OC Music Awards Showcase: Night 3
The Slide Bar Rock-N-Roll Cafe
January 22, 2013
The OC Music Awards Showcase continued it's excursion on the quest to find OC's best live band for night three at the Slidebar Rock-N-Roll Cafe in downtown Fullerton. To test the nominated bands originality, stage presence, crowd participation and overall appeal where a few of the elite members of the OC Music Awards Academy which is comprised of music journalists, radio personalities, booking agents and industry professionals who help support our local music scene. Starting at 8 p.m., the showcase featured and interesting array of bands including Anna Vexa, Snakebit Drifters, Fiction Reform, Beneath the Buried and Death Hymn Number 9 who all brought their own eclectic crowds and energy to the Slide Bar stage.
Slide Bar seemed like the perfect venue to host such an array of rockers and, well, rawkers. Not only is it known for their Rock-N-Roll "I don't give a fuck" mentality, but the entire bar is adorned with memorabilia from some of Orange County's most famed musicians including a a signed No Doubt drum set in which we almost died of envy over. The only thing missing was a decent DJ to keep the party going in between the acts - or wait that's not allowed in punk rock is it? It didn't seem to matter however the sound system was blaring so loud the 15-minute break intermissions where about the only time you could have a conversation with your friends or ask the waitress for another beer.
First up were Anaheim five-piece Anna Vexa who kind of disturbed us a little (literally, these guys sound a lot like Disturbed). Whether it was the dramatic, baritone vocals, the ultra crunchy riffs or the djembe jams they worked in here and there, their sound screamed 90s FM rock radio. If you were looking for a textbook rock act, there ya go.
The Snakebit Drifters left one hell of an impression as the three-piece ensemble relied on upright bass, sheer rockabilly swagger and Tim Willi's deep raw vocals which transcend you into another time. They had a large crowd which seemed to relate to his tales of old Cadillacs and whiskey-filled nights as the rock and roll with a punk twist resonated from the turned up sound system. At one point, he let out all his angst as he fell to the floor on his back only to come back up to the elusive guitar riffs of their song "Diamond Ring." The band's pure musicianship, instrumentation and energy throughout allowed them to put on a solid show.
Punk-rock band Fiction Reform made their presence known loud and clear as they proved chicks can rock as hard as anyone else with the vocals of Brenna Red - who by the way also rocked the guitar. What was really showcased here besides the pure authentic punk rock sound was Aaron Chabak's ability to memorize you with his guitar skills. Oh ya, and that Jefferson Airplane "White Rabbit" cover got us too.
There was an obvious divide between the punk crowd and the more post hardcore kids ready to put their FTW hands up as Beneath the Buried took the stage. They were the obvious crowd favorite with heir explosive metal sound and spastic screams (annoying if you ask me). But nothing could have been more seditious than Death Hymn Number 9's gory zombie make-up and outlandish on stage presence. The fusion of garage rock punk was pretty bad ass too, even when the band forgot which song they were playing. Or did they?
Critical Bias: Though my editor likes to coin my as the "EDM Diva," that doesn't mean I can't channel the punk rock girl in me still from my Chain Reaction and Vans Warped Tour hey days.
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The Crowd: Was as varied as the music from the bands, but I assume it was mostly fans and industry people supporting our local music.
Overheard: "The drummer to Death Hymn Number 9 looks like the zombie undead version of Keith Moon's son."
Random Notebook Dump: The service was incredibly on point for how crowded it was and you can't go wrong with $3 imports!