By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Photo by Matt OttoORANGE COUNTY MUSIC AWARDS BEST HIGH SCHOOL BAND FINALS
GALAXY THEATER, SANTA ANA
SUN., MARCH 13
A note to the bands Open Air Stereo, Audacity and the Licks: any of you may very well be the best high school band in OC, but we'll never know, because we couldn't stick around long enough to find out. And we'll tell you why.
But first, what the hell were we doing here, anyway? C'mon, highschoolbands?Too easy. Yet, while we're eternally open-minded enough to think we might encounter genius at any given moment, still, we feared an endless onslaught of dudes (and everybodywho stepped on stage was a dude; where are the great girl bands?) trying to emulate shite-rawk like New Found Glory or Taking Back Sunday, which thankfully didn't happen. Mostly.
From Edison High, there was Noise Attack—a lame name, but at least they didn't spell "Noise" with a Z. They tossed up tolerable punk and seemed to actually know what a melody is, but we severely penalized them for their singer's burst of onstage Tourette's ("Dirtymotherfuckingwhorepieceofshit!" he bellowed, for no real reason) and a general willingness to sound exactly the same as a jillion other Warped Tour bands. But hey, there's money in sonic conservatism!
Were we acting as official judges (the winner gets a nifty trophy and a performance slot at the OCMAs, to be held April 2 at the Grove in Anaheim; okay, Martin, there's your publicity . . . where's our check?), we probably would have voted Marina High's Vaylor the best act of the day, but only out of a sense of pure-retro entertainment. They threw up unironic, long-haired heavy metal right down to their Van Halen tees and their stringbean singer's all-denim Bruce Dickinson ensemble (a jacket with the sleeves chopped off! Gnarly!). Except Dickinson can actually sing, and this kid couldn't. To save his life. He could talk really loud, though. And he knew how to work the groupies, casually letting his tight jeans drop to the top of his asscrack before jerking them up again. Charming!Did we forget how they got the crowd to clap their hands in the air in unison, and their Bic-worthy power balladry?
From Trabuco Hills High, it was Romak and the Space Pirates (no comment) doing even-newer-than-the-last-wave-of-new-wave-wave—four guys with Mohawks and skinny ties twiddling with keyboards and electro-whatzits, mostly. More cabaret act than band, they seemed, with all their look-at-me posing and onstage writhing about. They entertained mostly themselves, and their posse of mailing-list solicitors were relentless in their pursuit, which annoyed. But y'know what? This band could actually be really mega in England. If this was 1983. And their name was Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
Coalition 27 delivered a stew of hard rock in the tradition of Foghat and Black Oak Arkansas—Goddammit, kids, KEEP AWAY FROM YOUR PARENTS' RECORD COLLECTIONS!, we wanted to yell—complete with such timeless buttrock moves as synchronized hair tossing. And when their singer announced "We're gonna take the mood a little down," hell, that'sjustwhattheydid!(Feel the sarcasm leap off this page. G'wan—feel it!).
Blank Label were another tedious we-wanna-play-the-Warped-Tour band, with a kid singer who talks like his testicles haven't fallen into place yet. But when they do, we predict he'll just be another whiny, sings-through-his-nose front man like the ones fronting all the other emo bands. At this point, only the parents were clapping, and even the Galaxy security guys had looks on their faces that screamed, "I gave up my Sunday for this?!"
And then came Prizm, who somehow won this award last year. They should be retired in several different ways, what with their dreadful, wanky prog-rock and their masturbatory, self-indulgent instrumental twaddle—if they win again this year, then somebody's gotto be sleeping with somebody. Unlistenable, really, so much that we had to evacuate the Galaxy as fast as we could, our psyche damaged to the point where we may have to swear off all music forever.
And that,Open Air Stereo, Audacity and the Licks, is why we missed you.