Concerts Sprawling With Sound

[Summer Guide 2012] The perfect aural schedule for your OC summer

Ah, summer, that special time when the sounds that seeped through our earbuds into our brains turn to tangible, aural bliss in the form of tours beckoning us to part with our hard-earned cash that's not going to pay off student loans. In these Great Recession days, it's all about knowing which concerts are really worth the money, whether you're into indie rock bands, Tex-Mex heartthrobs, hip-hop mavens or scarily authentic tribute bands. For you, gentle reader, here is a guide to the season, broken down into categories that tell you exactly what you're getting before you spend a cent. Enjoy.

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Local-boys-done-good who are finally breezing back into town.

A life without Thrice will be so blue
Jonathan Weiner
A life without Thrice will be so blue
High times in the parking lot, bro
High times in the parking lot, bro

Location Info


The Observatory

3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Music Venues

Region: Santa Ana

House of Blues Anaheim

1530 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802

Category: Music Venues

Region: Anaheim

Pacific Amphitheatre

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Category: Music Venues

Region: Costa Mesa

OC Fair & Event Center

88 Fair Drive
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-6521

Category: Community Venues

Region: Costa Mesa

The Coach House

33157 Camino Capistrano, Ste. C
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Category: Music Venues

Region: San Juan Capistrano

Harvelle's Long Beach

201 E. Broadway
Long Beach, CA 90802

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Long Beach

City National Grove of Anaheim

2200 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Music Venues

Region: Anaheim

Honda Center

2695 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim, CA 92806

Category: Music Venues

Region: Anaheim

Constellation Room at the Observatory

3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Category: Music Venues

Region: Santa Ana

Fox Theater Pomona

301 S. Garey Ave.
Pomona, CA 91766

Category: Music Venues

Region: Pomona

Thrice. These former Weekly cover boys are kaput after this summer, but they're going out with the proverbial bang (and a few power chords) on their upcoming Farewell Tour. Catch their very last show (until the inevitable reunion tour in five years) in Santa Ana at the Observatory; unlike their sold-out House of Blues shows, this night offers a full night of Thrice—two sets, no openers and songs from their latest album, Major/Minor. Sounds pretty major to us. The Observatory, June 19, 8 p.m. $27. All ages.

Lit. Slidebar owner and Lit guitarist Jeremy Popoff momentarily breaks away from the booze biz for a hometown show with his Fullerton-based band. With a new lineup and record since the 2009 death of drummer Allen Shellenberger, the band bring their alt-rock sound, which still revives the spirit of the late-'90s faster than you can say "bro-rock excess," to Downtown Disney. House of Blues, June 23. Call for time. $25-$27.50. All ages.

Young the Giant and Steelwells. Before landing on MTV's indie-rock radar, Irvine's Young the Giant and Fullerton's Steelwells dominated the OC music scene—as well as the OC Music Awards—with deviously catchy, melodically inventive tunes. Now that they've been touring and morphing into LA darlings, we can only hope both bands appreciated our coverage of them enough to buy us a deep-fried Twinkie when they hit the OC Fair. Pacific Amphitheater at the OC Fairgrounds, July 22, 7:30 p.m. $20. All ages.

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The OC Fair's most talented pretenders.

Purple Reign. Who knows the next time the real Prince will make an appearance in OC. But then again, who cares, as long as his stunt double can still throw on a purple cape and shake his ass for us? As far as living up to standards we expect from any impersonator of the Purple One, blouse-wearing front man Jason Tenner pulls off the character—and his clothes—with ease. The Hangar at the OC Fairgrounds. June 18, 8:30 p.m. $15-17.50. All ages.

No Duh. It takes a serious pair of oranges to try to emulate the biggest band to come out of OC. Thankfully, vocalist Spen Gjormani's, Gwen-worthy performance allows No Duh to be more than just a tribute band. Their show, which plays to No Doubt fans all over the world, even got blessings from the real band. The Hangar at the OC Fairgrounds. June 26, 8:30 p.m. $15. All ages.

Hot August Night. It takes a lot more than a sequined shirt and some tight pants to impersonate the Jewish Elvis, and Dean Colley uses chutzpah, a healthy tenor voice and fabulous hair to make his gyration-filled renditions of Neil Diamond's "America" and "Cracklin' Rosie" stick with you like cigar stench from a casino. The Hangar at the OC Fairgrounds. Aug. 3, 8:30 p.m. $15. All ages.

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If it's dark, seedy and sexual, they're into it.

Mickey Avalon. There's no denying the godfather of glam rap knows how to party. Since getting in our pants in 2006 with the single "Jane Fonda," Mickey Avalon's sex-laden songs have never met a drug, dollar or dick reference it didn't like. Stopping at the Coach House, expect his shirtless stage antics to match the boldness of his rhymes. Coach House, June 6, 8 p.m. $25. All ages.

Toledo Show. It's a bit strange to think that a guy in a zoot suit might know the secrets to turning you on. But then again, your pleasure is literally Toledo's business. As the dark, deviant centerpiece of Harvelle's famous "Toledo Show" in Long Beach, his gravelly voiced character has a major attitude and masterful control over the flock of half-naked females that fills his weekly, jazz-filled cabaret with a perfect blend of sin and song. Harvelle's. Every Thurs., 9:30 p.m. $12. 21+.

KISS/Motley Crue. Both of these bands have scandalized and titillated (and grossed out) fans for decades. As far as bloated, fire-breathing rock shows go, the old men in these bands represent the last of a dying breed. Like visiting the Washington Monument, seeing them perform is something all Americans must do before they die. Bring a lighter, face paint and some boobies to sign, and the night is yours. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Aug. 14, 7 p.m. $15-$185. All ages.

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Latin concerts hotter than a habanero.

Los Lonely Boys. The ability to spoon-feed gabachos a little bit of Latin music when they're not expecting it is something Los Lonely Boys have done well for years. Mixing rock, country, blue-eyed soul and Tejano music makes their "Texican" rock & roll one of the few Latino rock bands that can rope in the Willie Nelson crowd. The City National Grove of Anaheim, $35-$39. Aug. 2, 8 p.m. All ages.

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