[Sound Guy] For Your Shoppertainment: Bands In Malls!

For Your Shoppertainment
Heard Mentality: The best of the music blog for the week of July 13-July 19

Given the myriad mega-malls in Orange County, it makes sense to hold some music events at them. Thus July 19’s District Unplugged event at the District in Tustin Legacy, an outdoor shopping center where the entertainment, retail and dining options are matched only by the frustrating sprawl of the place’s layout.

In part a benefit for the Surfrider Foundation, District Unplugged was also the first event eVocal was involved in following the closing of their Costa Mesa gallery/music venue earlier this month. As discussed previously in this space (“Youth Will Not Be Served,” July 10), eVocal owner Brett Walker had said he intended to keep the brand name alive and continue to promote local art and music; it wasn’t clear then how that was going to work without a physical space. But at this event, eVocal resident artists were set up throughout the center’s District Promenade, exhibiting their work, screenprinting T-shirts and painting a mural. Essentially, it was an eVocal show not at eVocal.

The best parts of a good shopping-center concert are the surreal moments such an environment can provide. Mall shows will forever be linked to the Tiffanys and Avril Lavignes of the world, so it was definitely odd to see LA’s Iglu & Hartly (one of the day’s headliners, along with Matt Vasquez, lead singer for SoCal faves Delta Spirit) perform “In This City” a few yards from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. That song was a KROQ hit, peaked at No. 5 on the U.K. singles chart and was influential music blog Popjustice’s No. 19 single of 2008 (though, to be fair, a Miley Cyrus song was No. 17). Yet there the band were, seeming psyched to be performing in front of a couple of dozen shoppers, most of whom probably had no idea who Jarvis Anderson (vocals, keys), Sam Martin (vocals, keys), Simon Katz (guitar), Luis Rosiles (drums) and Michael Bucher (bass) were.

Retail is indelibly inked into Orange County’s DNA, so it’s cool for events like this to try to make stimulating our dismal economy a more culturally rich experience.

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Irvine’s Thrice have firmed up a release date for their sixth album, Beggars. On Oct. 13, they’ll unleash what they promise will be more accessible material than their weighty four-part release, The Alchemy Index, which lead singer/guitarist Dustin Kensrue called a “giant head game” in a recent press release. Kensrue played a solo show on July 18 at—where else?—the Irvine Spectrum mall.

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We wrote a couple of weeks ago on Heard Mentality about how the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana was advertising Outkast would be opening up for their frequent collaborator Sleepy Brown on a July 17 show at that venue, as dubious a claim as any given how infrequently Andre 3000 and Big Boi have performed with each other in the past few years. (Also, if they did, it would be an opening gig? In Santa Ana?) The Galaxy later clarified to us that it would be “one member” of Outkast performing, but they wouldn’t say which one. (Hmm.) The whole strange situation was rendered moot, though, as the show was canceled last week.



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