Berserktown II Brings Eclectic Craziness to The Observatory

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Priests Perform at Berserktown II. Photo by Scott Feinblatt
Berserktown II
The Observatory
8/16/15

Look out, here comes another themed music festival! Berserktown II (the sequel to last year's Berserktown festival, obviously) brought punks, metalheads, and those who could pass as civilians to The Observatory for three fun filled days of celebrating disenfranchisement. There was no straight uniform for this crowd; for, true punks and fans of old-school industrial music have never really coalesced into a tidy demographic. The name of the game, here, was eclecticism, and the line-up backed that theme up on every level.

As in many festivals, the quality of the musicians tended to increase as the day went on. Naturally, this is not universal -- one can always find charming surprises in the early hours -- but, as I was fairly blind going into this festival [I only knew that the noise rock band Royal Trux was headlining on the day I was available to attend], I didn't have a solid grasp of its ethos. Before long, I pieced it together: these are bands that don't follow anybody's rules and are probably never going to hit the big time. Mind you, this is not a condemnation.


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How Comedian Grant Cotter Went From Punk to Performer at the Vans Warped Tour

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Megan Thompson
It's so cool that I'm right here on the forefront of this new thing.
It's no secret that over here at the Weekly we love to rep our hood as well as those that come out of it and when it comes to comic Grant Cotter, we've been singing his praises for years as if we birthed him ourselves. And while it's hard to pave a path in any city/industry, with dedication, talent, and skill, it can indeed be done. And Grant did it. Rather, he's doing it. He was recently tapped to host and perform on the first ever comedy stage this year at the 21st annual Vans Warped Tour that kicks off in Pomona on June 19th at the Pomona Fairplex. We couldn't let his newest accomplishment pass us by without finding out how psyched he is about the opportunity and wanted to get a little background on his past (unpaid) connection to the Vans Warped Tour itself.


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Five Best Things at Escape All Hallows' Eve

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Alex Perez for Insomniac
Escape All Hallows' Eve 2014

Escape All Hallows' Eve
NOS Events Center
October 31 - November 1, 2014

This weekend more than 90,000 Insomniac fans attended the 4th annual Escape All Hallows' Eve, which used to be known as Escape from Wonderland. With the new re-branded name came the expansion of two days of pulsating dance music featuring over 80 world renowned artist from Moby, Tiƫsto, Armin van Buuren, Richie Hawtin, Steve Aoki, Oliver Heldens and more. The sold-out event felt like a mini Electric Daisy Carnival reunion with a dark eerie twist to go along with the holiday celebrations.

Here's the five best things about this year's Escape All Hallows' Eve.

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Day of the Shred Summons Rockers to The Observatory

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Metal fans gather to see one of many bands performing on The Reaper Stage. Photo by Scott Feinblatt

Day of the Shred
The Observatory
November 1, 2014

Another musical festival has shown that The Observatory hosts some great parties. On November 1, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the Santa Ana venue hosted a peculiar collection of bands from around the country. The most evident commonality between them was that they were all guitar-centric bands, they all used distortion, and they were all heavy. This was Day of the Shred.

Though a decent cross-section of the bands did not resonate a particularly dark image, the fancifully displayed (and in some cases custom) hearses, which were positioned in front and in back of the venue, confirmed that the pun on the holiday name was meant to emphasize that the music was related to death's morbid connotations, rather than having anything to do with honoring lost relatives -- as the holiday intends.

However, given the atmosphere surrounding the venue was a mixture of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, cigarettes, and marijuana, and most attendees were attired in black rock t-shirts, it is not likely that anyone was too upset about the indiscretion.

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Five Reasons Not to Miss HARD DOTD 2014

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Courtesy of Rukes.com
HARD DOTD 2013

One of the biggest party weekends of the year is finally upon us and you know dance music enthusiasts love to stretch this holiday out like it's nobody's business. With so many EDM shows at nightclubs and festivals starting tonight until Sunday, it makes you wonder. Is everyone calling in sick on Monday?

Regardless, we put together this convenient list to give you five reasons why you shouldn't sleep on this years massive HARD Day of the Dead festival, which takes place at a new Pomona Fairplex location on Saturday November 1 and 2. The only thing you need to worry about is what creepy costume you're going to wear nightly.

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Knotfest - October 24-26, 2014 - San Manuel Amphitheater

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Rachael Mattice
Corey Taylor of Slipknot at Knotfest

Knotfest
October 24-26, 2014
San Manuel Amphitheater

Thank the Dark Lord the temperature in San Bernardino was only in the 80s on Saturday, as an estimated 50,000 metalheads, campers and revelers flocked to the San Manuel Amphitheater in Devore for Knotfest -- three days of camping and a dark carnival/heavy-metal music festival curated by Slipknot (who were inspired by European metal festivals) to bring a musical and cultural event of this magnitude to San Bernardino. For three days, fans explored dark art, fire, carnival rides, roller coasters music, and more.

The party got started Friday evening with Suicide Silence and The Black Dahlia Murder opening a nighttime show. Combined, Saturday and Sunday featured over 20 bands on a total of five stages per day. Saturday included bands such as Carcass, Testament, Fear Factory, Prong, Butcher Babies and In This Moment. Sunday offered bands like Napalm Death, Devildriver, Miss May I, Of Mice and Men, Killswitch Engage and Whitechapel.

Both nights were headlined by Slipknot, and night one featured main stage acts Black Label Society, Hatebreed, Black Label Society, Anthrax and Danzig. Night two also featured main stage acts Hellyeah, Atreyu, Tech N9NE, Volbeat, and Five Finger Death Punch.

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Festival Supreme- Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds- October 25, 2014

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Oliver Walker/Goldenvoice

Festival Supreme
October 25, 2014
Shrine Expo Hall & Grounds

This year's Festival Supreme was held at the Shrine and right away I could tell that this venue was going to work out better than 2013's, the Santa Monica Pier. Not only because there was more room to roam around, but also, they upped the ante from three to four stages.

This year's addition was called "Circus of Death" and the indoor room was, well, wild. Dimly-lit with so many things to look at, there was spooky artwork, crazy lights, a church bounce house, and even a train you could buy tickets to ride. With a small, low stage in the middle of the room, my thought immediately was, "This room would be perfect to trip out in."

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The Thirstiest People We Saw at Splash House

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Ed Carrasco / OC Weekly
Getting Splashy

Last night, the three day pool weekender that is Splash House came to a close with a live performance by Jagwar Ma and some epic back to back sets by Aston Shuffle, Wax Motif, Motez, Uberjak'd, Bixel Boys and a surprise guest Adrian Lux well into the am at the Hard Rock Hotel. Taking over three different resorts, this was not a relaxing vacation in Palm Springs. Rather a full blown music festival that provided a stellar line-up of electronic artists and bands, awesome vibes, an incredible crowd and some good ole fashioned debauchery poolside.

With hot babes in bikinis, drinks flowing freely and 100 degree weather the thirst was real at the Saguaro, Hacienda and Hard Rock. Here's the thirstiest people we saw over the weekend. Maybe they should have drank more of that free Evian water they were giving away at the shuttles. Just saying.


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The Five Must See EDM Shows in August

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Fabian Ortiz / OC Weekly
HARD Summer 2013 at the LA Historic Park
It's no secret that we have become the festival generation. Since March (some of us January and February) we've been packing our floral headbands and living out of suitcases at campgrounds and hotels all over. From Coachella to EDC dance music has taken over the largest stages and kept us dancing until the sun comes up while dreading that awful Monday morning. So it's only natural that as the summer comes to a close and the fest season winds down our top five must see EDM shows in August are all festivals. From Lollapalooza to Burning Man there's so much going on this month we had to take a step back and plan the whole month for you.

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LA Horror Show and Music Fest - Hollywood Sports Complex - June 14, 2014

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Photo of Rick Galiher by Scott Feinblatt
There are not enough musical festivals dedicated to spooky music. Sure, there are alt rock and metal fests, which attract some goth and death metal characters, but festivals with lineups of bands that share imagery--in lieu of musical style--are rare. Granted, there are not a whole lot of events at which fans of horror imagery and entertainment can unify, in general [Horror Works is one website that promotes various horror-related events for fans to discover]; however, as far as a horror fest with live musical acts as its main draw is concerned, the LA Horror Show & Music Fest was an anomaly.

The festival took place at the Hollywood Sports complex, in Bellflower. And although the entire grounds seemed decked-out, all spooky-like, for their annual Haunted Hollywood Sports event last October--wherein there were haunted mazes and "kill zones," where you could shoot live zombies using paintball guns--this event was restricted to the immediate courtyard and indoor performance area. This was fine considering there were not the hordes of fans who had come during October to shoot performers with faux weapons. Still, the courtyard featured a decent amount of space, which was occupied by various horror-related vendors and a side-show stage.

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