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Friday, November 7
Common Kings The Observatory Common Kings appear poised for a major breakout in 2015. In fact, it's looking almost inevitable. They just came off tour with Justin Timberlake--13 dates across Australia and New Zealand--and now they're in the studio with a team of A-list producers for their debut LP, called Hits and Mrs. due out mid-January. They're working on tracks with Timberlake's longtime co-songwriter and producer Rob Knox, also Grammy-winner Supa Dups (Eminem, Drake, Bruno Mars), and Brian Kennedy (Ciara, Rhianna). Fronted by a Samoan-born crooner gifted with a honey-tone three-octave range, Common Kings is comprised of four OC-bred Pacific Islanders who can all trace their heritage back to royal bloodlines. Their sound has found Common Kings a place all their own in the Island music scene. (Adam Lovinus)
Read more: Locals Only: Common Kings Are Royals
The Great Pumpkin Slidebar There was a time when we could't possibly imagine '90s tribute bands popping up--but then we had an equally hard time picturing the grunge fashion revival. Enter the Great Pumpkin--a trio hailing from Long Beach that plays Smashing Pumpkins songs, well, not bad actually. Though no cover band can really match the vocal stylings of their idol lead singer (except the Pearl Jam tribute band Vitology, whose singer does a Vedder impression so spot-on, it's freaky), this group can definitely scratch your burning '90s alterna-rock itch. And as Billy Corgan continues his embarrassing descent into lunacy (pro-wrestling companies, furniture commercials, and 8-hour synthesizer concerts, anyone?), this is the closest we're going to get to an actual Smashing Pumpkins concert. Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8
Real Friends Chain Reaction Though they hate to use the term, Real Friends are blowing up. Despite the cliché, that's what Real Friends are doing, though. The pop/punk/emo band--one of the last few stalwarts carrying the Jimmy Eat World banner--are driving through Kansas, headed west to Anaheim's Chain Reaction, where they're playing two sold-out nights. Then they'll criss-cross the country to play sold-out dates in New York, Florida and Boston before heading back to the Midwest. But the real measure of future success is their deal with Fearless Records, an OC label known for developing talent that majors eventually fight over. Real Friends have so far released a bunch of EPs, and their full-length debut, Maybe This Place Is The Same and We're Just Changing, has earned accolades from critics and fans. Billboard, Fuse and Alternative Press have all placed the band on countless ones-to-watch lists. They play two headlining shows at Chain Reaction this weekend. (Lilledeshan Bose)
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Saturday, November 8
The Abigails The Wayfarer The front of Abigails LP Tundra (for which this show is a release party) is Abigails mastermind Warren Thomas alone and stranded in some spaghetti-western desert, and if that doesn't tell you exactly what this is gonna sound like, it's only because it would've been logistically prohibitive to put scorch marks on every single cover. Tundra lead track "Twenty Nine" reveals shockingly lush production--for the Abigails, that means you can't hear the cigarette smoke dissolving the tape--and songs that sound like Alex Chilton producing Lee Hazlewood, or the Gun Club on a turntable that discovered its own speed between 33 and 45. It's bleak and it's burned out and that's just the way we love it. Raise a glass and smash it later. (Chris Ziegler)