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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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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