Showgazing: Oliver Jane, Dash Jacket at Blue Laguna

Checked out the Monday night acoustic shows at Blue Laguna in Laguna Beach last night. Well, they're supposed to be acoustic, at least, but like everything in life, things don't always work out the way you've planned.

I don't ever go to Laguna Beach. And by that, I don't mean to sound like one of those people who are like “yeah, I'm never down there!” to try and sound like I'm somehow too hip and urban for South County. I have literally never been to Laguna Beach in the 10.5 months I've lived here. (It's entirely possible, probable, even, that I've been there at some point during a family vacation when I was a kid, but I don't remember clearly enough to confirm.) So even though I did want to see the bands playing last night, the venue itself was enough of a novelty.

Turns out, Laguna Beach is a pretty nice place, even if the drive there was long (though not quite as long as Google Maps estimated it would be–victory!), dark and sort of scary. And there were a lot of drunk, douchey-type dudes that were wandering around outside, but I guess that was unavoidable. It was Monday night, after all.

The first band that played was San Francisco's Camp Out. I didn't get a chance to see them, but I wish I had. I did see them hanging around outside, and they seemed like very pleasant people, so there's that, at least.

Oliver Jane were up next, a band I've written plenty about, even though I've only seen them play live once before, way back in January at Detroit Bar. That show was plagued with sound problems (not theirs) throughout, but I still thought they sounded really promising, even through all the crackles and pops (not very many snaps, though, sadly). “Spaceheater Song” (find it on their MySpace) is one of the best local tracks of the year, so I was excited to get a chance to see them under (hopefully) more favorable circumstances.

Turns out, the dudes (yes, one of them is female, I consider “dude” to be a gender neutral term) sounded great, even if the space was a little bit weird. It was really dark, for one, though I did catch half of a flash, which allowed for this fun picture that makes it look like I was watching the show after being exiled behind a fence.

The place is sort of small for a show, too. (“Intimate,” some might say.) Oliver Jane are from nearby-ish Mission Viejo, and they drew a good amount of people, but the space will be fairly cramped from around 20 folks standing near the stage. “Come stand closer, you're all so far away,” said the band's titular “Jane.” They took her literally and started moving even closer. “I'm just kidding!”

Orange County's Dash Jacket were next, and despite the directive to play acoustic (Blue Laguna is attached to a Holiday Inn), they did…not. They're a fairly noisy, punky two-piece, who trade between guitar and drum after nearly every song. It was pretty rad, and surely even some square trying to sleep in the Holiday Inn would admit that. They're pretty new. Hope to see more of them soon!

I talked to Stefanee Freedman, marketing director of Blue Laguna, after the show. She's got some fairly big plans for the spot (which is primarily a restaurant) and helping to shape it into a unique nightlife destination in Laguna Beach, a place that doesn't have all that many unique nightlife destinations. Check out their events.

Important question brought up by last night, reprinted here from our Twitter: Why is Fuel TV playing so often at bars? This was the case in Arizona, too. I think no one would ever even see Fuel TV if they didn't see it at a bar. Who knows what it's like with the sound up?

And the drive home: also long, dark and scary.

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