Last Night at the OC Music Awards Live Acoustic Finals

Micah Brown
Micah Brown
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

OC Music Awards Live Acoustic Finals
Feb. 24, 2011
Fullerton Museum

The best acoustic act of the 10th annual OC Music Awards was announced last night at a showcase in Downtown Fullerton. And the winner is . . . drumroll . . . Micah Brown

Danny Maika
Danny Maika
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

The Dana Point musician was one of five acts competing for the title at the event held in the cement courtyard outside the Fullerton Museum. Other performers included Danny Maika, indie-pop band Canvas, Parker Macy Blues and radio-ready pop siren Stacy Clark. It was a show that capped weeks of semi-finals featuring a slew of Orange County musicians. 

Having seen all of last night's performers in previous showcases, my opinion of each changed very little, with one exception. After watching him perform, I was forced to reevaluate my opinion of Brown, who the first time around reminded me of a Jack Johnson rip-off. Last night flipped my entire perspective on the man. 

Accompanied by violinist Jennifer Argenti, Brown played a soulful brand of bluesy, roots music featuring nimble finger picking and expert slide-guitar work. I managed to feel enthusiastic about his material even after seeing him do a reworked version of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" "Is this Love" (yawn). His performance had the highest audience participation, and his win is well-deserved. 

Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly

My personal pick for the evening goes to the indie-pop group Canvas, who once again showed a willingness to take their craft beyond elaborate instrument arrangements. Not satisfied with using a keyboard, xylophone and piano in addition to the usual gear, their music also features unexpected rhythm changes and delightfully quirky hand-clap fills. Singers Keila Morris and Doll Knight have the sweetest high-register voices and sing most of the lyrics in tandem, making for a double dose of pop sugar.

Props also have to go to Parker Macy, whose bluesy growl covered lyrics ranging from lovelorn demons and LSD trips to pat economics lessons on the devaluation of U.S. currency. Side note: He'll be opening a record store next week at the Lab in Costa Mesa. Go show him some love with your worthless cash.

The Crowd: Same as last week: Pretty girls in elaborate boots. Lots of photographers snapping pics and members of bands from previous showcases, including Brothers of the Castle, Honeypie, Blok and I Hate You Just Kidding.

Overheard: "Orange County loves you," yelled one fan after Micah Brown took the night's prize.

Random Notebook Dump: Somebody working with the Fullerton Museum notified police of a homeless man off in a dark corner of the venue drinking a beer. The cops poured out what was left in the can and called for backup.

Personal Bias: I would have also liked to  see the bands Honeypie and I Hate You Just Kidding perform last night. Boo.

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