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You Can Come Home Again
Heard Mentality: The best of the music, arts and culture blog for the week of July 27-Aug. 2
Last week was Homecoming Week for OC/LB bands, and what it lacked in wacky dress-up days or pep rallies, it made up for in concerts by Jack’s Mannequin, Crystal Antlers and No Doubt.
Jack’s Mannequin—fronted by Andrew McMahon, now based in Los Angeles but a former resident of Dana Point and singer of the now-dormant Orange County-based band Something Corporate—played Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine on July 29, opening for the Fray. Our Jacob Repko reported on Heard Mentality that McMahon “recalled memories of playing gigs at local venues such as the Coach House and Chain Reaction.” Jack’s Mannequin were originally slated to headline at the Grove of Anaheim on May 18, but that show got scrapped when the opportunity to tour with the Fray came up. (Who among us wouldn’t jump at a chance to hear “How to Save a Life” every night?)
Long Beach’s Crystal Antlers returned to their hometown with a show at Alex’s Bar, also on July 29, after touring Europe and the East Coast and releasing their debut full-length, Tentacles, to praise from music mags such as Filter and Uncut (though our own take wasn’t quite so glowing; see Spencer Kornhaber’s review, April 9). The band showed no signs of gentrification as a result of their success, raucously tearing through tunes in front of a duly receptive audience that included other Long Beach scene notables such as Free Moral Agents bandleader/Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and Greater California singer Terry Prine.
The splashiest return show of the week, though, was clearly No Doubt’s, who played three consecutive, hit-filled nights at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on July 31, Aug. 1 and Aug. 2 before a final gig scheduled for Aug. 4. Since the foursome hadn’t toured together since 2004, the return of the band that is arguably the biggest band ever from Orange County was pretty much the hottest deal around. Saturday’s show was so sold out; our photographer Andrew Youssef couldn’t even buy a ticket—he was walked out after the three customary songs that photogs are allowed to shoot.
The July 31 EP-release show for the Colourist at the Yost Theater featured a top-notch performance from that band, as well as a premiere of their cute, clever music video for “Oh Goodbye.” But that was all to be expected. The real revelation of the night was opening act BLOK, an OC/LA avant-garde hip-hop group starring a white-guy rapper with a beard named Damien B and a lady named Gianna Gianna, who added vocals here and there while shaking her booty in a Flashdance-esque outfit. It was so weird and awesome that the crowd had no choice but to love the set. Their next scheduled show is Aug. 16 at the Glass House, opening for Clipse.