OCMA Showcase Night 1 - Yost Theater - January 7, 2014

Categories: OC Music Awards

Bridget Arias
The Devious Means
OCMA Showcase Night 1
Yost Theater

In Orange County, the New Year represents more than making resolutions, it represents the arrival of free live music. The OC Music Awards Showcase Series kicked off last night at The Yost Theater, giving artists an opportunity to compete for the title of Best Live Band and fans an excuse to get out of the house on Tuesday nights. The Showcase Series has blossomed into a cornerstone for much of the local music community, where both seasoned acts and lively newcomers get the chance to earn a slot in the Showcase Series finals and a prize package that includes Warped Tour Dates, four days in the Redbull Recording Studios, and more. The first night of eight-week series brought together a mixed bag of sounds that encompassed Orange County's diverse rock scene.

There's a certain amount appreciation that should be dealt to drummers who double as lead vocalists, and newbie Olen Kittleson of indie act Breach The Summit is no exception. The front man's joy onstage was contagious, and his solo falsettos are sweet enough to melt hearts across the county. The group's youth made their set even more impressive and while--as with any young band--there's room to grow, Breach The Summit had many moments of maturity that developed into musical bliss. They created a solid song progression for their 25-minute set, closing with an all-group percussion jam.

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OC Music Awards 2014 Showcase Lineup Announced

Categories: OC Music Awards

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Bob Rodman
Robert Jon Burrison of Robert Jon and the Wreck
Hot damn! It's almost that time again.

The OC Music Awards kicks off its annual Showcase Series on January 7 at the Yost Theater in Downtown Santa Ana. For eight weeks, you can look forward to free showcases at different venues across the county with lineups from your local faves (ours as well). A total of 35 artists will compete for the title of Best Live Band and a prize pack from the Awards partners that will be announced on January 7 at the first Showcase Series event.

The OC Music Awards Showcase Series is free to submit, free to participate and all shows are free to attend. OC Music Awards says they've received hundreds of submissions from diverse artists all across the county hoping to partake in the two-month long live series.

The showcases will be judged by a panel of music experts (apparently I fall in that category as I will be one of them) scoring each band's performance on musicianship, originality, song composition, stage presence and show attendance. Five finalists in the Best Live Band category will move on to the Showcase Series Finals which will be a free show at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Tuesday, February 25. For the first time this year, the winner of the 2014 Best Live Band Showcase Series will be announced on stage at the main Awards celebration at City National Grove of Anaheim on Saturday, March 8.

Fans of the OC Music Awards Showcase Series artists also have the opportunity to get involved through the Fan Vote. Once the Showcase Series kicks off, fans can vote online at http://ocmusicawards.com for their favorite participating Showcase artist and move one band onto the Showcase Finals, regardless of the Judges scores.

To see the final 35 participating 2014 OC Music Awards Showcase Series artists and the complete Showcase schedule, follow the jump.

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OC Music Awards - City National Grove of Anaheim - March 9, 2013

Categories: OC Music Awards

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William Camargo
Lit accepting their OC Impact Award

Last Saturday night, a well-dressed army of local music fans, press and artists packed into the City National Grove of Anaheim for the 12 annual OC Music Awards. Like most awards shows, the night's festivities went  bit longer than necessary with a few fumbles here and there and a mixture of intentional and unintentional comedy to make the night memorable.

But to its credit the OCMAs managed to fill the seats with some actual, physical industry giants nominated for awards -- most notably drummer Adrian Young from No Doubt -- who accepted accolades on the band's behalf for Best Song, Best Video and Best Album. Also in attendance were Irvine locals Young the Giant  (presented the award for Best Indie band by Weekly Music Editor Nate Jackson), and 90's alternative band Lit. Perhaps best known for the 1999 song "My Own Worst Enemy,"  they accepted this year's Impact Award, which honors bands for their impact on music industry. 

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OC Music Awards: Robert Jon & The Wreck Win It All

Categories: OC Music Awards

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Mary Bell / OC Weekly
Robert Jon & The Wreck get something shiny to put on their mantle.

OC Music Awards Best Live Band Finals
House of Blues Anaheim
February 26, 2013

Last night, the final round of the Orange County Music Awards battle for best live band gave us one big-bad ass rock show that tested our attention to detail. Rolling out a well-crafted line-up (not a filler band in sight), five finalists vied for a chance to win a ton of prizes, including a slot of the Vans Warped Tour, recording time at Red Bull Studios, Guitar Center gift certificates, a performance slot at the OCMAs and the Warped Tour and a year's supply of Wahoo's Fish Tacos (hopefully not delivered all at once without the proper refrigeration). In the end, it was southern rock band Robert Jon & The Wreck who pulled it out after a receiving some seriously stiff competition.

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OC Music Awards: Finalists For Best Live Band Announced

Categories: OC Music Awards
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Mary Bell / OC Weekly
Jeramiah Red
After Tuesday's seventh and final preliminary showcase at the Yost Theater, the finalists for this year's Best Live Band Showcase Finals have been announced. After 35 bands competed, only five have advanced to compete next Tuesday at the House of Blues in Anaheim. More »

OC Music Awards: Night 7 Offers Sashaying, Soundtracking and Loops

Categories: OC Music Awards

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Mary Bell
The calm before the dance storm.

It was cold and rainy, and the Wahoo's free-taco goodness was moved inside. The neon lights of the old-timey Yost shined bright, as the concert series' final showcase echoed inside the highest ceilings of all the venues. Having attended the Detroit Bar for the series opener and now this closing night, one thing has endured through every guttural yell, cymbal crash, distorted riff and keytar swing: the camaraderie between all the bands. After Time and Energy's avant-chaotic yet sonically soothing set, Edgar Trento (bassist for Electro City) made it a point to hug and congratulate a fresh-from-the-stage Jorge Rios on the duo's performance. His smile was genuine, and his beard was bushy.

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OC Music Awards: Night 6 Rock Acts Leave Us Both Satisfied and Scarved for Life

Categories: OC Music Awards
Mary Bell / OC Weekly
Midnight Hour
OC Music Awards
Segerstrom Center, Founders Hall
Feb. 12, 2013

Night six of the 2013 Orange County Music Awards featured performances both raw (Jeramiah Red) and electrically charged (Devious Means). Though not all of the five bands hit the high mark set by the aforementioned groups (we'll talk about Standing Hawthorn momentarily), last night's gig was a fine event.

Topping the evening was Midnight Hour, whose driving, danceable rhythms were interrupted briefly midset thanks to a busted snare drum. Despite the setback, the band remained unfazed and powered through what turned out to be a commanding set. Their swirling guitars were set over humming keyboards and accompanied by singer Brad Lodge's high-pitched, reedy voice, which was reminiscent of Muse singer Matt Bellamy. 
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OC Music Awards: Night 5 Becomes A Not-So-Subliminal Tribute to Sublime

Categories: OC Music Awards
Mary Bell / OC Weekly
Wheeland Brothers

Last night, the fifth installment of the Best Live Band showcase for the OC Music Awards led us down the long and beaten path of rim shots, scatting guitar and melodic bass lines as rastafied rock acts represented themselves to the fullest. Why they always group bands of the same genre together on the same night is beyond me, but hey, it probably makes things a little easier for the judges. Watching slow tempos and euphoric vocals take over the night, I felt like this week's complementary Redbull should have been served out of an organic coconut.

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OC Music Awards to Honor Lit and Music Director of Pacific Symphony

Categories: OC Music Awards
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You might say the special honorees at this year's OC Music Awards come from very different worlds. On one had, you've got a band who has been hitting us over the head with FM alt-rock for almost two decades. On the other, a guy who has made a career in classical music handling the largest orchestra in the U.S.

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OC Music Awards: Night 4 Offers Old-Timey Acts Of All (Too Many?) Shapes and Sizes

Categories: OC Music Awards

Mary Bell
Golden Afternoon performing at last night's OC Music Awards
The Constellation Room
January 29, 2013

Listening to bluegrass band Moonsville Collective play a jam at last night's Orange County Music Awards showcase about a Tennessee moonshiner named Popcorn, it occurred to me why this competition is so difficult to judge. Not only do I have zero points of reference in my own musical experience with which to compare these guys, but there's nobody in the whole damn competition with which to compare them. Though a person has to appreciate the skill of Ryan Welch, who effortlessly switches between guitar and mandolin, and sings perfect harmonies with a large band joyously rocking lap steel and upright bass, it's hard to escape the feeling that this band, who almost won the acoustic competition last year, should be focusing its efforts on County Fairs.More »