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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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Hail Mary Mallon - Constellation Room - January 10, 2015

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By: Taylor Morgan

Aesop Rock & Rob Sonic are Hail Mary Mallon
The Constellation Room
1/10/15

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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Stevie Wonder - The Forum - December 20, 2014

Categories: live review
Stevie Wonder The Forum 12/20/14 There are few things more predictably awesome than a Stevie Wonder concert. Now edging into 2015, it's still an experience that defies hyperbole. Even more so when you consider that performing his entire immortal double album, Songs in the Key of Life, isn't something Wonder would've done for fans when it was first released in 1976. Aside from doing barely any touring on the album when it came out, in 1975 Wonder had seriously contemplated leaving the music industry altogether. He was actually considering emigrating to Ghana to do some humanitarian work with handicapped children. Luckily, Wonder decided to stick around.

That small footnote was just one of the many things to be thankful for as the man of the hour(s) took the stage backed by as many as 30 of the world's best musicians for his 19th annual House Full of Toys benefit concert at the Forum on Saturday. The show resumed its yearly mission of harvesting toys for needy children over the holidays. And for the second time, the legend performed the album in its entirety for an adoring LA audience.

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Atreyu - The Observatory - December 19, 2014

Categories: live review

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Rachel Villegas
Atreyu
The Observatory
12/19/14

Fans of OC's metalcore heroes Atreyu were packed and squished like a can of sardines for two sold-out nights in a row, at the Observatory's main stage room, in Santa Ana starting with their performance on Friday night. As a special commemoration of the breakthrough album, The Curse (2004), the band performed the entire record.

The observatory's main room was completely stuffed with generations of metal fans; from young, to middle age to older, everyone from long haired thrashers and kids in punk shirts was giving off a collective energy and enthusiasm for the night's headliners, Atreyu.

By 8:40 the entire floor area was full to capacity, as many others eagerly rushed in, to snatch a good spot surrounding the stage. The lines for alcohol and the restrooms were at an all time high, as the level of excitement and pre-show anxiety filled the air. As the lights went out, fans began to roar. But the band didn't immediately come on stage. First, two projector screens showed documentary style footage Atreyu, showcasing the stages of the band's career, starting with the first days of the band in 1998, in the OC and surrounding areas. From the band's early days of wearing make up and being part of the 'Fashioncore' scene, to the writing and recording of The Curse and the infinite touring cycles, the video was interesting, but even die hard fans became impatient after 10 minutes.


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ScHoolboy Q - The Observatory - December 16, 2014

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By: Taylor Morgan
ScHoolboy Q
The Observatory
12/16/14

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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Allah-Las - The Observatory - December 13, 2014

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Taylor Morgan
Allah-Las
Allah-Las
The Observatory
12/13/14

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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Ms. Lauryn Hill - The Observatory - November 19th, 2014

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Taylor Morgan
Ms. Lauryn Hill
The Observatory
11/19/14

A single file sea of people stood outside The Observatory waiting for Lauryn Hill last night. The line that wrapped from the front entrance, through the parking lot and down the side of Harbor Blvd. However, the fans didn't seem impatient as they shuffled toward the venue to see the 8-time Grammy winner, despite the fact some of them had waited hours and Hill wouldn't even take the stage until about 10 p.m.

The night started off with a major boost of island energy courtesy of opener Daniel Bambaata Marley, son of Ziggy Marley and grandson of Bob Marley.Talk about someone who genuinely is passionate about performing. Marley mixed reggae and rock with classical components throughout and his movement amongst the stage had hands swaying with the beat and new and old fans enthralled.


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Every Time I Die - The Glass House - November 15, 2014

Categories: live review

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K.C. Libman
Every Time I Die, The Ghost Inside
Glass House
11/15/14

When bands as widely ranging as the ever-altruistic Hundreth, British mathcore frontrunners Architects, Buffalo, NY mainstay Every Time I Die and L.A.'s own The Ghost Inside come together, it makes for a lineup worth driving out for. Held at the Glass House in Pomona, the sold-out show seemed to be as energizing for the bands as it was for their fans, no matter how far they came for the show, or if they were only attending one of the tour's two-night residency at the venue.

Maybe it is best that Los Angeles proper doesn't have a metal venue suited to acts like Every Time I Die and The Ghost Inside -- rare is it that you can find great sound, solid staff, reasonable-if-not-free-parking, a well-organized layout (with an actual mezzanine) and an in-out policy all at the same location. With Hundreth playing the role of hungry young guns, which they did with aplomb, and Architects playing like the arpeggiated, finger-tapping tour de force that they are, the co-headliners showed their establishment in spades.

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