Photo by Jack GouldJan. 15 at Chain Reaction: Sparklejets UK cement a reputation as OC's most perfect, pure-pop band.
Jan. 21 at the Hub Cafe: The Moseleys shoot off a wigged-out blast of lust gone oh-so-wrong, hip-thrusting, psycho-hoodoo, crotch-grinding, raw and untamed, baddest-of-the-bad-meaning-good, Brit-blues awesomeness.
Jan. 31 at Linda's Doll Hut: A sweat-drippin' set from Flogging Molly, the best whiskey-swiggin', pub-brawlin' Irish rock band since the Pogues.
March 11 at Que Sera: Beachwood Sparks conjure up the ghost of Gram Parsons, yet they retain the perfect combination of dust-blown inebriation and psychedelic charm.
March 17 at Waterloo Records in Austin: Not a local venue, we know, but Fu Manchu—San Clemente's Greatest Band Ever—was so superbly, supremely loud that they literally shook the dust off the record shop's rafters. In the long run, maybe Fu Manchu will bring to South County a grander rep than Nixon ever did.
April 2 at Koo's Art Cafe: The Pop Narcotic supply us with exactly what we hope for every night—a band that fires off desperate, high-energy chords and can rock like Iggy Pop fronting Fugazi.
April 22 at the sixth-annual Fullerton Earth Day Fest at the Hub Cafe: Zebrahead were the surprise of the day, a perfect blend of hooks and giddy hip-hop without lowering themselves into cartoony aggro. Too bad their new album tanked.
April 30 at the Gypsy Lounge: Texas Terri & the Stiff Ones perform. Feisty, tattooed chick rocker Terri pasted OC Weekly stickers onto her nekkid breasts—thanks for the twin plugs!
June 16 at the Gypsy Lounge: A farewell set from Fistful of Lonely, a band that nailed alterna-country and should've gone on to better things.
June 17 at the Beach Fest: Johnny Jones & the Suffering Halos, even though nobody saw it because the gates weren't open early enough.
June 21 at the Lava Lounge: Weezer. Goat Punishment lives!
June 23 at the Foothill: Weird-but-wicked distortion blues from the White Stripes, a brother-sister duo who look too precocious to be anything approaching good. They're not only good, but they're also great. Spooky, even.
July 29 at the International Pop Overthrow in Garden Grove's East-gate Park: Japan's Oranges not only had Bay City Rollers hairdos, matching multicolored jump suits and a drummer named Pee, but their songs were also perfect pop masterpieces, with enough catchy riffs to stick dangerously in your head for months—we're still humming 'em.
Aug. 1 at Club Mesa: The Upper Crust, a campy quartet who dress up like 17th-century Brit aristocrats and fire off killer Ramones riffs. Fop & roll!
Aug. 16 at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre: Marah, one of the better young rock bands around, do a short, mostly ignored set on the side stage before the bloated, embarrassing Who stink up the main stage. In a better universe, Marah would have headlined.
Aug. 31 at the Galaxy Concert Theatre: Cannibal Corpse, purely for the daffy, cheeseball, metalhead esoterica of their whole performance. A stageful of black-clad longhairs and a singer who sounds like he's gargling puke never had so much . . . um, meaning?
Oct. 20 at Chain Reaction: Duane Peters & the Hunns, punk rock as it should be played—raw, harsh and without compromise.
Nov. 29 at Koo's Art Cafe: Damien Jurado—haunting, quiet folk melodies spun around morose, doomed characters. Suicide never sounded so beautiful.
Dec. 1 at Club Mesa: The BellRays, pure electric rock & soul slammed up against AC/DC crunch and dropped into a Southern Baptist revival meeting.
And . . . Square, Peepshot, the John Wilkes Kissing Booth, Busstop Hurricanes, Supernovice, Havalina Rail Co., Throw Rag, Smile, Third Grade Teacher, the Killingtons, Mention, Lo-Fi Champion, Bourbon Jones, the Dibs . . . any time, anyplace, anywhere.
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