Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicked off on January 4th with seven weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band or Best Live Acoustic and a performance slot at the 2011 OC Music Awards, March 5 at the Grove of Anaheim. And, the voting is open now!
I like my music loud; I like the crushing press of the crowd while I struggle to keep my balance. Therefore, it only makes sense that I absolutely loved She Screams Remedy, Seedless, Railroad to Alaska, Pistolero, and Entice who played the OC Music Awards Night Five showcase–unofficially dubbed the “hard” night.
It’s a known fact. Metal dudes are outrageously hot in that dirty, violently sexy way that makes women have lascivious yearnings for a bad boy or two. Last night, the Tiki Bar was not lacking in pretty girls eyeing up rocker dudes, which meant the lobsters were not the only thing people were trying to catch.
The venue was steamy, the people were hot; overall, Night 5 of the OC Music Awards Showcase Series was pure fire.
With their brand of ethereal post-hardcore, She Screams Remedy took the stage while the Tiki Bar was filling up. Live the band is louder and tighter than on their recordings, which actually serves them well. Moony, teenaged singer Kyrsten Gammon once confessed to dire stage fright, but last night you couldn’t tell; Gammon is very dynamic on stage and her youth is only evident in her fresh-faced look. Everything else about her is very mature.
Another standout performer is vocalist and guitarist, Trevor Koch, who dominates the stage with the studied intensity of his glances and his technically-adept guitar playing.
Proving the statement in their interview that She Screams Remedy are “anti rock stars” and academics, I talked to Koch afterwards, asking him if he was going to hang out. His reply: “I have a test.”
Coming into the showcase, Entice was one of the bands I was most excited to see because they play the kind of British-tinged pop-rock that I grew up listening to and loving. Entice is another case where the recordings don’t serve them as well as their live show does. Lead singer, Isaac Leland, said he was getting over sickness, but it was hard to hear while he performed.
In their interview, Entice stated that they were a band with a “major label” sound. This statement was a bit of an understatement; there is something incredibly polished and professional about Entice on stage. They have musical chemistry and a noticeable interpersonal rhythm.
All around me I heard shaggy-haired dudes and metal girls in black make declarations like, “I don’t normally like this kind of music, but these guys are really good.”
I’m going to make a point-blank, definitive statement: Railroad to Alaska was my favorite band from the Showcase Series to date. While I love so many of them for a plethora of reasons, Railroad to Alaska brought a unique breed of dark, sexy metal-drenched hard rock, that made the crowd go wild–literally.
Semi Sweet‘s Vanessa Barnes was rocking a helmet and stage-diving; acoustic brethren Daniel and David Alcala were using their long hair to their advantage in the most pit; and I’m pretty sure someone walked away with a torso full of bruises.
While all the guys in Railroad to Alaska have rock star ingrained into their genetic make-up, lead singer Justin Suitor is already a super star. Whether consciously or not, Suitor’s stage antics, facials expressions, and primal energy were perfectly timed with the beat of the music and the flashing of the cameras. It was incredible to watch.
And since I promised him I would stand in the front row, I even got a little of his sweat on me. It sounds disgusting, but that is rock ‘n roll. It can be an awesomely messy affair.
Pistolero came heavy as promised. I heard someone in the crowd say, “This is awesome. They sound like that sort of ’80s metal I used to love to listen to in junior high.”
Pistolero are definitely old school metal and they bring a lot of style, swagger, and righteous amounts of screaming vocals. They seem to have a hardcore, devoted following of fans; Although, people who hadn’t heard them before were having a good time. At that point in the night, there was enough intoxicants in the system to make the crowd scream along to Donnie Deschenes’ earth-shattering vocals.
If you are into metal, you definitely want to check Pistolero out.
Usually, at the end of the night, the last band gets a little shafted. Most of the time, a majority of the crowd will find themselves antsy or tired and make their way out of the venue. That was definitely not the case with reggae-rock band Seedless.
Even after the first four bands were done, there was a line outside the door and down the block waiting to get into the venue to see Seedless. I have never seen anything like it at a local show.
Seedless certainly does a great job self-promoting themselves, but their fan base is not explicitly because of hardcore marketing. Seedless is a phenomenal live band. They transformed the Tiki Bar into a giant party, one that you would be remiss to miss, and if you didn’t walk away with a “contact high” from good vibes, you were standing next to the wrong people.
Every member of Seedless brought it in his own way; they are a collaborative musical family with no one trying to upstage the other. It seems Seedless is all about bringing the party to the people. And the people definitely came out to party.
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]She Screams Remedy[/lastfm]-”Travesty”
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Entice[/lastfm]-”The Watchman”
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Railroad to Alaska[/lastfm]-”The Real Thing”
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Pistolero[/lastfm]-”Sleep When You’re Dead”
[lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Seedless[/lastfm]-”Twisted Love”
The 2011 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 4 -February 15 with stops at:
Five Showcase Series finalists in each live category will then move on to the Showcase Series Finals.
2011 Best Live Band winner will receive a performance slot on the four Southern Califonia Vans Warped Tour stops!
Night Five of the OC Music Awards Showcase Series featured nominees for Best Live Band on Tuesday, February 1st at the Tiki Bar.
READ MORE INTERVIEWS ON KROQ.COM FROM SHOWCASE NIGHT 5 BANDS:
Friday, January 21st-She Screams Remedy
Saturday, January 22nd-Seedless
Sunday, January 23rd-Railroad to Alaska
Monday, January 24th- Pistolero
Tuesday, January 25th-Entice
You have the power to send one Showcase artist to the Best Live Acoustic Finals and Best Live Band Finals.
Cast your vote and enter to win a massive prize pack from the OC Music Awards partners (To be Announced). Voting will begin on December 27 and will be open through the last Showcase on February 15. The votes will be tallied and the band with highest score will automatically move on to their Series Finals! Click here to vote
LEARN MORE AT: OCMUSICAWARDS.COM