts. "I can't," Rado responds -- calm, removed, Keith Richards cool. He plays with a cigarette in his mouth, wet between sips off a big bottle of Jack.

"These are my bar mitzvah pants."

Things got freaky Friday night at the Observatory. Opening act (and Locals Only faves) Mr. Elevator and the Brain Hotel ushered in a wave of chunky psychedelia -- persistent bass grooves dressed up in Davy Jones harmonies, in sinister Sunday morning organ riffs. Frontman Tomas Dolas convulsed at the keys, howling, thrashing, setting off "Nico" -- a perfect closer, a song for the pit.

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Paramore - Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre - August 16, 2014

Categories: live review

Christopher Victorio
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

Wearing kneepads and Muay Thai shorts, with sweat dripping off the tips of her SLC Punk-blue hair, it was clear that Paramore's Hayley Williams is no longer the perceived lightweight from the Vans Warped Tour. After last year's Self-Titled tour, and years of unfair criticism (amplified by the Farro brothers' departure in 2010), Paramore is now her band. There's nothing left to prove, and after 10 years, Paramore has seriously grown up--the teenybopper label dropped like baby fat in favor of Hayley Williams becoming a pop icon.

"We made it to double digits guys," she calmly stated to thousands of crazed fans at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine; connecting directly with the audience by smiling at "familiar faces" as if they were all in the same minivan together, with her dad in the driver's seat. Those same fans that discovered Paramore through "Misery Business" in 2007, have grown up alongside Williams, who now seems to be feeling the wear-and-tear on her body--like an aging prizefighter--except she's only 25: "Getting old," she told the crowd, "it's getting harder to headbang, but that's okay, that's why I have knee pads." And like any proper fighter, she isn't one complain or show her bruises. Williams' neck and back are constantly in pain, and having been on the road nonstop since October, you can bet her vocal chords are strained. But none of it showed on the Irvine stop of the 44-date Monumentour with Fall Out Boy--it never does with Williams. She's a born performer, like Freddie Mercury or Elvis before her.

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Pacific Festival: The Dunes - Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort - August 16, 2014

Categories: live review

Taylor Morgan
By: Taylor Morgan
Pacific Festival
Newport Dunes
August 16th, 2014

For a couple years now, Pacific Festival has worked on mastering the art of the large scale OC beach party. On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Newport Beach, blonde beauties sip ice-cold beers out of pink flamingo cup holders, designed to look like miniature floaties. Beach balls fly through the air as Cherry Glazerr perform on the main stage and toes dig into the sand of this years Pacific Festival: The Dunes.

Pineapple t-shirts, bikinis, and barely-there shorts hug swinging hips. Sweat drips down the backs of fat boys, who have collectively decided to forgo their tank tops. After all, their fanny packs, serving as the vessel for menthol cigarettes, is creating quite the sweat pocket already. In the near distance, kids in life jackets paddle board effortlessly and cannonball from a large floating whale into the Eco preserved water.

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