OCMA Best Live Band Finals The Observatory February 25, 2014 With last night's concert for best live band drifting off into our memories, we bid farewell to another season of OCMA showcases. Unlike last year, we'll have to wait until the awards ceremony on March 8 to learn this year's winner. If yours truly were in charge of picking the winner, I'd give the nod to Beneath the Buried, who electrified the crowd with a metal sound that channeled elements of Avenged Sevenfold and Pantera. Singer Kevin Havic showed impressive range with a vocal repertoire that vacillated between a wicked growl and a vocal-chord shredding screech. The room came alive during the song "Masterpiece," when the crowd in front of the stage erupted into a large circle pit.
Winning points for least predictable set was Well Hung Heart, whose singer, Greta Valenti, took to the stage in a sequined, backless dress and devil horns. Her shrill screech punctuated sludgy guitar and bass played courtesy of Robin Davey. The set served as a reminder that when pushing the limits of one's voice, there's a fine line between melting faces and simply blowing speakers. Unfortunately, Valenti's voice was closer to the latter.
The second best performance of the night (in this Feral blogger's opinion) goes to Midnight Hour. Although I've always felt that their Killers-meets-Temper Trap sound is unadventurous, and singer Brad Loge's constant miming and chest pounding feels contrived, the band has undeniable charisma. Last night their set was especially tight and brought the most memorable hooks of the evening--notably with the song "Modern Love."
Bringing up the rear was the reggae punk band Solution who won their spot on the stage as a fan favorite. Not sure what the fans (or the sound man) were smoking, but this band's guitars and vocals went a little heavy on the delay, which when coupled with awkward tempo changes, made the set a study in sloppy sonics.
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The event was kicked off by pop punk band Rebel Revive who impressed with solid harmonies. But the band's unison pogoing during their cover of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," made the tune look like a ton of fun, which it wasn't--even as an original back in 1987.
See you at the awards ceremony.