When Tim Hill took over the remnants of a shuttered Mexican restaurant in a dingy little Anaheim strip mall in 1997 and turned the room into a rock club, most thought his place would quickly go the way of many other all-ages OC rooms: here today, gone today. Six years on, Chain Reaction is not only still here, but it's also thriving. They've hosted bands as large as the Get Up Kids, Save Ferris and Papa Roach (who reportedly owe their careers to two shows they played at the club in 2000). And don't forget the slew of punk bands so underground they have to look up to see Hell. 1652 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 635-6067.


Every month at Santa Ana's Green Parrot Cafe, a local musical society called El Sapo Cancionero (the Singing Frog) hosts a peña (concert), at which musicians perform canto nuevo (new song), which is a combination of guitar-driven jazz, folk, classical and rock music. Canto nuevo began in Cuba in the late '60s with artists such as Silvio Rodríguez and Pablo Milanes and quickly spread throughout Latin America. El Sapo Cancionero was formed in Orange County several years ago by Joel Aceves and Enrique Gaspar, two Mexico City natives and canto nuevo aficionados who wanted to bring the art form north of the border. The first major group to accept their invitation was Mexicanto, one of the premier Mexican canto nuevo groups. That show led to others by big-name Mexican troubadours Gabino Palomares, Alfonso Maya, Ismael García and Fernando Delgadillo. El Sapo Cancionero wants to expose both Latinos and Anglos to the music, especially youths in Santa Ana who lack understanding of the rich culture behind canto nuevo. "There are a lot of Latinos here who don't know this music—or that there's an alternative to the commercial music they hear," Gaspar says. "If there's a kid in the barrio listening to music with a message about dealing drugs and being violent—like in the narcocorridos and other popular music—they'll grow up to do that. This music shows there's another way." 2035 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-6040.


KUCI general manager Mike Boyle—a dead ringer for Max in Rushmore, though he probably hates people like us saying that—has always been an unsung genius, tirelessly working to drag KUCI into the late 20th century, but now he's more unsung and more genius than ever. His home-built Dryertron 2000 is a DJ turntable set-up installed into an old dryer (as in, "Mom, can you throw my wet swimsuit in the . . .") housing—the perfect mix of form and function. Quips about hot mixes aside, the Dryertron—which has seen action at various KUCI functions—is seriously, intensely cool. Get a PA rig in one of those monster $2-a-pop family-size washers, and you've got the perfect equipment for one of those suds-and-hallucinogen raver parties. Our only question: Is Dryertron available for weddings and bar mitzvahs?


During the '90s, the LA-based Fatburger chain opened a slew of restaurants in OC, and we should all be very, very grateful. Not just because Fatburger, unlike In-N-Out, doesn't quote Bible scripture on the bottoms of their drink cups, but also because Fatburger have the greatest jukeboxes in all the county, stacked full of only the finest soul and R&B oldies, thanks to a deal they have with the Rhino Records folks. All the essentials are inside these gorgeous machines—Otis, Marvin, James, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, Lavern Baker, jazz from Miles and Coltrane, and blues from Elmore James and Kings B.B. and Albert. Who could resist the not-so-subtle sexual connotations of listening to Dinah Washington's "Big Long Slidin' Thing" while stuffing a chili dog down your throat? Locations in Aliso Viejo, Buena Park, Irvine and Orange.


Too bad it's only open one day a month. Every fourth Sunday or so, this mammoth record swap takes over a huge conference room at the Sequoia Athletic Club in Buena Park, attracting dealers and reps from record stores all over SoCal—and sometimes from as far away as Europe and Japan. This is where to find cheap CDs; really cheap box sets; posters; collectors' items; old back issues of Rolling Stone; an autographed copy of Madonna's Playboy cover; Wall of Voodoo promotional matchbooks; reel-to-reel tapes of old KMET shows; crusty, cracked eight-tracks; Vince Neil's aged, faded driver's license; imports; bootl- . . . um, "collectables"; and assorted other pieces of strangeness—we once saw a ticket stub from a Tiffany concert going for a buck at this show. What's scarier is that somebody actually bought it. 7530 Orangethorpe Ave., Buena Park, (714) 963-9717. Shows are usually the fourth Sunday of every month, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


OC's homegrown three-store mini-chain, made semifamous the world over when Dexter Holland wore Bionic T-shirts in mid-'90s Offspring videos. This is an aspiring young punk's paradise, the place to pick up that crusty band's arm patch or that sticker or T-shirt from a band that broke up before you were even born. Yeah, you could get the same swag at Hot Topic, but that wouldn't be as cool—and you wanna be cool, don't you? 16101 Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach, (714) 846-2585; 9549 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 828-4225; 2466 Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-1912.

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