The best live shows only happen when the musicians on stage show us that they’re enjoying themselves as much as the crowd.
DREAMCAR – the supergroup comprised of Orange County band No Doubt’s Tony Kanal (bass), Tom Dumont (guitar) and Adrian Young (drums) with AFI’s Davey Havok on lead vocals – exemplified a powerful energy and vivaciousness on last Friday at the Observatory that easily compares with their original bands.
Perhaps it was the opportunity to play hits from The Cars, David Bowie and Generation X, or it was because they were playing new songs that reflect their personal styles, but the No Doubt guys showed possibly even more happiness on stage than they typically do when they’re being fronted by Gwen Stefani.
It was inspiring to see the inarguable chemistry that Kanal, Dumont and Young still have after playing together for decades. Young still possessed the same humorous charm behind the set, while Kanal and Dumont would continuously face each other and smile as they strummed to the new wave-inspired songs. Kanal also caught some serious air as he would jump into the air during songs.
The addition of Havok – arguably one of punks most seasoned performers known for frequently jumping into crowds – just added to that energy.
Supported by openers Superet and kicking off their set with “After I Confessed,” DREAMCAR played an impressive 15-song set comprising of all of the songs from their self-titled album, which they debuted in May, as well as three covers that they premiered that evening.
The last time the band played at the Observatory, in the Constellation Room, in April, fans only knew the debut single “Kill for Candy,” the only song released at the time. But at the Observatory show, the crowd was singing along to every tune, including the surprise covers, which consisted of “Just What I Needed” by The Cars, “Suffragette City” by David Bowie and “Ready Steady Go” by Generation X.
Despite that show, and AFI’s performance at the venue’s When We Were Young festival a few weeks later, Havok, dressed in a suit with a splattered paint design, didn’t seem all too familiar with the Observatory.
“Did we play downstairs last time?” he asked the sold-out audience. “I don’t even know where I am right now. I’m so lost.”
Prior to playing “All of the Dead Girls,” Havok announced the performance would be filmed for the band’s second music video. He amped up the crowd by standing on top of speakers on each side of the stage, allowing fans to grab at him.
DREAMCAR ended their hour-long set with “Kill for Candy,” which, although well-known and played by now, still inspired the crowd to sing, dance along and beg for more.
By day, Brittany covers hard-hitting city news in San Diego. By night, she’s prowling the Orange County music scene, and is usually a regular attendee of local ska and punk shows. Reporting and music have always been Brittany’s passions. She wrote for her middle school and high school newspapers and studied journalism at Cal State Long Beach, where she graduated in 2012. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her French Bulldog, watching probably too many Disney movies for someone her age and napping.