MELTED and The Originalites
Music and politics have always made strange bedfellows. A song can often function as a political tool via its reflection of social and political events. However, when it is used as a symbol for an ideology, things start to get muddy; artists and their messages are sometimes used to market something which may be totally alien to their personal philosophies or to the intentions behind their messages — take, for example, the recent fiasco with Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" at the Kim Davis rally. Furthermore, it was somewhat ironic that local punk rock band MELTED and reggae rock troupe The Originalites performed at a Green party rally since neither one of them has ever been painted as a political band.
The methodology behind this choice likely has something to do with the fact that the intention of the Green party is to rebel against and overthrow global capitalism, as made clear by keynote speaker Chris Hedges. The fact that punk rock started as a renunciation of mainstream musical forms admittedly works as a nice analogy. Then again, if you want to get technical, the Facebook event page for "Calling All Rebels: The Moral Imperative to Revolt" had MELTED billed as a "Local Rock Outfit" and The Originalites as a "Local Reggae Outfit."
All labels and intentions aside, the purpose of this article is not to examine the complexities of political agendas or to promote them — such things are in the domain of political critics not art or music critics. It just happened that the venue for these two local bands was a political rally at the Delhi Center, in Santa Ana. While the Delhi Center provides a nice location for a political rally, it is not the optimal choice for a rock concert. The 600 seat ballroom probably works well for the wedding bands which perform there, when the facility is rented out for someone's nuptials, but it is not likely that it would be the first choice of many bands for a showcase of their music. Live sound mixing is an artform, and there were issues with the sound for both bands.
For MELTED's performance, the vocals were unintelligible. However, between songs, the playful banter of Justin Eckley (vocals, guitar) and Sam Perez (drums) was discernable and, as usual, very amusing. Eckley, Perez, and bassist Leo Arroyo didn't seem to care about the crappy audio mix. They tore into their set with their usual moxie and emanated the raw punk energy that this reviewer first saw when they performed at Fullerton's Comic Book Hideout and Slidebar in Fullerton. MELTED is always a fun group to experience because their vibes always transcend the venue's limitations. For anyone who wants to experience this, firsthand, the band will be performing this evening, in Fullerton, at The Continental Room.[
Next to take the stage was The Originalites. Currently a nominee for OC Weekly's Reader's Choice for Best Punk Band of 2015, Reggae-inspired band The Originalites don't actually sound like the prototypical punk band. They're more punk by way of their ethos. That being said, they did voice concern over their audio mix, but unlike MELTED's three piece arsenal of electric guitar, bass, and drums, The Originalites's arrangements also include a saxophone and occasional harmonies. Naturally, as the complexity of a band's sound dynamics increases, so does the necessity for good mixing. While not the greatest mix in the world, the band certainly sounded fine. The music was tight and upbeat, and the band was fun to watch.
In between the songs, they mentioned that their music was about fighting addictions and telling tragic and cautionary stories about friends whom they had lost or who were struggling with such beasts. All in all, it was an awesome set, and if anyone would like to check out their high-energy show before voting for them on the Weekly's "Best of" list, they perform every Monday evening at Gallagher's, in Huntington Beach. Be sure and get there early, as the band says that they sell out every performance.