Sept. 3rd-4th, 2011
Hidden Valley, Irvine
What do you get when you mix together the leisurely spirit of the long weekend with about 300 high school kids, no-show performers and about 75 bajillion OC cops? You get the waste of perfectly good Labor Day weekend time that was the OC Playground Festival.
If you were there, that means you likely bought tickets, feel like a queef and know exactly where this review is going (in which case -- solidarity, bitches). If you were smart enough to stay your ass at Burning Man, the beach or even at the damn DMV over the long weekend, then listen up because you done dodged a bullet!
Initially dubbed as the "Coachella of OC," (cough!), the Playground Festival was Sept. 3rd-4th at the Hidden Valley in Irvine, and was set to feature The Game, Lil Jon and Too Short as the big name acts on Saturday (with The Game as the main headliner), and Panic at the Disco, Big Sean and Steel Panther on Sunday (with Panic as the headliner).
And while the line-up posted on the Playground Festival website listed around 200 acts between both days with Nick Canon hosting, by 4pm on Saturday, it became painfully clear that this shit was a scam, or a mistake, or something.
How so? Well, while many of the local bands and up-and-coming acts were in tow to bring the live ness to the lil OC kiddies, the bigger names on the bill who could afford to skip out on the event did. Meaning, not Too Short, Lil Jon nor the Game showed up to perform on Saturday. And with at least three cops per person in attendance (no joke), it was clear that Playground fest was not the most hip-hop lifestyle friendly venue.
And while it's still not known exactly why it all went down like that, with all three of Saturday's big name acts bowing out and taking Nick Canon with them (that's right, Mr. Mariah only had to come out once to see that this was some sketchy shizz), it is known that something went epically awry in the planning and promotion of this event.
Whether or not we're going to get some answers why there were no-show performances or whether anyone can get their money back (at least for Saturday), what is known is that OC Weekly was there, so at least you'll get the full 411 on this event, highlights, lowlights and the like.
Mickey Avalon: Even while piss drunk and pilled out (we're guessing), girls, glam and death rapper Mickey Avalon brought his fantastically offensive show out to Playground fest and the kiddies licked it up! Accompanied by his DJ, a background track (ugh) and a couple of strippers you just know he picked up from the strip joint on his way to the show (who I imagine were in mid-twirl on the stripper pole when he roped them into doing his show with the promise of doing rails off of his wang later), Avalon may have mumbled his way through his set, but at least he showed up! His set included the early stuff like Mr. Right, My Dick and Jane Fonda, to the more recent, What Do You Say. Sure he was too wasted to remember the words to at least 85% of his songs, but we still love Mickey and his special brand of Hollywood bad boy for that ass!!
Nick Canon's 5 minute on stage: Although he briefly appeared to get the crowd going before Mickey Avalon, Nick Canon's stint as host on Saturday was an eye-opener for those of us who only seem to know him as Mariah's man and/or homeboy from Nickelodeon. Commending OC women for "keeping it lit and passin it around," Canon looked ready to have a good time hosting before he found out none of the main acts were performing and bounced.
Shiny Toy Guns: Dude, how did these guys get on the radio again? Yeah, I don't know, but what I do know is that they are weak live. Sure they're newcomers and all that, but being that their look, sound and act as a whole resembles that of a shitty cruise ship band. I think this group needs to lose any illusions of mainstream success and go back to their day jobs folding khakis at the GAP and blowing Mickey Avalon for dope.
The Cataracts: Not as weak and out of tune as Shiny Toy Guns, these guys do have a little more clout in the business, and evidently, a little more appeal to match! So why are they among the lowlights of the show? Because they could have saved the day by staying on and doing a longer set, or coming back out and giving the crowd a little more after learning the rest of the performers weren't going to show. And whether or not they could have dome that without being assaulted by the crowd, we don't really care. All's not fair in love and concerts!
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Critic's Bias: When I was 12 my big brother made m listen to Too Short every morning in his car on the way to school. That's how I learned you should get in where you fit in, beeotch!
The Crowd: This was an all-ages thing, so you best believe the bored OC jr. high and high school kids were there to get loose before school's back. Howevs, there also seemed to be a huge go-go dancer population with nearly every other high school girl wearing nothing but her undies and some furry boots... I guess, in that way, you did miss out on something if you weren't there!
Overheard in the Crowd:
"This is some bullshit."
"I want my money back"
"How come we got dissed by Game, short dawg and lil jon?!"
"Game, game, game!!"
"You know that dude used to be a male prostitute, right"? (during Mickey Avalon)
Random notebook dump: This was a porta-potty only event and on more than one occasion the porta-potty I visited smelled like someone had just blazed a fat chronic blunt to the head in there, leading to only one conclusion - the cops were on their Nazi game that day!