[Mental Notes] The Vacuum Bell Shines, the Eagles and the Department of Justice Suck

Vacuum Bell Doesn’t Suck

The small stage at the Gypsy Den in downtown Santa Ana rises mere inches above the wooden floor, but that was a high-enough perch for Will Morrison (a.k.a. The Vacuum Bell), who charmed the packed room of around 200 people at the fourth OC Music Awards showcase on Jan. 26. His cheery love songs rarely allow clichés to replace details—even ones that another songwriter might deem too random or revealing. The Laguna Beach-based Morrison introduced one song as “Jordan,” a wonderfully quirky valentine to a neo-hippie girl the artist knew for a passing moment, knows well or is simply an ideal. Either way, “Jordan” is a fascinating character whom the listener could easily envision “catnapping on the Carolina Dunes,” as the singer described her daily routine.

As a vocalist, Morrison doesn’t have amazing range, and he isn’t exactly sonorous. But he is a skilled stylist, dabbling in the upper register to great effect, even if he occasionally reaches for notes he can’t properly hit. The emotional impact comes across, and that’s what allowed him to hold most of the crowd spellbound, despite having to compete with the sounds of wine glasses, cups of coffee, bowls of soup, sandwiches and at least five people snapping pictures throughout his brief-but-memorable performance. The OC Music Awards showcase series continues Tuesday with another free event featuring local talent at the OC Tavern in San Clemente.


Due to an insatiable need for even more cash following the announcement of their three-night Hollywood Bowl stand, the Eagles have added a fourth area date at Anaheim’s Honda Center on April 25. The Eagles—Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit—will offer note-for-note re-creations of songs from their 2007 Wal-Mart exclusive album, Long Road Out of Eden, as well as songs played every time you frequent the supermarket, family doctor or dentist; enter an elevator; or contemplate eternal hell. Yeah, I feel the same way about the Eagles as Jeff Bridges’ Dude does in The Big Lebowski.


When it comes to the law, my knowledge is pretty much limited to drinking, drugs and anything else that at some point in my life may have gotten me incarcerated. Despite my ignorance, I’m fairly certain the Ticketmaster-Live Nation coupling approved by the Department of Justice on Jan. 25 will not only result in many a music fan—and musician—getting fucked over, but it is also a monopoly. The kind our government, I thought, was supposed to squash. 


The stories for this column were culled from recent Heard Mentality blog posts; to read more and for daily updates, go to blogs.ocweekly.com/heardmentality.


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