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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PartyNextDoor Made Everyone at the Observatory Feel Sexy (Even the Cholos)

Categories: live review

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Timothy Norris/ LA Weekly
Photo of PartyNextDoor from the Staples Center, 2014
PartyNextDoor
The Observatory
2/6/15

Though Canada and the US share borders and time zones alike, music fans in the states often find themselves amazed at how our neighbors to the north seem to have a lock on the re-branding of our '90s R&B. Starting with Drake more than five years ago, who introduced us to The Weeknd almost three years back, Toronto and the OVO sound have captured our ears and often put us in sultry moods that elicit intimate times with those we love and those we make love to. Its a relationship similar to the Seattle-Grunge connection responsible for an entire culture. PartyNextDoor (born Jahron Anthony Brathwaite) is the next crooner under the guise of the Young Money baron to slow things down and take us back to the time of Aaliyah, Jodeci, and early Usher.

Starting just after 9 p.m., PND's set was an event that started much earlier than any in the crowd was likely used to. Still, the large crowd was strong from the moment the 21 year-old stepped on stage. From the silence that preceded the Canuck's emergence and every single lull in between, shrieks rang through the venue from all sides, including the balcony which was more packed than usual. The screaming ceased when Party's punchy vocals were blaring in the venue and everyone began singing along--even a wannabe cholo we spied in a blue pendleton shirt with a black bandana tied around his slicked back hair.

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The Indigo Festival - The Observatory - January 31, 2015

Categories: live review

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Rachel Villegas
King Buzzo of The Melvins
The Indigo Festival
The Observatory
1/31/15

The night before Super Bowl Sunday, the Observatory in Santa Ana was home to the Indigo Music Festival, which hosted a line up so diverse and head scratching, that to call it eclectic would be an enormous understatement.
 
Originally planned for a two-day extravaganza, the event was quietly cut short by a day, and several key artists such as Converge, Rocket From the Crypt and others dropped off the bill. Headliners included the progenitors of alternative stoner metal/drone/doom, the Melvins, with Deafheaven and Blonde Redhead performing hour sets before them.
 
Despite the festival's low turn out, fans in attendance still got an afternoon and evening of live music was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. The crowd was barely beginning to arrive a few hours after the doors to the venue opened` way too early at 2 p.m., but as the hours passed more and more people slowly began to stream in.
 
In the Constellation room, various, indie, synth pop, experimental, new wave and emo rock bands played, with a set time list that was 40 minutes behind schedule. Luckily, the main stage was on time by the minute, which made things a little better, for those who cared. With this in mind, we decided to offer our list of mentionable performers.

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XTRMST - The Observatory - January 30, 2015

Categories: live review

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Kyle Cavaness
XTRMST
The Observatory
1/30/15

"You ask why I live like this?"

Davey Havok answered his own question at the Observatory on Friday--screamed the answer, in fact--into the faces of his unflinching fans.

The AFI frontman and punk rock torch-bearer, along with AFI guitarist Jade Puget, brought their straight-edge hardcore passion project XTRMST to life for two local shows this week.

The band opened their two-date tour with an evening at the Roxy in Los Angeles on Thursday before wrapping things up in Orange County 24 hours later.


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Band Of Horses Were Rusty, But Riveting at the Observatory

Categories: live review

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By:Taylor Morgan
Band of Horses
The Observatory
1/28/15

On January 13th when the Grammy winning, indie-rock band announced they'd make a pit stop at OC's Observatory before heading off to Riviera May, Mexico, to perform at the festival One Big Holiday, they didn't think they would be facing a sold out show.

"Wow! We haven't played an electric show in so long. This is going to be loose, loose as diarrhea, let's have some fun" yelled Ben Bridwell, the band's founder, lead singer and guitarist who possesses a style similar to an early Neil Young. They jammed to "Electric Music" and baby blue wrist bands launched toward the ceiling as girls with wavy locks dragged their flannel wearing man totes throughout the crowd, bumping shoulders with anyone in their path to reach the dreamy Band of Horses.

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Bad Suns - The Observatory - January 25, 2015

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By:Taylor Morgan
Bad Suns
The Observatory
1/25/15

L.A. band Bad Suns received an unprecedented amounts of "I love you" screams, immediately following an intense lyrical devotion to "Transpose" the groups first song of the night at the Observatory.

Christo Bowman (vocals), Miles Morris (drums), Ray Libby (guitar) and Gavin Bennett (bass), released their debut album Language & Perspective last July and are quickly elevating their profile in the indie rock scene. Their bouncy beats and hook heavy chorus' recently landed them a performance slot on Conan O'Brien as well as three sold out shows, in Southern California, to kick off their 2015 tour.

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The Humpers - Alex's Bar - January 17, 2015

Categories: live review

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Jackie Connor
The Humpers
The Humpers
Alex's Bar
1/17/15

Although The Humpers haven't been consistently rocking houses until lately, you'd never know if you were at Alex's Bar in Long Beach, Saturday night. Despite their crazy shows from days past, I only spotted one, count 'em ONE, PBR per band member while they were on stage. Lead Singer Scott Drake still managed to pull off somewhat of a crowd surf proving that age does not matter, maybe drinks, at this point, did, as towards the end of their set, they demanded a shot in exchange for an encore.


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