Taste of Chaos Brings San Bernardino Back to 2003

Categories: live review

Josh Chesler
Taste of Chaos' love for emo music wasn't a dirty little secret.

Taste of Chaos
San Manuel Amphitheater

If you went to Warped Tour in the first few years of the 21st century, you can imagine exactly what the return of Taste of Chaos was like. Picture the best Warped Tour from 2000-2004. Virtually every name on the bill is worth seeing. Most bands get to play 40-70 minutes instead of being relegated to 30. There are reunions of bands that haven't been around for a decade. Every band is on the same stage but there's no delay between sets, and they all want to put on the best show possible because the other bands (likely their friends) are watching them. Oh, and you're old enough to legally drink this time around.

That's exactly what it was like at Taste of Chaos on Saturday, and it all took place on one amazing "turntable" stage that rotated to allow one band to set up while another performed.
Up until the sun went down around 6 p.m., the Warped feel was unmistakeable. The 2 p.m. set from SoCal post-hardcore outfit Finch was one of the best of the afternoon, although seeing bands like Glassjaw and the Movielife play spectacular 40-minute sets in 2015 was pretty phenomenal. It was obvious that the two Long Island early-2000s groups didn't have the same following of some of the other acts at the festival, but their performances were so far beyond what's expected of bands playing while the sun is still out that they no doubt won over some new fans. (Seriously, if you're a young pop punk or post-hardcore band, look at the Movielife and Glassjaw respectively to see what you should be doing. Start with "Jonestown" and "Ape Dos Mil" if you're totally unfamiliar.)

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Thrice Sounds Sharper Than Ever at Tempe's Summer Ends Music Festival

Categories: live review

Josh Chesler
You can't see the heat in this photo, but believe it was there.
Summer Ends Music Festival (Tempe, AZ)

Unless you were lucky enough to fly somewhere like Riot Fest to see Thrice perform on their reunion festival circuit, the six-ish hour drive to Phoenix (Tempe, technically) was the first chance for the most dedicated of their hometown fans to see the quartet since their 2012 breakup.

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Royal Blood Shatter The Walls of the Observatory

Courtesy of Phrankenstein
In 2014, when Royal Blood dropped their debut album, the earth shook. This is why--with just two instruments, Ben Thatcher (drums) and Mike Kerr (bass/vocals) inject tender (and freaking sexy) vocals, scuzzy riffs, and pounding (yet methodical) drums. Their self-titled album doesn't just earn a + or heart shaped click on your Spotify or Apple Music accounts. Their entire album snuggles its way into its own private playlist. Yes, it's that savage.

Seeing this duo live was invigorating. Before they took the stage, fans stood with feet glued to the floor as Bass Drum of Death and Wakrat kicked things off. A man in the middle of the mosh pit stood with black shades, worn responsibly for flashing lights neurotically bounced throughout the venue in every color of the rainbow.

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Glass Animals Give Off Plenty of Peanut Butter Vibes In Santa Ana

By: Taylor Morgan
Glass Animals's has an electronic infused sound with a similar threading to that of Chet Faker, Purity Ring, and CHVRCHES. Their skillful mastery of beats has the capacity of making even the most blasé of folks feel like they're walking on gummy bears. Their song "Gooey," with witty lyrics about "peanut butter vibes" (a term you wish you coined) nods to a love affair with Justin's, and Jif, that offers spoonfuls of joy.

The Oxford-based group composed of Dave Bayley, Drew Macfarlane, Edmund Irwin-Singer, and Joe Seaward begets the kind of applause that makes your hands hurt for the consistent energy they inject into live performances. Which is why at Orange County's Observatory, four guys that became friends at the age of 14 left the crowd goo-goo eyed and chanting..."encore, encore!"

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The Hollywood Vampires Take A Big Bite Out of the Sunset Strip

Categories: live review

Lina Lecaro
By: Lina Lecaro
Hollywood Vampire
The Roxy

The Sunset Strip has seen its share of mind-blowing super group jams over the years: Camp Freddy's rocker-packed holiday hoe-downs helmed by Dave Navarro, the Viper Room's Neurotic Outsiders melding members of both the Sex Pistols and Duran Duran, Steel Panther's stellar sit-ins with the likes of Pink and Miley Cyrus, for example. But just when we thought we'd seen this concept go as bold-name-big as possible, along comes The Hollywood Vampires featuring Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum and the requisite special guests.

The boozed brainchild of Alice Cooper, the Vampires were more of a drinking crew than a band when they began. Born in the upper level bar at the famed Rainbow Bar & Grill in the 70s, the group then consisted of rock legends John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon, Mickey Dolenz, and Ringo Starr. They may not have taken an actual stage in those days, but it's safe to assume that being in the presence of, not to mention actually partying with these guys was its own kind of spectacle.

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Social Distortion Breaks Out Hits, Covers, and Life Lessons at the Observatory

John Gilhooley
Social Distortion

It shouldn't be much of a surprise that the crowd at Social Distortion's 3-nights-in-four-days run at the Observatory (broken up by Travis Scott on Monday) brought out a lot of what OC has to offer. Considering that the self-titled album being celebrated/performed may be one of the most important albums in OC music history, you would think the shows should bring all types of the area's music fans to the Santa Ana venue. You'd be right.

From 16-year-old punk kids to 60-year-old tattooed ladies, cholos in their plaid workshirts to soul patch-wearing former frat boys who would fit in better at a Dave Matthews Band concert, all walks of OC life stood shoulder-to-shoulder on Tuesday night (and Sunday night, but that's a story for a different time) to watch Mike Ness sing a bunch of 25-year-old tunes.

See also: Mike Ness Looks Back, Focusing on the Past of Social Distortion

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Travis Scott's Rodeo Creates Pandemonium at the Observatory

Categories: live review

Craig Cummins
Travis Scott at Fool's Gold Day Off a couple weeks ago. He didn't look that different at the Observatory, just change his clothes and put it all indoors.
Travis Scott
9/14/15 (8 p.m.)

On my way into Travis Scott's concert at Santa Ana's Observatory on Monday night, I saw three different girls being either carried or helped out by their friends and/or security guard. The security line for the 9 p.m. show stretched to the end of the winding barricades allotted for the queue, and a mob was already forming for the 11:00.

It was barely after 8 p.m.

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Silversun Pickups Get Weird and Mesmerizing at the Observatory

Categories: live review

Josh Chesler
Totally should've added a lens flare effect and made it look super cool.
Silversun PIckups

Going into their show at the Observatory in Santa Ana, I really didn't feel like I understood Silversun Pickups. They're that slightly futuristic sounding band with the kind of unintelligible lead singer (Brian Aubert) and the quiet woman with a wonderfully sparkly dress who plays bass (Nikki Monninger). I had little to no idea what they were about, who their fanbase was, or what their music sounded like outside of what I heard on the radio.

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The Get Up Kids Teach a Lesson in Emo at the Observatory

Categories: live review

Josh Chesler
Good thing the Get Up Kids sounded way better than this photo looks.
The Get Up Kids

Matt Pryor can add "beer-dodger" to his resume alongside being the singer and guitarist for the Get Up Kids, as the Kansas City emo band's 20th anniversary show at the Observatory on Wednesday night was interrupted twice by rowdy fans deciding to celebratorily chuck their brews on stage rather than drink them.

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Burger a-Go-Go Celebrated All Types of Punk Rock Womanhood

Categories: live review

Christopher Victorio
The Julie Ruin
Burger a-Go-Go
The Observatory

All eyes were on Santa Ana this weekend as the Observatory hosted Burger-A-Go-Go, the internationally acclaimed festival dedicated to showcasing female talent, curated by Orange County's Burger Records.

After a long day teaching drums and with only 2 hours of sleep, I hastily pulled into the parking lot hoping to catch every minute of the action. I headed inside the venue in desperate need of the restroom only to find a clusterfuck of long lines that became a hallmark of the event. Once in the line for the bathroom, I couldn't help remembering the thrill of being a teen girl at a punk show in the same space a decade prior. The energy, the chatter, the drunk girl slumped in the corner while her friends laughed and fed her cold fries out of a dirty purse; all of it present as ever and nostalgia inducing. But this wasn't a typical women's bathroom hang like those I spent in front of the same mirror applying an embarrassing amount of eyeliner as a teenage punk in Orange County. Dozens of girls were rushing out, beaming with excitement talking about the bands they saw and the ones they had yet to see, all of the acts women.

See also: Burger a-Go-Go Adds More Toppings to Its All-Female Fest

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