The Best Free OC Concerts in October

Categories: local bands

The Originalites--See October 8
Don't forget to check out our constantly updated OC Concert Calendar

'Free' is a word we all love to hear, but it sounds even better when there's live music involved. After constant free summertime concerts in the park, who says the fun stops there?Keep jammin' through fall with the Best Free OC Concerts in October.

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The Vespertines Show Major Prog-ress with Areté

Categories: local bands

After years of refining their artfully bombastic sound on stages all over Long Beach and OC, The Vespertines continue to be a major force on the local live music scene. Featuring vocalist/ trumpet player Vanessa Acosta, drummer Chris Walker (with current fill in drummer Dan Birker), guitarist Alex Kater and bassist Kyle Cavness, the group have been making music and playing shows since 2009. With an extremely eclectic sound, listeners can hear everything from jazz, funk, folk, soul, ska, dub reggae, post rock, prog rock, psychedelic all in one song. The Vespertines have built up a local following of dedicated fans who cant get enough of the groups slick, spacey, passionate brand of rock fusion.

Kater and Cavaness recently took time to speak with the Weekly about the band's many musical influences, favorite local venues, and what it's like to be part of such a vibrant, bustling local music scene in Long Beach. The band is currently promoting a new album, Areté, which was produced and recorded in the Joshua tree desert, at a studio also used by Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys.

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The Brevet Typifies the Times with Home Grown Americana

Press Photo of The Brevet
Every era generates at least one type of musician. The 50's created rock & rollers; the 60's spawned psychedelic groups; and the 70's yielded hard rockers, punks, etc. In recent years, the musical world has seen the dawn of a new model -- one that is not so much rooted in musicality as it is rooted in enterprise. With the convenience and availability of modern recording tools, and with the opportunities for self-promotion and networking that the Internet provides, all it takes for musicians to become players is the passion to compose, record, and promote their own melodies. Becoming a superstar is not the stated goal of Aric Damm of the Irvine-based group The Brevet; he pursues the noble goal of creating music meant to comfort and give strength to people suffering from life's trials. The fact that his self-produced music has caught the ears of Music Supervisors, who have seen fit to include it in various television programs, is a bonus. See him and his band play the House of Blues Anaheim this Saturday along with Lowly Spects, Yukon Gold, My Double My Brother, and Ashlee Morton.

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Daisy House: Beautiful Father-Daughter Folk Inspired By England

Categories: local bands

Courtesy Daisy House
Having faith in today's folk music can be difficult for the '60s audiophiles caught between paralyzing nostalgia and an ideological distaste for Mumford and Sons. Luckily, in the earthiest corners of the Internet, we still get small signals flickering from bands like Daisy House who exist not only to remind us where folk should be going, but also where it's been. The father-daughter duo of Doug and Tatiana "Angel" Hammond rely on a mixture of '60s pop, the enchanting U.K. folk a la Fairport Convention and adventurous layered sounds in their home recording studio in Long Beach. Their new record, Beaus and Arrows, was just released last month. We recently spoke to Doug about starting the band with his daughter, cracking the BBC airwaves, and finding the key to developing a brand of folk we rarely see in the States.

See also: Why is OC's Folk Scene So Terrible?

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Kiven's Rock is More Than the Sum of Their Influences

Categories: local bands

Kiven aren't really what you'd call a proper OC band. For one, only half of them grew up here. But geography aside, they've never been able to be boxed into any particular segment of the local rock spectrum. The closest bands we can measure them against are Irvine contemporaries like Young the Giant and maybe a little bit of Thrice thrown in. But beyond that, elements of the blues and progressive rock makes the taxonomy a little murky. Best to just dive in cold and let the shock of explosive guitars, dynamic song structures and howling vocals wash over you. That kinda seems like the point of their current video "I Can Take It," a track which happened to be produced by At the Drive-In/Sparta drummer Tony Hajjar--guess they're doing something right.

But even if they're not garage rock, or skate punk, whiteboy reggae, or whatever else people tend to define as the OC sound nowadays, they're definitely deserving of some hometown love when they come through the Constellation Room tomorrow. We spoke with guitarist Danny Schnair and bassist Matt Cohen about their humble beginnings and where they plan to go as a band.

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The Hawkline Monster Reminds Us That We're Still Just Animals

Mike Vitale is an eclectic consumer, from the idiosyncratic writings of Richard Brautigan, whose book, "The Hawkline Monster" is the genesis of his bands name, to the Beach Boys he remembers singing along to in fifth grade and the classic musical that infused his days in choir. Those influences permeate the original songs he's created on his band's debut album, "We Create and We Are Created."

One musical inference that most likely isn't in Vitale's lexicon is Johnny Paycheck. But had he not followed instructions in one of Paycheck's songs--taking his job and shoving it up his boss' ass--it's quite possible his band, and its record, wouldn't exist.The 35-year-old Long Beach resident opted to jump full-title into music after chucking his job at a successful internet web hosting company in 2008.

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Haster Gathers a Storm of Alt-Rock Potential

Categories: local bands

By: Rachael Mattice

Bad weather is rarely something we have to deal with in sun-laden OC. But after getting stuck in the middle of a severe downpour on a drive to San Diego, Huntington Beach native David Heida knew "Haster"--meaning a violent rainstorm--would be a perfect name for his budding alternative rock Orange County band.

"The storm came out of nowhere, and I immediately knew it was the band name," Heida said. "It seemed like fate."

Adding the letter "H" in front of the "Dexter" television show character name "Aster," lead guitarist Heida and drummer Brian Tew couldn't let their favoritism for the name go when they decided to form a band in early 2010. After jamming with different musicians for six months while completing nine songs, Tew and Heida met vocalist Jarrett Stockmar and quickly went into the studio to record Haster's first EP Searching. The final lineup was set in stone, however, in 2013 adding guitarist Patrick Nolan and Bob McCool on bass.

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Chicano Batman Love the Challenge of "Latin Psych Soul"

Jessica Augustine
Chicano Batman
When new, exceptionally talented bands without a previously categorized sound come out, writers all over from Pitchfork to regional publications tend to throw any label at them that will stick, from "coldwave" to "afro-indie." The taxonomy behind music is something journalists and writers spend countless hours hammering away at, but when a band like southern California's Chicano Batman arises, Rialto-raised guitarist Carlos Arevalo has inadvertently discovered the best way to describe his group's relentlessly eclectic sound: a Venn diagram.

"If there was a Venn diagram with Latin and psychedelic soul, that middle ground is where we'd exist," he says.

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OCMA Showcase, Night 2 - The District - January 14, 2014

Categories: local bands

Bridget Arias
Annie McQueen
OCMA Showcase, Night 2
The District

Last night, the OC Music Award's showcase series came to its annual Folk/Americana chapter on the breezy outdoor stage of the District in Tustin. Historically one of the more mellow shows in the series, it would've been easy to prep for a low key night of sipping coffee, and watching stool-sitting singer songwriters while trying to avoid freezing your butt off. Thankfully, not only were most of the acts plenty fired up, the weather wasn't even cold at all!

The lineup for Tuesdays showcase included The Hicks Canyon Band, David and Olivia, Annie McQueen, Live Oak Revue, and Me and the City.

[Full disclosure: I'm one of the judges for the showcases that will select a winner to move on to the OCMA Live Showase finals, so this is more of a recap than a critical review]

See also: OCMA Showcase, Night 1 - Yost Theater - January 7, 2014

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Wink Musselman:Long Beach's Debonair Lounge Legend Returns

Wink Musselman holding the press at arm's length.

Back in the '90s and early '00s, there was no question who the star performer was in Long Beach. Wink Musselman, lounge singer extraordinaire, would definitely be the first to confirm that he, Wink Musselman, was--correction--IS the star wherever he goes.

He's a little Oscar Wilde, a tad Engelbert Humperdink, a smidge Gary Coleman of 'Different Strokes.' But know this: Wink Musselman is all fabulousness.

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