The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years
Michael Minichiello

TGIF: The Wonder Years, Social Distortion, Jandek, Three Bad Jacks and Many More!

On Friday, the Wonder Years play at Chain Reaction in Anaheim--and yes, we feel your eyes rolling a bit at the name. We still haven't quite gotten over Crystal Castles and Final Fantasy ourselves, to name just two. But the Philadelphia-based band, who look more like camp counselors than glue sniffers, make up for the name with their sweetly aggro punk rock that is by now its own eternal genre into itself (no matter what name they now give it). They don't still say "emo," do they? This Time Next Year and Tonight Alive round out the bill; check out the feature story on the group in this week's issue for more.

Friday also finds Monrovia's

Moonlight Wranglers

helping to kick the new year into gear with another appearance at the Pike in Long Beach, one of their favorite haunts. The four-piece band aren't quite spiritual cousins of the Latin Playboys, but they're definitely from the same spot on the map, figuratively and literally. The quartet fire up classic country twang, rock-y distortion and a snaky sense of rhythm to boot. They didn't call their latest album

Dirty Cantina

for nothing, after all:


Saturday means one word for a slew of experimental-music freaks throughout SoCal: Jandek. A musician for whom the word "enigmatic" might as well have been coined, Texas' "Representative from Corwood" will appear at UC Irvine's Crystal Cove Auditorium for his first area show. The subject of one of our feature stories this week, Jandek will be appearing as per his usual practice: with a one-off backing band consisting of B.J. Miller of Health on drums and San Pedro's own Mike Watt on bass. Whatever happens that night, it should be a doozy:

Saturday also has

Three Bad Jacks

keeping the psychobilly train rolling with an appearance at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana with

Rumble King


Brass Knuckle Voodoo.

So, of course, bring your leather, your pompadour and your proof that your tattoos are real. But the trio have perspective and a bit of fun to help with it all--front man Elvis Suissa earned his name by having his French, Presley-loving mom call him that when he was born. Sounds like firing up the guitar and rock moves was something he was destined for:

Wednesday means

Social Distortion

, and that's really all that needs to be said. One of the best random comments we heard last year was an out-of-towner describing Orange County this way: "Imagine a world where Social Distortion were the Beatles."

Mike Ness

and the current lineup of the band, featuring newest member

David Hidalgo Jr

. on drums, has been plenty busy of late, including a recent Jimmy Kimmel appearance. Their new album,

Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes

, is due for release Jan. 18. The show at the House of Blues in Anaheim may be sold out, but trust us: You want to get in somehow.


Thursday finds


swinging through Anaheim, with the Brazilian metal stalwarts playing along with


and other performers at the House of Blues. The group's aggressively pioneering role in expanding the world of metal beyond a Euro-American axis has been somewhat overshadowed by the split with founding members Igor and Max Cavalera, but Andreas Kisser and company continue flying the flag for the band's unique brand of prog/thrash rampages.

Pithy Sweet

also perform that evening at the Continental Room in Fullerton, celebrating the release of their debut EP,

Hole in My Pocket

. The self-described "three people playing music together" are our

Locals Only featured artist this week.

The hometown band, a new incarnation of the former group

American Gypsies

, have gained increasing attention over the past year, concluding with a stint opening for

Jeremiah Red's

residency this past month. So come on out and hear what a new spin on some older rock stylings can sound like.



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