High on Fire - The Constellation Room - April 8, 2015

Categories: live review

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Alex Distefano
High on Fire
High on Fire and Saviours
The Constellation Room
4/8/15

Even though most of the massive crowd at the Observatory was there for the sold out emo pop punk band, The Used, the real heavy shit went down in the smaller, Constellation Room, where High on Fire and Saviours performed to an intimate crowd of onlookers and tattooed, longhaired head bangers.

Now that the corner office buildings are used by an urgent care center, a chunk of the once free parking in the back of the venue off limits. The early bird will definitely get the worm, if the worms are parking spaces at the Observatory.


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The Used - The Observatory - April 8, 2014

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Courtesy Of: Anthony Duty of People and Things Photography
The Used
The Observatory
4/8/14
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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Wiener Mania Offers a Sweaty Appetizer to Burgerama

Categories: live review

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Jessie Schiewe
Step Panther
By: Jessie Schiewe
The Australian band Step Panther arrived in Fullerton a few hours before their show at The Continental Room, so they decided to head to Costco. "We thought maybe they had guns there," explained singer Stephen Bourke. "Yeah, we just wanted to see some guns," the guitarist, Zach Stephenson added.

They'd flown in from a city "near Sydney" a few days earlier and were staying in an Air Bnb in Los Angeles. So far, they'd visited Santa Monica and Venice beaches and, of course, Hollywood. It was their first visit to the City of Angeles, let alone the West Coast, and it kind of reminded them of a mash-up of Sydney, Perth and Melbourne, "just with more freeways and wider roads," said Bourke.

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Korn Revels in Nu Metal Nostalgia at Epicenter

Categories: live review

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Matt Oliver
Korn's Jonathan Davis (performing at Hollywood Palladium)
Epicenter Festival
3/14/15

Even the sweltering sun and the broiling LA heat couldn't keep the masses away from the Epicenter music festival Saturday at the Forum in Inglewood. Thousands flocked to see Hopsin, Suicidal Tendencies, P.OD., House of Pain, Limp Bizkit, and headliners, Korn, whose special appearance included the band's debut 1994 self titled album, performed in its entirety for the 20 year anniversary of its release.  
 
By 5:00 p.m. hundreds of revelers were tailgating in the parking lot, getting hammered before the show. But, the venue was half full at best, for the opening act, LA based rapper Hopsin. Most were walking into the venue, finding their seats, or waiting in line to piss or buy beers.
 


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J. Cole - The Observatory- March 8, 2015

Categories: live review

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Timothy Norris
J.Cole performing at Cali Cristmas 2014
J. Cole
The Observatory
3/8/15

Hip-hop is infamous for being braggadocios. It's not the kind of music where a rapper killing the charts typically does so with a mellow, introspective album in a singles driven world these days. It's even stranger still that an emcee would kick off a "three-act" promotional tour in small market cities instead of arenas and radio sponsored festivals across the nation.

But J. Cole is proclaiming that "The Real is Back" and proved his point at the Observatory in Santa Ana last night. Tickets for his show sold out in the blink of an eye. Once inside the venue, the buildup to his presence was as understated as the three-week notice for his latest album 2014 Forest Hills Drive released with little promotion in December. The overcrowded audience didn't have the chance to get antsy when the rapper humbly appeared around 9:30 p.m. without keeping them too long. Wearing grey sweat pants and a white t-shirt--apparel for a lazy day of Netflix--Cole sat down to soulfully croon "Intro."

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Tha Dogg Pound Revives Real '90s Rap at the Observatory

Categories: live review

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Patrick Montes
Tha Dogg Pound
The Observatory
3/5/15

Last night, the Observatory was packed like it was a continuation of the A$AP Ferg show the night before or the back-to-back Travi$ Scott and Young Thug tour-stop last weekend. However, it wasn't a Kanye West-affiliated rapper or another popular star of hip-hop's current generation putting on a sold-out show. It was Tha Dogg Pound, a Snoop Dogg-assisted pairing between Long Beach legend Daz Dillinger and verbose rap veteran Kurupt that's been in various forms of activity for over 20 years. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the pair's classic debut album, Dogg Food, the duo took the stage at The Observatory to celebrate and perform the album.

Aided by an army-like entourage and animated mascot dressed as a crip-walking dog, Tha Dogg Pound took the main stage at the Observatory to play a laundry list of songs from their formidable career. From album cuts made during the Death Row era to a timeless, California favorite off Dr. Dre's The Chronic 2001, the gangsta rap heroes took on a wide range of songs.

See also: Five Overlooked Dogg Pound Jams


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Phobia - Alex's Bar - February 22, 2015

Categories: live review

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Alex Distefano
Phobia lead singer Shane MacLachlan
Phobia
Alex's Bar
2/22/15

A small crowd of devoted grindcore fans gathered at Alex's Bar in Long Beach last night to support beloved OC band, Phobia. The wet drizzly weather wasn't a deterrent for the group of less than a hundred which really only began to show up as the second to last band, Bellflower based Flatbush, was half-way done with their set.
 
When Phobia took the stage at the end of the night, immediately the buzzing razor sharp riffs and voluminous heavy bass distorted the entire room and made the bar rattle.  The blast beats were full of rage, precision and the speed of an assault rifle. Combined with harsh, guttural vocals, Phobia's brand of DIY ethics and a skillful blend of death metal and hardcore punk have earned the band a loyal fan base of fans into the underground extreme metal/punk scene. Since 1990, the band have kept pummeling along in the world of underground grind core, with a focus on anarchism as lifestyle and philosophy.
 

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Motion City Soundtrack Delivers Pop Punk Nostalgia in Anaheim

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Taylor Morgan
Motion City Soundtrack
House of Blues Anaheim
2/12/15

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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Kinky Gave Us So Much Mas at House of Blues

Categories: live review

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Nate Jackson
Kinky
House of Blues Anaheim
2/11/15

Being a Kinky fan requires you to be turned on by a lot of aural experimentation. The band name kinda says it all. And for well over a decade, the polyglot five piece from Monterrey continues to test out our musical predilections with an orgy of funk, techno, punk and rock en español. Oh, and they also make sure we all get our exercise by jumping up and down at an insane pace for the entirety of their set. Last night's show at House of Blues Anaheim shook the foundation of the Mouse House and reminded us that even four years without a record isn't enough to make us forget the power these Mexican pretty boys possess.


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Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse Bring Ritual and Rage to OC

Categories: live review

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Rachael Mattice
Behemoth
Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Aeon, Tribulation
The Observatory
2/7/15

Whether the local OC metalheads were looking for a party or a spiritual experience, concertgoers received doses of both as Poland blackened death metal demigods Behemoth and American death metal conquistadors Cannibal Corpse pillaged the Observatory on Saturday night.

Starting the year with a rigorous winter tour and still feeding off of their most acclaimed album since their formation in 1991, Behemoth's The Satanist-themed ritualistic performance demonstrated years of perfecting the craft of ceremonious metal. The band's Middle Eastern influences were decorated as serpents emerged from microphone stands. The minimal white light and red beams emanated the Toxic Vision designed stage clothes and demonic face paint priming fans for a sacrificial feast. The nefarious trappings were meticulously planned for an entire experience, leaving fans filled with skepticism, fear, awe, invigoration and arousal.

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