The Vans Warped Tour made its first appearance in Irvine's quiet city for a day of teen angst, pogo-jumping pop punk, throat-shredding hardcore and a side of hip-hop. Braces and teenage awkwardness ran rampant throughout the Great Park's nine-stage set up while sounds pounded out of car-sized speaker set ups. And Despite the Irvine City Council nearly shitting their pants over the festival's percieved threat to the tranquil park and local residents, it appears we all miraculously survived. Aside from getting a long-awaited fix of nostalgic pop punk courtesy of New Found Glory, some sweet mosh pits a la Anti-Flag and acoustic story telling from Ataris frontman Kristopher Roe, we also got to hear what the kids (literally) are listening to these days.--Jackie Connor
9. Young the Giant - Pacific Amphitheater - July 22, 2012
For a local music fan who might never spend money on a ticket to see Adam Lambert or Three Dog Night, the sole reason for the Pacific Amphitheater's existence is to welcome the return of bands who've gone out into the record industry wilderness and come back rockstars. And if you can pack that sucker, then by god, you've made it. Not only did Young the Giant manage to fill every seat in the brisk night air of the OC Fair venue, but these OC Weekly cover boys knew exactly how to handle the audience during their July performance.Reaching the end of their summer tour, the band (supported by Fullerton faves the Steelwells) was as confident as if they were playing just a few miles away at their old Detroit Bar stomping grounds.--Nate Jackson
8. Quicksand - The Glass House - June 10, 2012
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Blaring guitar riffs, classic ballads, soulful saxophone solos, nostalgic keytar melodies and high-strung vocals all backed by an arena choir. Barely a year after reuniting at Coachella 2011, Caifanes stormed into the Honda Center in Anaheim in early June to deliver their iconic brand of rock en español. Whenever frontman Saul Hernandez raised his hand in front of the massive audience, the crowd yelled in praise. The sea of people wearing Caifanes shirts, free-falling 1990's-era rock hair and jean jackets turned into a tsunami set to destruct. With Caifanes flags and Mexican flags raised high, index and pinkies pointed to the sky, you would have thought the late, legendary JC Fandango returned from the dead.
6. The Hives - The Observatory - September 11, 2012
4. KISS and Motley Crue - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater - August 14, 2012
Pacific Festival, which moved its party out of Oak Canyon Ranch to the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina, took plenty of risks this year by revamping their third annual summer fling. Those who went to last year's bacchanal remember a very different picture, one where mammoth headliners like Snoop Dogg, Ghostland Observatory and Cut Copy commanded several stages and a lot more people. It's odd to think that a festival brand might be seen as taking a risk by scaling back, but this year's party appeared to do it right, despite the natural habitat of cliche OC snobbery that can sometimes accompany a ritzy location like the Dunes. But any comparisons to an episode of MTV's "Laguna Beach" washed away as the sun went down.
Headliner Mayer Hawthorne's reputation as a seamlessly charismatic performer may have been earned during his recently-wrapped world tour with his band the County, but it was learned right here in OC. Some may remember Hawthorne playing his first live show ever at the Continental Room in Fullerton, shuffling and sweet-talking on a cramped lounge-style stage surrounded by a packed house. Two years later, returning to headline on of the most buzzed-about festivals of the summer was an impressive, full-circle move.--Nate Jackson
The hot sun was no match for greasers and cowboys who drove out to God's country to partake in some classic rockabilly and punk music at the 18th annual Hootenanny at Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado Canyon on Saturday. Though there was no question what type of scene this was (read: cherry sundresses and Pomade), the overall crowd vibe created a fun, energetic time warp that's become an indelible part of summer in Orange County. Any lingering angst was surely taken out in one of the dozen circle pits the three stages had to offer. The pairing rollicking legends like the Reverend Horton Heat paired with the psychedelic surf rock of the Growlers and the long-awaited return of Bay Area punk legends Rancid made this year a definite game changer for this annual OC hoedown.--Jackie Connor
1. Doheny Days: Day 2 - Doheny State Beach - September 9, 2012
This year, Doheny Days stepped up it's game big time by supplying a two-day festival that the epitomized the idea of bringing area-worthy headliners to a festival that didn't feel over crowded or overloaded with acts. Headlined by Jane's Addiction and the Flaming Lips, this weekend at the beach made the drive down to the depths of South County well worth the trip. While day one was heartily impressive, on Sunday The Flaming Lips elevated the festival to it's zenith, bringing out stage props, from the expected giant bubble to large hands, light shows, colorful cannons and giant balloons packed to the brim with confetti. Stremers the stage and the massive audience in carni-like fashion. Lead singer Wayne Coyne even had a video camera attached to his microphone to show an enlarged fish-eye view of his face behind the band, which gave way to very animated expressions, tears included.--Jackie Connor