Jenny Lewis' Great Voyage Ends in Santa Ana

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Micah Wright/OC Weekly
Walking through the parking lot of the Observatory in Santa Ana, I pondered just who the touted "very special guests" accompanying Jenny Lewis for the last night of her "Voyager" tour might be. Recalling past performances by the Queen of indie rock, I ran through her Royal Court of regular special guests: Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher, Ben Gibbard, M Ward, the Watson Twins and more recently, LA's latest and greatest girl power group, Haim.

It was fittingly Womens' Equality Day, here on this auspicious day of the 95th anniversary of womens' right to vote in the US. And in a way, it was apt that Jenny Lewis was performing the last vestige of the tour for her latest album, The Voyager.

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Motorhead Finally Conquers Riverside

Categories: live review

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Richard Johnson
Motorhead
Motorhead
Riverside Municipal Auditorium
8/19/15

Few things should compel a human being to willfully enter the 91 East freeway during Wednesday rush hour traffic. But if there's one thing worth enduring miles of IE gridlock, it's Motorhead. For four decades, Lemmy Kilmister's shit-kicking, fire-breathing band of rock'n'roll devils have indeed lived up to the slogan on the back of their band shirts: Everything Louder Than Everything Else. It took a while (only 40 years), but that gospel finally made its way to Riverside where the band played the Municipal Auditorium for the first time. But best believe the 909/951'ers were definitely ready to receive them, whether they were packed in on the floor or head banging up in the balcony.

The unconventional warm up gig before their big weekend show at the Shrine in LA (followed up by the band being honored by the LA City Council in a ceremony on Aug. 26--as they fuckin' should be!) was awash with biker chic, towering liberty spike mohawks and $12 pints of beer as the crowd readied themselves for a predictably rowdy show at the downtown venue.

See also: The 10 Most Iconic Basses in Rock'n'Roll History


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Ghostface Killah Busts Out the Classics at the Observatory

Categories: live review

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Josh Chesler
Poor iPhone photos of Wu-Tang Clan members ain't nuthing ta fuck wit.
Ghostface Killah
The Observatory
8/19/15

There are approximately eight people currently in hip-hop who could perform at just about any mid-sized venue in America at 11:10 p.m. on a Wednesday and absolutely no one would complain. Ghostface Killah is one of them (along with RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa).

Although the show was originally supposed to be on Monday, Ghostface's mid-week set at the Observatory in Santa Ana was everything you'd expect from one of the eight living original Wu-Tang Clan members.


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The Offspring Bring Out the Dads at Pacific Amphitheatre

Categories: live review

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Josh Chesler
They're '90s punk royalty, but they're 2015 dad-rock.

The Offspring
Pacific Amphitheatre
7/30/15

It's hard to argue against the importance of the Offspring in shaping the punk scene of the 1990s, but it's been over two decades since Smash came out, and the band's lost a lot of what made that record so iconic.


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Phish Remind Us Why We Keep Swimming Back to See Them

Categories: live review

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Scott Dudelson
Trey Anastasio of Phish (file photo)
Phish
The Forum
7/25/15

Phish made its return to The Forum in Inglewood Saturday night, their second show there in the span of nine months, a one-off evening in a string of two dozen concerts starting in the Pacific Northwest, down though California, across to Texas and the South, then up through the midwest before turning back East for the Magnaball festival in upstate New York.

For those keeping score at home, and many do, the Forum show is the one to beat this year--and might be for a while to come. The bar has been set, and it is a high one.

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Aloe Blacc Brings the Soul to Wayfarer Benefit Concert

Categories: live review

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Josh Chesler
He's the man. He's the man. He's the man.
Aloe Blacc
The Wayfarer
7/25/15

Saturday night at the Wayfarer in Costa Mesa was one of those nights you don't see often enough, regardless of location or music scene.

People of all backgrounds, races, and walks of life filled the small venue. Preppy white guys boat shoes rubbed elbows with cholos in snapbacks as Coby Smith's mom and sister thanked everyone for coming out to the benefit concert his brothers at Abstract Workshop were holding for him. Hipsters with man-buns peered over cornrows and afros to get a peek of Exile working the turntables on stage, knowing that the biggest performer of the night was soon to take the stage.


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MxPx Spans Catalog for Live Recording at the Observatory

Categories: live review

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Josh Chesler
MxPx has been around for decades, but they're not as old as you might think.
MxPx
The Observatory
7/24/15

Time and time again, one thing in the music industry has always held true: a post-prime rock band is really only as good as their aging frontman. Thankfully for MxPx, 38-year-old Mike Herrera hasn't lost a step in his musical ability or his stage presence.


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Badflower Hold Tight to Their Rock Roots at the Slidebar

Categories: live review

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Jason Leonti
Badflower
By: Alexander Vincent
Badflower
The Slidebar
7/23/15

We stopped by Slidebar in Downtown Fullerton last night to catch Los Angeles locals Badflower put on a set presented by KROQ Locals only. The show was opened up by Ghostel, an Indie pop band who's ace in the hole is their female backup singer with a surprising set of pipes. Next in line was Swimm, a poppy folk rock band, akin to Foals.

The headliners took the stage at 10 p.m. As they dive into their first song, it's clear the singer's microphone isn't working, but fortunately the couple dozen loyal fans in the audience are able to hold down the vocals to "Animal" until it starts working at the top of the first chorus. When it comes to rock n roll, these guys are by no means re-inventing the wheel. They've stuck by the tried and true formula: two guitars, bass and drums. What they lack in memorable verses they make up for on their choruses ...though what is important to note is that the band proves that this formula still works pretty damn well.


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Shwayze Gets the Observatory Shwaysted

Categories: live review

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Josh Chesler
What happens when you go out in the middle of a Shwayze crowd to get a photo.
Shwayze
The Observatory
7/19/15

Sunday night, the Observatory in Santa Ana decided to throw a good ol' college frat party. Instead of the $5 cover charge getting you an empty red Solo cup to fill with the cheapest beer and mixed drinks imaginable (yes, Jungle Juice is technically a mixed drink), you got a ticket to see Shwayze perform.


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Art of Rap Festival Goes Nostalgic, Encounters Scheduling Hiccups

Categories: live review

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Josh Chesler
Seriously, why wasn't this guy on the main stage?
The Art of Rap Festival
Irvine Meadows Amphitheater
7/18/15

"I shouldn't have worn my J's today, man," a twentysomething said to his friend as they stood in the rain, waiting to be patted down outside of the Art of Rap Festival at Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre.

"I told you not to," the plastic poncho-wearing buddy directly in front of me replied.

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