By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Celebrity night at Chain Reaction! Well, if you count Blink-182's Mark Hoppus as someone who might be judged celeb-worthy, even if your judges are an army of horny teenage girls. But there was Hoppus, standing on the side of the stage, rocking out to A New Found Glory with the rest of us peons. Seemed like everyone (girls and boys) was horny over A New Found Glory—you know it's a crowded room when your glasses fog over as soon as you step inside.
A moist and sticky evening it was, but at least A New Found Glory (don't forget that "A") played a thoroughly enjoyable set of poppy pseudo-emo tunes that their fans went nuts for—so much so that a bunch of 'em kept jumping onto the stage and shrieking right along into any mic they could. Really: there were probably 10 different lead singers during their set, which struck us as being a tad too generous in the fan-appeasement department. Sometimes, though, the variety of vox made up for their singer's own whiny croon. They also took a populist stance, with lots of comments about how they usually play places where they have barriers between them and their audience, and they hate barriers, you see, hate them because that ain't what they're about, but they love Chain Reaction because there are no barriers! Woo-hoo!
Does anybody remember laughter?!? Well, people loved them for that, too. We merely liked them much better than last time, when their show was weighted with metal riffing and a grotesque Bryan Adams cover tune.
The Rx Bandits (veterans of the first OC Weekly local-band compilation CD two years ago, we might add, back when they were known as the Pharmesu- . . . Pharmacid- . . . Pharmazoo- . . . whatever—they shortened the name) began by getting all mellow and Radiohead-y, which was certainly an interesting twist and a soundscape we wouldn't have minded them seeking a bit more. But artistry was something to be explored on another night, so they soon locked into their familiar pop-ska grooves. They're not just ska anymore, though—more like a meatier, older, smarter rock band. And they seem to have adopted modestly activist tendencies, if you count their "You are the youth! You have the choice! Join the revolution!" shout-outs. Of course, we've no idea what choice this was between or what revolution they were calling for, but let us not get persnickety. It was still a fun, steamy set, and they're still the same ol' reliable Bandits. Hey—if they slice their name again to just RXB, they could go hip-hop!
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