How’s everyone doing at the conclusion of this summer?
Hopefully all of you are well.
Not going to lie. Personally, it has been one of the busiest and rewarding summers of my existence. I’ll go on record that I have seen a lot of great shows this summer. And I've even been to some very chic affairs too.
Each year, as I’ve really focused on going to live rockshows, I have a Show of The Year. Last year my SoTY was the Decent Criminal/Twilight Creeps/Odd Robot/Taken Days/Moldy Roses show at the venerable Tiki Bar.
Why, you ask? Many reasons. The biggest reason is because… look at that bill again. Seriously. That was a once-in-a-lifetime lineup/happening! Did I know who The Twilight Creeps and Decent Criminal were? No.
I went regardless. I like to take chances on seeing unfamiliar bands and venues.
Yes, Virginia. That show was my Show of The Year. Did I know people in the first three bands? Sure. At that moment, that was my main reason for going. I hadn’t seen those bands in a while and I just needed to hear them live. (Side note: It’s a personal thing. I literally have to have my fix of certain bands playing live. No names. You know who you are.)
Such was the case on the eve of 9 July, 2022. The Location: The Parish Room at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA.
Three of these acts have one thing in common.
Bristol To Memory, Odd Robot and Every Other Year are all OC Sellout Fest alumni. If this wasn’t going to be my SoTY, it was going to come in a very close second. Even a dead heat would not be out of the question.
The line-up was epic. Danny Goo was the darkhorse. But whatever, I‘ll give anybody a listen. I’ll say this, Danny Goo has potential to give a guys like Machine Gun Kelly and Chad Tepper a run for their money. I think with a great producer and A&R team, they could go big. They are just what the younglings are looking for these days. And their drummer is bang on!
Danny Goo. Photo Credit: G. Scott Hughes
Every Other Year are indeed younglings. Matter of fact, after their set at last years’ OCSF (OC Sellout Fest), I hassled them to know if they were old enough to enter The Wayfarer, let alone bring the masterful musical mayhem that they brung that night. Nothing serious. It was all very tongue-in-cheek type stuff.
Every Other Year. Photo Credit: G. Scott Hughes
They were, in my mind, the standout band of that evening. Their talent and musicianship betrayed their fresh, radiant faces. Seriously! What is with all these talented kids in rad bands making rad music these days? Unbelievable!!
But I digress….
EOY was great that night. And time marched on…..
And with the elapsed time, EOY has gotten even better. They’re still kids, mind you but HOTDAMMMM! How is that even possible?! Their new jams raise the bar to a dizzying height. And also, they own the stage now. Confidence radiates from their on-stage presence. Catch these musical boys among men soon!
If you are still in the dark about Odd Robot, please rectify that with the quickness. But if you want to really know how I feel about these fine gentlemen, please read my previous post: The Long Weekend. Thanks in advance.
And as per usual, when Odd Robot play, one has to keep an eye on Logan Barton (Bass). Not going to lie, he is the reason Odd Robot shows are a great time. This night was no different. Long story short- He ended up kicking one of his shoes into the rafters of the Parish Room. And bless the HOB house staff for eventually retrieving the missing shoe..
As a band, Bristol To Memory have a very high commercial potential. To prove my point, their music can be heard at the home games of The Ducks of Anaheim (NHL) and The Angels (MLB) respectively. And whoever figured this out at these two organizations deserves a HUGE raise.
Bristol To Memory.
However, their sound is nowhere near the vapid, self-indulgent, beyond over-produced dross that is considered music these days. These guys do it right. They temper their commercial appeal with great musicianship and heart-rending, thoughtful lyrics.
If it pleases the court, may I present their song Wrapped Up as evidence?
Rory O’Conells’ quietly pleading and yearning vocals have nowhere to go but deeper into his conundrum of being with the woman he wants to love dearly.
Rory O'Conell. Photo Credit: Jose Corona Jr.
The twist is he’s overthinking everything. As the song powers up, we’re overthinking our collective present relationships as well. Our overthinking is shattered to bits when the overdriven guitars supplied by Rory, his brother Keelan on bass
Keelan O'Conell. Photo Credit: Jose Corona Jr.
and guitar leads by Daniel Wonacott rock us to the very fiber of our beings.
Daniel Wonacott. Photo Credit: Jose Corona Jr.
Obelisk heavy beats provided by Alex Buster drop in.
Alex Buster. Photo Credit: Jose Corona Jr.
BTM goes for the moon. But do they stop at the moon? No. They just keep going. They're heading for the cosmos and beyond. But back on Earth, we don’t want to sleep. We want to stay up late into the wee hours to figure all this out. And overthinking really never sounded better.
The undeniable urge to chant along with the chorus before the end makes me see these guys selling out the Rose Bowl. That's a 120k plus people, people!! During this part, the house lights go dark. Then a wavering field of cell phones and lighters give the darkened venue that special, ceremonial glow. Then when the band drops back in for the finale, brilliant fireworks highlight the evening sky and enhance the conclusion of the song. Yeah. That’s what I see.
But that part is in the future. Within this current reality, BTM perform with the mindset that they are already in the sold-out coliseum. These guys engage with themselves and the audience with the aplomb of seasoned professionals. BTM's set made me gasp several times. As in me saying to myself: “Allright! This is a great song! Fuck YESS!”
Bristol To Memory in free flight. Photo Credit: Jose Corona Jr.
I felt deeply satisfied after the house lights came on. Like when you finish a great meal right after that last, perfect morsel of dessert. You don't get up from the table. You savor the last vapors from the table. You have some conversations with your gathered friends. After that, you walk outside, order a Lyft and wait for it to arrive. As you get into the car, you take one last look at the venue and smile and chuckle to yourself as the car drives away.
I'll be honest, this show and Drinko De Mayo are in serous contention for my SoTY. This year has a bit left to go. I'm going to savor the shows I'll attend for the rest of this year.
My very best to all of you. Stop by and say hello if you see me. I promise not to bite..hard. ;)
Now I'm done.