RIP Chester Bennington

News hit recently that Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington had committed suicide at the age of 41. I first learned of the news when I tuned in to MartyInYourEar on 98.7FM when he broke the news to the audience. One could hear how hard he tried to hold back the tears as he spoke. I could relate to his pain as I fought back my tears as I drove back home. I still cannot believe that he’s gone! He died just like his good friend Chris Cornell did; today would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday by the way. He was one of many celebrities at Cornell’s funeral and sang Hallejulah. Coincidentally Linkin Park’s Youtube page released the bands official music video for Talking To Myself. I never had the opportunity to see him live, but planned on attending the bands Hollywood Bowl performance this October. I did have the chance to see him play as the front man of Stone Temple Pilots back in 2015, but I passed on that. As much as I love Bennington, it’s not really Stone Temple Pilots without Scott Weiland. Now unfortunately he’s an artists that I’ll never see live in concert. I should have gone to his Stone Temple Pilots concert in retrospect.

Linkin Park were one of the first alternative bands that I could relate to out of others during my adolescent. Their first three albums –  “Hybrid Theory”, “Meteora”, and “Minutes to Midnight” – were among the albums that I listened heavily during high school. I can clearly remember buying “Minutes to Midnight” along with the film The Evil Dead at the now defunct Circuit City during my summer break after my sophomore year. The other two albums were ones that I found during my ventures to my local swamp meet. I can still remember how excited I felt coming across their albums as I add them to my collection. Upon graduating high school I never kept up with the band for unknown reasons. After New Divide I can’t recall any song after that of theirs. Well now I have four albums that I can look forward to listening to. I know that I’ll spend the majority of today listening to their albums, mostly watching their music videos. Among my favorite songs include Numb, Faint, What I’ve Done, Breaking The Habit, Shadow of The Day, New Divide, and Somewhere I Belong. Rest In Piece I hope that you’re in a better place now.

 

Alvarez Kings, The Rare Occasions, and Family Thief at The Parish, Anaheim

Alvarez Kings
The Rare Occasions
Family Thief
Date:
July 15, 2017
Location:
The Parish, Anaheim

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Story
I ended up winning tickets for this concert through a Facebook contest a few days prior to the day of. To be honest, I expected to win so it came as no surprise receiving email. I arrived at 8:30 pm just missing Family Thief’s entire performance. As I made my way to the front I noticed the low turnout which dumbfounded me; more on this later. Within a minutes The Rare Occasions were set up ready to rock. This garage band hails from Rhode Island forming in the year of 2012. Though only five years old they have accomplished quite a bit. In 2014 they won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Song of the Year and were WBRU Rock Hunt Winners. In 2015 they were the recipients of New England Music Awards for Best in State, Rhode Island. The band consists of Brain McLaughlin, Peter Stone, Jeremy Cohen, and Luke Imbusch. Speaking to Cohen after the concert he revealed to me that they opened up for Alvarez Kings years ago. The Rare Occasions heard they were playing at Anaheim so they emailed them, thus they were there that night opening for them. They’re not sure if Alvarez Kings remembers them, doesn’t matter as they got the gig. Well back to the music at foot. The Rare Occasions garage sound possessed a soothing effect on me that I found entertaining. The four members of the band were giving it their all as their hyper energetic performance established them as one of the standouts of that evening. The rippling guitar chords flooded the venue which with the harmonious lyrics of their music had people rocking out. Literally, at one point a man in the crowd walked to the front and started headbanging. My favorite song of theirs is when they played Backwards – their first time playing it live. The song is their next single that is set to be released next month. The members laid back attitudes created a relaxing atmosphere enjoyed by all in the venue. These talented guys were incredible and I can’t wait to see them again.

Soon afterwards Alvarez Kings were all set up for the night. However, there were issues of sound technicalities that plagued them for the first few minutes of their performance. The level of loudness on their microphones and drums were low as the members gestured toward the sound technicians to bring up the level up. I’ve never heard of the band until this night, but right from the beginning I enjoyed their presence on stage. All the members of Alvarez Kings – Simon Thompson (vocals, guitar), Paul Thompson (bass, keys), Sean Parkin (guitar), and Richard Walker (drums) – wore dark clothing, matching the mood of that night. Alvarez Kings are an Alternative Indie pop band from across the pond; London. They’re currently on their Somewhere Between United States tour promoting their debut LP album of the same name. From the moment he stepped on stage Simon Thompson stood out with his captivating presence. He dressed completely in black from head to toe; even his guitar was black! I’ll admit that this guys is the handsomest lead singer that I’ve seen live up to this point. With his guitar playing, this magnetic performer astonished me all through the night.

From the first note of theirs, I instantly loved the band’s music from the inception. Thinking back on it, this is the first concert I’ve attended for a British band. The British know how to create fantastic music and the Alvarez Kings are no exception. These skilled musicians were top notch through their performance. Walker owned that drum set as he blasted the hell out of them and the cymbals. His antics with fellow member Parkins were among the humorous moments of the night. Seeing them play the drums together was quite fun to watch. Well Parkins played mean guitar solos as he matched his vocal strength with Simon Thompson. At one point Parkins’ laptop almost fell off due to the strong vibrations of the music. A local stagehand quickly jumped on stage placing the laptop back on it’s place before any damage could be done. The members made light of this expressing their gratitude to the stagehand while stating all of their “lives work” is on the laptop. Paul Thompson lost himself as he delivered wild guitar solos through and through. As he stood on the opposite side of the stage of where I stood I couldn’t get decent photos of him. Of what I could properly see he appeared to have a pleasant time as the rest.

Unfortunately for myself this concert turned out to be the shortest one I’ve ever attended. The Alvarez Kings only performed for 45 minutes before calling it a night. All the other bands I’ve seen played for at least for one hour or so. I briefly went to the restroom and when I returned Simon Thompson announced that this would be their last song. He further elaborated that the band has been on tour for five weeks thus far. Due to this, Thompson’s vocals needed rest or at least that’s what I understood from him. In the back of my mind I believe there’s another reason why they were calling it quits so early; lack of attendance. Only 20 people stood in attendance to view the band making this one of the smallest audience I’ve been a part of. I felt terrible for the band as not many individuals showed up to see them. This band is talented and know how to throw a great concert. On the other hand I can understand their possible frustration of playing to a near empty venue. I don’t believe they’re that known in the area which is a shame. If you haven’t heard of this band I recommended listening to their music. I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed. I hope they come back to Southern California soon so I can view them again.

The Rare Occasions Setlist
1. Physics
2. Loans
3. Wickenden Kids
4. Backwards
5. Blackstop
6. Notion
7. Halfheartedly
8. Dysphoric

Trivial Notes

  • 3rd concert at The Parish, Anaheim.
  • 1st time seeing Alvarez Kings.
  • 1st time seeing The Rare Occasions.
  • The Rare Occasions’ official Instagram liked the photo I tagged them in and replied back “thank you!!”
  • The Rare Occasions’ official Twitter liked my post of the band.
  • Sean Parkin’s official Instagram liked the photo I tagged him in.
  • Alvarez Kings’ official Instagram liked both the photos I tagged them in.
  • Alvarez Kings’ official Twitter liked my tweet about the concert.

Duncan Dhu at The Novo

Duncan Dhu
Date:
July 8, 2017
Location:
The Novo

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Story
I won tickets for this concert through LATV (thank you). The catch for this was that I had to pick up the tickets in their Santa Monica office. I busted a mission getting there, however it would be worth it in the end. Words cannot begin to explain how ecstatic I became when I won, I saved myself some money on seeing a glorious Latino band. I invited one of my friends to tag along and soon we were set off to see the venue. We arrived early so we decided to explore the area and grab some Starbucks. Once 7:00 pm rolled around we entered The Novo – both of us have never been to the venue before – found a great spot to drink and eat. The venue turned out to be smaller than I anticipated, but I loved the intimacy it offered. My friend and I chatted for hours mostly on horror films and the hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” As we chatted the venue started to fill up as anticipation for the band grew. No one served as the opening act, which did not surprise. I had hoped the band would show up an hour after doors had opened but it took them two hours to begin. This ended up being the largest delay I ever experienced at a concert. I’ll be honest in saying that part of me started to become irritated in all the waiting. My friend on the other hand expected this as mostly all the concerts she attends rarely start on time.

Duncan Dhu are a rock band which formed at San Sebastián, Spain in 1984. The original members of the band consisted of Mikel Erentxun, Juan Ramón Viles, and Diego Vasallo. The band experienced success with their rock and rockabilly style of music since it’s inception. The band broke up in 2001, but have reformed as of 2013. The moment the band hit the stage everyone in the crowd screamed with excitement…well almost everyone. According to my friend the female fan next to her had a stink face throughout the whole time. Like mujer you’re at a concert for an awesome band, be happy! Also one of the sound technicians next to me didn’t care for the band as he had headphones on watching”X-Men 2″ throughout their entire performance. It was their loss as the band did put on one hell of a performance.

Technical issues plagued the band for the first couple of minutes. Erentxun kept stating to the sound technicians to lower the guitar’s sound…which they finally did after five songs. Also one of his guitars seemed to have an issue which took a while to fix. Maybe that guy watching that X-Men film should have tried to help fix the issues at hand, just saying. Regardless of these technical issues, the band were on fire the whole night. Speaking of the day of the concert turned out to be one of the hottest days so far for the summer (temperatures rising over 100 degrees). The heat seemed to have gotten to Erentxun as he took off his jean jacket early on. As the band played through the night my friend realized something about the band that she never noticed before. She’s a bigger fan of them than I, but she never noticed that the band had a country vibe to them. I noticed it early on which I have to admit that I enjoyed thoroughly. The rockabilly, country sound in Spanish created a soothing, laid back atmosphere that lasted through the evening. After this night, I need to invest time in researching other bands that are similar in style to them. All five members of the band, expect the drums, wore dark clothing which contrasted nicely with the bright colorful lights of the stage.

My favorite performances of the night included No Puedo Evitar Pensar En Ti, Una Calle De Paris, and Palabras Sin Nombre. The drunken crowd proved to be fun as some seemed to forget what band they were viewing – some drunk guys screamed for them to perform Tren Al Sur, a song by Los Prisioneros. An outrageous moment at the concert occurred at the end when one of the guitarist approached Erentxun at the center of the stage. This only occurred a few seconds but from I recall this is what happened. The guitarist got on his knees and started playing in front of Erentxun which looked like he placed the guitar close to Erentxun’s knees. That looked so odd which caused the audience to laugh. Just like Elvis Costello this band did two encores to the unexpected crowd. At the end of one of these performances Erentxun dropped on the ground still playing the guitar. He laid completely on his back as he shredded that guitar like no other. Erentxun is a talented front man whose guitar playing and singing skills are top notched. His mesmerizing talent kept me engaged on stage even to the songs that I was unfamiliar with. He turned out to be a class act all night as he jumped into the front of the crowd and singed a record while giving away guitar picks to hardcore fans.  The band ended their setlist with En Algun Lugar, their most iconic song. I waited the whole night to hear this song performed live just like my friend did. In fact she had a few songs she had been waiting for and would grab her phone ready to record. She would get all excited when a new song would be played hoping it be one of her favorite songs. When it turned out it wasn’t she would put her phone down in disappointment. Throughout this last song it felt like everyone in the room either recorded or were taking photos of them (myself included). The lights turned on as the audience gave them a loud ovation as they took a bow. It’s true what they say that some of the best things in life are free…when you win contests!

Duncan Dhu Setlist
1. El Ritmo de La Calle
2. A Tientas
3. No Dejaria De Querete
4. Jardin De Rosas
5. No Puedo Evitar Pensar En Ti
6. La Herida
7. Una Calle De Paris
8. Como Dioses Pequeño
9. No Debes Marchar
10. La Casa Azul
11. Capricornio
12. Palabras Sin Nombre
13. Entre Salitre Y Sudor
14. Esos Ojos Negros
15. Cien Gaviotas
16. La Barra De Este Hotel
17. A Tu Lado
18. Esperare A Que Se Esconda El Sol
19. Mundo De Cristal
20. En Algun Lugar

Trivial Notes

  • 1st concert at The Novo.
  • 1st time seeing Duncan Dhu.
  • Mikel Erentxun’s official Instragram liked the two photos I tagged him in.
  • Mikel Erentxun’s official Twitter liked my tweets about the concert and actually retweeted my post!
  • Duncan Dhu’s official Instagram liked the two photos I tagged them in.

 

 

The Melvins and Spotlights at The Observatory, Santa Ana

The Melvins
Spotlights
Date:
July 6, 2017
Location:
The Observatory Orange County

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Story
Thank you Metal Assault for the opportunity to see this band! I became the lucky winner of their contest to obtain free tickets for this legendary band’s concert. I could be mistaken but I think I did see the founder of the website that evening. Not sure if he happened to be the long haired man in front of me, but I couldn’t ask as he talked to multiple photographers that evening. The Melvins are currently on their A Walk With Love and Death tour promoting their latest album. The rock band hails from Montesano, Washington forming back in 1983. The band currently consists of Buzz Osborne (lead vocals, guitar), Dale Crover (drums), and Steven Shane McDonald (bass). Joining them on their current tour is the rock band Spotlights. I missed my opportunity to see The Melvins two years prior when they played at this same venue. I ended up not attending due to lack of funds. I couldn’t miss another chance to see them so I made it a mission to see this band. I’ve known about the Melvins since high school due to them having a huge influence on one of my favorite bands; Nirvana.

Spotlights are a Brooklyn dreamsludge band who released their first album in 2012. Other than The Melvins, they’ve opened up for The Deftones and If These Trees Could Talk in the past. Chris Enriquez (drums), Mario Quintero (guitar, vocals), and Sarah Quintero (bass, vocals) make up the bands current lineup. The band took the stage literally front and center. Chris’s drumset stood in the center while to the side of him stood the guitarist. Both of guitarists wore black clothing (Mario a button up shirt and Sarah a tank top) while Chris had on a grey tank top. The bands music consisted of melancholic rhythms combined with a hard-rock noise. The shoegaze layers of their music gave the illusion of an almost dreamlike state shuddered in rock music. The purple hues that blanketed the band added to the dream state. The band were great though, I could see why The Melvins had them on this tour with them. They’re quite talented musicians that have a unique noise. Throughout the night I stayed in this dream state ’til the end of their last note.

The moment The Melvins walked on stage I knew this would be an unconventional concert. For starters, throughout the night the stage was illuminated with red lights. The lights never changed (no flashing lights or light effects). It proved to be a daunting task to take photos, red lights are the worst to take decent photos in. I must admit though that the red lights were a perfect fit to the band as it symbolized their energy, passion, and rage. Their level of energy stayed constantly high through the 90 minutes performance. In fact, another unconventional aspect of theirs that evening is how they seamed all their songs together. Their whole performances sounded like one continuous song. There were minimal breaks between songs with at least one of the members playing a note, never letting silence set foot on stage. All the members passion shined through the evening as they give it their all. Lastly the rage come in the form of the lyrically contents of most of the lyrics. Not to mention the moshpit consisting of thrashing and shoving fellow audience members around. Kicking things off the band did a cover of The Flipper’s Sacrifice. The headbanging song Oven continued next while Anaconda displayed the fact that Osborne still has strong vocals after all of these years. Hardcore punk versions of David Bowie’s Saviour Machine and The Beatles’ I Want To Hold Your Hand surprised me. Surprised me in that I loved these hardcore covers especially that Beatles song. The Melvins know how to own these songs putting their unique flair twist to them. A favorite of mine during the night was Onion Makes the Milk Taste Bad (I love their unique song titles). Surprisingly to me, they played a song that has my name in the title; Edgar the Elephant. It’s a track from their newest album, and a pretty catchy song of theirs.

One aspect that took me by amazement is the lack of interaction the band had with the audience. I’ve seen interviews of Osborne where he’ll tell stories to the crowd, and to be honest had hoped he would tell some tales that night. Sadly for me that did not occur, but nevertheless I enjoyed myself.  Osborne’s deep vocals were amazing that night. The punk rock aesthetic of their songs actually had be headbanging through the night. I didn’t think about it or noticed that I head banged until the end of the night. At the conclusion of Roman Dog Bird, Crover played a small drum solo to end the night. As he neared the end, instead of playing the last two notes he threw his drum sticks behind him effectively ending the night. No encore followed afterwards, not that I was expecting one to be honest. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole performance from beginning to end. This is by far one of the best punk rock concerts that I’ve ever attended in my life. I cannot wait for the next opportunity where I can view this incredible band again.

The Melvins Setlist
1. Sacrifice (Flipper cover)
2. Oven
3. Anaconda
4. Queen
5. The Kicking Machine
6. Saviour Machine (David Bowie cover)
7. It’s Shoved
8. I Want To Hold Your Hand (The Beatles cover)
9. Euthanasia
10. Edgar the Elephant
11. Sober-delic (Acid Only)
12. The Bit
13. Onion Makes the Milk Taste Bad
14. AMAZON
15. Hung Bunny
16. Roman Dog Bird

Trivial Notes

  • 16th concert at The Observatory, Santa Ana.
  • 1st time seeing The Melvins.
  • 1st time seeing Spotlights.
  • Spotlights’ official Twitter page liked my tweet about the concert.
  • Spotlights’ official Instagram liked the photo I tagged them in.

Molotov and La Pobreska at The Observatory, Santa Ana

Molotov
La Pobreska
Date:
December 7, 2014
Location:
The Observatory Orange County

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Story
I made the decision to attend the concert due to my desire to view this band live. At this point in time I’ve only attended one concert, The Killers, but have been on the look out to see what my next show would be. I couldn’t let this opportunity slip by as I made up my mind that I would attend it by myself. Thinking to myself I figured if I can make it through a Molotov concert alone then I can make it to at any concert. During this period of time I would be nervous attending any location alone, oh how the times have changed. I expected the night to be filled with berserk mayhem; I ended up being correct. As fate would have it I did not end up going alone. Two of my friends ended up buying tickets for the concert so I tagged along with them.

Molotov at this time were on their Agua Maldita tour to promote their latest album of the same name. This is their fifth studio album, which in 2014 won the Latin Grammy award for Best Rock album. The band holds special meaning to me as they were one of the first Rock en Español bands I listened to. The music videos for Here We Kum and Frijolero received heavy rotation on LATV (not having internet this channel became my only means of watching music videos). These videos provided my first exposure of the band of which turned me into a large fan of theirs. Once we entered the venue my friends made the decision to view the concert in the pit area. Let me say this, never again. Wow, I never felt so crammed up as I did that night. I could hardly move and the view of the stage is not the best unless if you’re all the way in the front. I still don’t understand the appeal of mosh pits, it’s something that doesn’t appeal to me. I lasted as long as I could, but left halfway through Molotov’s performance. Well I’m getting a head of myself.

This so far is the rowdiest group of concert goers that I’ve ever encountered thus far. By the time the first band arrived the restless crowded were ready for Molotov. In a short period of time La Pobreska won over the crowd with their hardcore ska sound. Lead singer Jose Barraza’s strong personality united with his powerful vocals made him a force to be reckoned with. I’ve never viewed an artists posses such a powerful demeanor as this man. I loved this bands performance though, so much so that I began to listen to other similar ska bands as them. The band member’s incredible talents were unforgettable especially that of Memo Rodriguez. Where I stood in the mosh pit area he along with Barraza were the only members I could see clearly. Rodriguez’s charming guitar skills impressed the hell out of me; loved seeing him shred the guitar throughout the setlist. Of the songs that they performed the one that stood out for me is their hit Cruces De Tijuana. It’s a staple of theirs that I look forward to every time I see the band.

Molotov erupted on stage to the deafening  noise of  the audience’s applause. Their loud explosive sound left my ears ringing for hours to come. They began the night with Noko followed by Amateur (Rock Me Amadeus). The latter proved to be a rocking smash with that infectious chorus. Molotov consists of Ismael “Tito” Fuentes de Garay, Miguel Ángel “Miky” Huidobro Preciado “Huidos”, Juan Francisco “Paco” Ayala Gonzalez, and Randall “Randy, El Gringo Loco” Ebright. The members of the band switch up what instruments they play depending on the song as well as other factors from what I’ve noticed. These guys blew me away the moment they entered the stage. The level of dismadre this Mexican band created is unparalleled to anything I’ve witnessed. The raucous level of their music along with their energetic power leaves an everlasting mark. A highlight of mine came about when I heard the intro of Here We Kum blasted from the stage. This is the track that introduced to the band so of course I had to sing it at the top of my lungs. A surprise that occurred that night had been when someone I had a class at CSUF appeared. I observed as he jumped into the mosh pit a few feet in front of me partaking into the craziness. I honestly didn’t expect to see anyone I would recognize that night.

The band’s energy never ceased or lowered even for a second. They all kept up this grand power as they fed off the wild audience’s feedback. Folks on the second level constantly threw half filled beer cans to the pit below spraying all in alcohol. At one point a can hit me on the back as my jacket became soaked wet in beer. My energy perked up at the back to back performances of Gimme Tha Power and Frijolero. Two of their most political songs whose meanings were amplified live as one could see the reaction of not only the band but the rest of the audience. The lights behind the stage constantly changed colors of purple, blue, yellow, etc. During these political tracks the lights were changed to the colors of green, red, and white (color of the Mexican flag). An enthusiastic fan in front proudly waved the Mexican flag to the band who reacted positively to see it. Towards the end of the concert the band invited their female fans to join them on stage. Soon swarm of female audience members were onstage singing or taking selfies with the band. Once the band left the stage chants of “culero, culero, culerto” filled the venue until they came back for the encore. They ended the night with the dynamic Puto. I recall jumping and up along with everyone while yelling out “PUTO!” By the end I could hardly speak from all the yelling, but hey it had been worth it.

Molotov Setlist
1. Noko
2. Amateur (Rock Me Amadeus)
3. Santo Niño de Atocha
4. Oleré y Oleré y Oleré El UHU
5. Chinga Tu Madre
6. Here We Kum
7. Lagunas Metales
8. No Existe
9. Parásito
10. La Raza Pura Es La Pura Raza
11. Blame Me
12. Changüich a La Chichona
13. Perro Negro Granjero (Perro Negro y Callejero & La Grange)
14. Fuga
15. Gimme Tha Power
16. Frijolero
17. Hit Me (Gimme tha Power II)
18. Marciano I (I Turned Into a Martian)
19. Marciano II (Punk Version)
20. Crazy Chola Loca
21. Más Vale Cholo / Blanca Navidad /
22. Dance and Dense Denso

Encore:
23. Mátate Teté
24. Puto

Reviews

Rockeros. December 8, 2014. “Molotov llego a The Observatory de Santa Ana con su Agua Maldita Tour” by Pierre H.
http://rockeros.net/event-reviews/693-molotov-llego-a-the-observatory-de-santa-ana-con-su-agua-maldita-tour.html

Trivial Notes

  • 1st concert at The Observatory, Santa Ana.
  • 1st time seeing Molotov
  • 1st time seeing La Pobreska.

Everclear, Vertical Horizon, and Fastball at House of Blues, Anaheim

Everclear
Vertical Horizon
Fastball
Date:
June 29, 2017
Location:
House of Blues, Anaheim

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Story
Everclear are currently on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary release of their third album “So Much For The Afterglow.” Released on October 7th, 1997 it quickly became the band’s best selling album moving two million units. It spawned the singles Everything to Everyone, I Will Buy You a New Life, and Father of Mine. This is the third to last stop of the tour, the last two being in Hawaii. I entered two different contests to win a pair of free tickets, but no luck in winning. Regardless, I ventured off to the venue to buy a ticket since I couldn’t miss this concert. Two years prior I obtained free tickets to see Everclear when they were playing “Sparkle and Fade” in it’s entirely. I drove all the way to Anaheim when my car decided to die out on me. In the end I didn’t make it to that concert which frustrated me to no end. I had to wait over a year but the wait was  worth it.

Arriving late to the venue I caught the end of Fastball’s performance. As I maneuvered my way though the crowded venue I spent of my time trying to find a spot while the band were playing. Due to that I only took two photos of the band which I’m not satisfied with, but they’ll have to do for the meantime. Fastball is an alternative rock band from Austin, Texas which formed in 1995. The band has been nominated for two Grammy awards and have released six studio albums. Not being familiar with the band I ended up recognizing one of their songs surprisingly. As Tony Scalzo – founding member and lead singer – sang the lyrics to Out of My Head I realized I knew those lyrics. It took me a minute to realize why I knew those lyrics when it hit me. The 2016 pop-rap song Bad Things by Machine Gun Kelly and Camilla Cabello features the interpolation of this song. I never knew this, but after being exposed to Out of My Head I prefer it over Bad Things. The lyrics to the song are what I love about it. “Was I out of my head or was I out of my mind? How could I have ever been so blind? I was waiting for an indication, it was hard to find.” Those are some of the best lyrics that I’ve heard recently. This band turned out to be better than I anticipated (this band knows how to give a fun performance).

The second band of the night were the alternative rockers Vertical Horizon. The band consists of Jeffrey Jarvis (bass), Ron LaVella (drums), Matt Scannell (lead vocals, lead guitar), and Donovan White (guitar). All the members, with the exception of LaVella wore black shirts as well as black pants. He in turn had a white shirt while sporting a black hat. Prior to this night I had never heard of this band but I became a fan of theirs before the end of the night. Scannell had a wicked sense of humor throughout the night that at least had me laughing here and there. Once they were into the groove Scannell remarked, “If you know the lyrics to the song we love you. If you don’t know the lyrics to the song we love you too.” One of their best performances of the night had to be Best I Ever Had. Before delving into the song Scannell reflected on how he had written a country hit, well not really. Country singer Gary Allen covered Best I Ever Had into a country tune which peaked at 51 on Billboard’s Hot 100 back in 2005. Just as with the previous band I recognized a song which surprised me. The track for this band that I know I heard before is Everything You Want. Don’t know where I heard the song, but I know it from from somewhere. Anyways, they could not have picked a better song to end their setlist that evening. The whole audience became nostalgic with those lyrics even began singing along. Heck, I even started to sing along to the chorus to this catchy song.

The moment of the night arrived as the band Everclear walked on stage. The band currently consists of Art Alexakis (lead vocals, guitar), Dave French (guitar), Freddy Herrera (bass), and Jake Margolis (drums). All four members wore black suits underneath white button shirts. As the night progressed they all took off their suit jackets due to the venue becoming warmer through the night. All of them appeared so professional, I’ve never seen a group dressed a like much less in suits. The band played the first song off the album, or as Herrera referred to it that night Side A and B, with So Much For The Afterglow. The song starts off like a Beach Boy track with soft harmonious vocals and then bam! It transitions quickly to a catchy alternative rock song with loud guitar and drum beats. The hits kept on coming as Everything To Everyone and Normal Like You were performed with entertaining ease. This is the band’s first performance at the new House of Blues location in Anaheim. Alexakis is no stranger to this county as he lived in Orange County for five years.

I deeply enjoyed the stories that Alexakis would mention from time to time in between songs. As a transition to I Will Buy You A New Life he spoke about how “you ain’t shit if you don’t have family.” This has to be the best Everclear song as well as one of their most emotional songs. I kept thinking throughout the song how I could relate to the lyrics and want to buy my partner a “new life.” The emotions continued with the next hit Father of Mine. I love that these two songs were put back to back on the album and that they performed them in that order. “Father of mine, Tell me where have you been, You know I just closed my eyes, My whole world disappeared.” This is Alexakis most autobiographical song he played that night. The sentimental meaning of the song came alive that night as Alexakis’ vocals breathed live into his creation. After One Hit Wonder, the band took a break from playing songs off “So Much For The Afterglow.” Heroin Girl and Heartspark Dollarsign were met by laud from the audience. I became filled wit joy that I could see them play Heroin Girl live since I missed my opportunity last time.

They returned to the album by performing El Distorto de MelodicaAmphetamineWhite Men in Black Suits, and Sunflowers continued the entertaining trend of the band’s phenomenal performance. Around this time French took out a banjo to the amusement of the crowd. The banjo was part of the song, can’t recall which one, but it was a funny moment to see this instrument make an appearance. LaVella took a turn in being in the spotlight as he did an incredible drum solo. At the end of Why I Don’t Believe In God, Alexakis dedicated the song to the late singer Cornell remarking among the lines of, “We don’t know what was going through his mind or what he was going through. We shouldn’t be ones to judge him on what he did as well.” This is the second concert I attended in June where a song was dedicated to the late singer. I enjoy these touching tributes to the talented singer, one of my regrets still being that I never seen him in concert. Once Like A California King ended the band members headed off the stage. Not before mentioning to the audience that they’ll be back for an encore and signing things at the back of the venue.

Coming back on stage the members reminded the audience once again that they were signing merchandise and taking photos after their encore. I wish I knew this information before hand because I would have brought my albums with me. Next time I’ll make sure to bring them with me though. The encore consisted of AM Radio, Wonderful, and Santa Monica. By the end of the concert my feet were dying off on me causing me to find a place to sit down. Though tired at the end I forced myself to stay because of how much I wanted to see Santa Monica live. My love for this band has grown after this impeccable night, especially for lead singer Art Alexakis. He is a magnificent, mesmerizing lead singer whose talent is astounding in person. Next time though I’ll be sure to get one of their albums signed for my collection.

Everclear Setlist
1. So Much For The Afterglow
2. Everything To Everyone
3. Normal Like You
4. I Will Buy You A New Life
5. Father of Mine
6. One Hit Wonder
7. Heroin Girl
8. Heartspark Dollarsign
9. El Distorto de Melodica
10.  Amphetamine
11. White Men in Black Suits
12. Sunflowers
13. Why I Don’t Believe In God
14. Like a California King

Encore
15. AM Radio
16. Wonderful
17. Santa Monica

Vertical Horizon Setlist
1. Save Me From Myself
2. Instamatic
3. Send It Up
4. Forever
5. I’m Still Here
6. Written In Stars
7. I’m Gonna Save You
8. We Are
9. Lovestruck
10. Best I Ever Had
11. Lucky One
12. You’re A God
13. Everything You Want

Fastball Setlist
1. Tanzania
2. Fire Escape
3. ‘Til I Get It Right
4. I Will Never Let You Down
5. You’re an Ocean
6. Frenchy and the Punk
7. Love Comes in Waves
8. Rampart Street
9. Andrea
10. Sooner or Later
11. Out of My Head
12. The Way

Trivial Notes

  • 8th concert at the House of Blues, Anaheim at the Garden Walk.
  • 1st time seeing Everclear.
  • 1st time seeing Vertical Horizon.
  • 1st time seeing Fastball.
  • Fastball’s official Twitter account liked my post about the concert. They replied back saying, “Thank you!!”

Juanes at The Pacific Amphitheatre

Juanes
Raymundo
Date:
August 5, 2015
Location:
The Pacific Ampitheater

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Story
For years I’ve been dying to see Juanes live in concert. When I discovered  rock en español during my early years of high school he happened to be one of the first artists of the genre that I became a fan of. I began listening to his music around the time period when his hit La Camisa Negra started to blow up on the charts. Once I obtained his album “La Vida… Es Un Ratico” he easily became my favorite Latin artist for years. In 2013 when he was on tour I tried to convince by then friend to go along along with me, but my request fell on deaf ears. This time around I found someone willing to attend so we were all set with out presale tickets for this Wednesday evening. A regret of mine for this night is not being able to attend the OC Fair. Any concert ticket for the Pacific Amphitheater includes free admission to the fair, however the person I attended the concert with had no interest of attending. Since she had a friend who would be dropping us off – hence free parking –  I carpooled with them. Arriving at our destination as we waited to enter the venue I bumped into a friend of mine of. I seriously did not expect to run into anyone I knew that day, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Turns out my friend decided to attend last minute when relatives of hers had an extra ticket on hand. As we caught up among ourselves the doors opened and we were set for the night ahead of us.

As the lights dimmed the first act of the night, Raymundo, walked on stage with a guitar in hand. Raymundo is an up and coming Latin pop artist from South El Monte. His fans through social media contacted Juanes by sharing his Soñar.Creer.Realizar music video which reached the Latin rocker. He loved the music video and arranged for Raymundo to open up for him during his Costa Mesa show. Raymundo that night appeared all in black with the exception of a dark blue flannel and a grey hat that graced his head. Throughout the night the humbled artist astonished the audience with Spanish love songs that he sung so captivating. I enjoyed listening to his set that night, I can tell that this talented musician has a bright future. His modesty throughout the night won me over as well as the others in the audience. I could see how grateful he was for having this opportunity and would not be taking it for granted. I enjoyed hearing the stories he would tell in between songs to explain its origins. Hearing him sing brought a smile to my face because I genuinely was happy to see this Latino singer’s music career start to take off in a big way. I also wanted to give him thanks for providing me with his setlist that night. I sent him a message months after the concert ended and he replied back with the actual list. Thank you Raymundo! My favorite song of his wound up being SOÑAR. CREER. REALIZAR. After hearing it I can see why Juanes loved it, it’s such an incredible track.

The stage started to become assembled for Juanes’ performance soon thereafter. The middle of the stage had a huge projection screen which throughout the night illuminated colorfully imagery of guitars along with multiple photos of Juanes reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych painting. As the band settled in the lights dimmed through the venue. Juanes emerged from the behind the screen which had the word JUANES displayed sideways. The moment the Latino artist walked on stage the venue became illuminated with the cellphones of the fans recording him as he journeyed to the middle of the stage. The suave artist’s blue button up shirt and black pants matched his slip-on shoes as he walked across the black and white striped floor. He started singing into a red microphone as he rocked the white electric guitar he carried on hand. Juanes had been on a world tour promoting his latest album “Loco de Amor,” released on March 11, 2014. This is the sixth album that the Colombian artist has released which includes the singles La Luz, Mil Pedazos, and Una Flor.

He warmed up the crowd by playing a few songs of that album; Mil Pedazos, Loco de Amor, and Una Flor. The Colombian artist astonished the audience with his remarkable talent and charismatic persona. Throughout the whole night he had a constant smile on his face . Just as everyone in attendance, Juanes himself was having a fun time as he played hit after hit. His long hair constantly moved to the beat of his music trying to keep up with him. My favorite aspect of his performance is whenever he did a guitar solo. He performs with a mixture of fiery passion combined with an easy going attitude (hard to describe in words really). There were many highlights that evening that it’s difficult for me to select a favorite performance of mine. He brought a lot of emotions with Fotografía, Para Tu Amor, and Es Por Ti. If only Nelly Furtado would have appeared for a duet on Fotografía, that would have blown my mind. Juanes deliverance of love songs hits home as one can relate to the amor he speaks about. A powerful performance of his included Volverte a Ver which had the audience on their feet dancing the night away.

I cannot express how I felt when he played the intro chords for La Paga. This track has the most meaning to me out of all of Juanes’ songs. The reason being is that this is the first Juanes song that I stumbled upon back when I use to watch LATV. That program would play both English and Spanish music videos with Juanes being one of the first Spanish artists that I became familiar with. The weird Mickey Mouse inspired character of the music video got my attention and I looked up further songs from this Colombian rocker. Juntos followed next which is best known for being associated with the film “McFarland” (fun fact a guy I went to high school actually appears in the film). “Si me miras sé que me descifras, Si te miro yo también lo haré?” Fan favorite Yerbatero and Hoy Me Voy were played to the cheers from the crowd. Soon after my favorite part of concert occurred when he played his two biggest hits from my favorite album of his (“La Vida… Es Un Ratico”); Gotas de Agua Dulce and Me Enamora. For these two performances I did something I’ve never done before at a concert which is record a performance. Words cannot express how much I love these two songs and the excitement I experienced once he played them. His lively, entertaining take on these two songs had me over the moon. He rocked hard on the guitar solos, especially during Gotas de Agua Dulce. I smiled ear to ear as these songs became alive right before my eyes. The level of energy he had that night is truly remarkable which felt me breathless at the end.

Following a brief intermission he returned on stage to deliver some more memorable performances. The first song for his encore included the duet he did with Juan Gabriel called Querida. Interestingly enough Juan Gabriel would pass away a little over a year in August of 2016. After Rebelion, the song I’ve been waiting all night for finally came started playing. Of course I’m talking about La Camisa Negra! This is the song that brought him into international success back in 2004. Whenever I mention Juanes to my parents their response is also the same, “ese es el uno que canta La Camisa Negra?” I recorded portions of this song the minute I heard the introduction. This track ranks among the best Spanish rock songs in my opinion. Seeing him that night sing the lyrics to this song is one of those rare moments that I’ll never forget. He followed with the energetic La Luz later playing one of my favorite tracks of his discography A Dios Le Pido. Changing things up he performed the only English song that night which is Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved. The reggae song fit well with the singer’s laid back, fun going attitude. He closed out the night with La Noche and Este Amor, which he originally recorded with Cedric Gervasi. These were fitting songs to end such an extraordinary evening.

Juanes Setlist
1. Mil Pedazos
2. Loco de Amor
3. Una Flor
4. Fotografía
5. Volverte a Ver
6. Para tu Amor
7. Es Por Ti
8. La Paga
9. Juntos
10. Yerbatero
11. Hoy Me Voy
12. Gotas de Agua Dulce
13. Me Enamora

Encore:
14. Querida
15. Rebelion
16. La Camisa Negra
17. La Luz
18. A Dios Le Pido
19. Could You Be Loved (Bob Marley cover)
20. La Noche
21. Este Amor

Raymundo Setlist
1. Noche Especial
2. Obsesionar
3. SOÑAR. CREER. REALIZAR

Reviews

Miniondas Newspaper/Farándula USA Magazine. August 6, 2015. ““¡Buenas noches Costa Mesa!”: Juanes en O.C. Fair” by Luis Arritola.
http://www.miniondas.com/buenas-noches-costa-mesa-juanes-en-o-c-fair/

Trivial Notes

  • 1st concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre.
  • 1st time seeing Juanes.
  • 1st Colombian artist I’ve seen live in person.