The 50 Best Things About the OC Music Scene

Hey, Orange County–I know you don't hear this a lot, but we're sorry. Our musicians came down pretty hard on you a couple weeks ago, telling you how bad you suck and all that. It was harsh, nay, uncalled for–and it's kind of our fault for egging them on. The truth is, well, you're pretty great.

No, you don't have all the bluster and promise of some over-hyped industry town. Rarely does the world pay attention to you unless you have a brush fire, an Octomom sighting or some stupid reality show starts filming here. But in a way, that's exactly what makes you special. As far as your music scene goes, it's always been a wild and wonderful jungle unto itself, hidden from the bright lights and filled with some colorful, scrappy, and compassionate animals. And now some of those animals want to speak up and explain–in their own words–all the reasons why they would be nothing (well, mostly nothing) without you. And so, in honor of this week's Best of OC Issue, here's our list of the 50 Best Things About the OC Music Scene.

See also: The 50 Worst Things About the OC Music Scene


50. Playing in OC means I get to sleep in my own bed–this cuts the chance of catching crabs, or some other frightening bed-bug type creature, down by at least 50%.–Jack Grisham, T.S.O.L.

49. You can run into Rikk Agnew at the grocery store.–Kyle Gibson, Audacity

48. OC Weekly and OC Music Awards making me feel significant.–Jeremy Schnaible, The Field Trip

47. Musicians that have a good camaraderie and show up to shows to support other bands.–Chris Dorame, Solution

46. If your band has all white dudes in it and you play reggae music, you'll do well here.–N3utron, rapper

45. There is nothing better than going to Molcasalsa with your friends after playing an amazing show!–Eric Bootow, Sederra

44. Shout out to Eric, Ken and Amanda who work at Detroit Bar, they're very accommodating people.–Tony Tancredi, Mt. Ossa

43. You can find dens filled with debauchery, music and art. Something you don't automatically think of when you imagine “The OC.”–Kalva Won, producer (Grn+Gld Collective)

42. Shows in Pterodacdudes garage; sweat to death, destroy the world!–Manny Lopez, Dahga Bloom

41. Getting my plus one in for free.–John Gilhooley, The Yeastie Boys

40. When Clownhooley's microphone is turned down during our gigs, as requested.–Dirt Williams, The Yeastie Boys

See also: The 25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List

39. It's not that far from LA but it is just far enough.–N3utron, rapper

38. If I had the money to hire security, I'd hire Tim at The Observatory. He's the best.–Maya Tuttle, The Colourist

37. Making more money in 20 minutes of playing a show than I make after an entire day at work!–C4mula, rapper

36. Getting to play Chain Reaction, because of its history of influential bands.–Zach Smith, The Greenery

35. Being a burger.–Sean Bohrman, Thee Makeout Party / Burger Records founder

34. The in-store shows at GCS Clothing in Downtown Santa Ana.–Aliso Black, rapper

33. The wild after-party at EVERY Slidebar show. Ever.–Zach Smith, The Greenery

32. OC beach babes and 24/7 Taqueria De Andas.–Samuel Lopez, Tapioca and the Flea

31. Wandering into “The Kings Inn” at Memphis Bar on a Tuesday night and discovering a finger-picking legend I wish I'd been keen to 10 years ago.–Micah Brown

30. When Lucas is working sound at Chain Reaction.–Alex Polk, Day Seeker

See also: The 10 Greatest OC Metal Bands of All Time


29. Two words: Bill Bennett (he forced me to type that).–Micah Brown

28. Being able to walk around at night right after a show in full stage garb and feel safe behind the Orange Curtain with the bored patrolling popo hovering around every venue doing absolutely nothing but keeping the drunk cat calls from going too far.–Gianna Gianna, BLOK

27.Bob Rodman.–Nicole Vaughn, singer songwriter

26. Seeing local metal thrashers Scarlet Red do a rare performance at Tiki Bar.–Maya Tuttle, The Colourist

25. Conveniently located between Los Angeles and San Diego. OC enables a diverse culture being between two major cities.–Wizzo, producer (Get Money Boys)

24. Drinking PBR's at The Crosby w/ the Ack crew at Sound Science.–Aliso Black, rapper

23. Mike McHugh (founder if the Distillery recording studio) is out of jail and we saved his recording equipment so he will be reopening a studio in Costa Mesa.–Brooks Nielsen, The Growlers

22. When Troy's working sound and Danny's working door at The Continental Room, everybody wins.–Gianna Gianna, BLOK

21. With so few options for the night life, we have more time to focus on making music and surfing.–Brooks Nielsen, The Growlers

20. Everywhere you look there is someone who plays an instrument. All kinds of people playing all kinds of different genres of music, and multi-instrumentalists too!–Evan Stone, Translucent Ham Sandwich Band

See also: The 20 Greatest OC Albums of All Time: The Complete List

19. When shitty pay-to-play venues like The Galaxy go out of business, and become a great music venue like the Observatory–Robin Davey, Well Hung Heart.

18. The local recognition from our press and support within the community.–Wizzo, producer, (Get Money Boys)

17. The further out you get the opportunity to play, the more you realize the wide array of creators and dream chasers we have.–Doug McCurdy, Douglas and the Furs

16. Downtown Fullerton is a really great place for aspiring Top 40 DJ's.–Jared Henderson, Douglas and the Furs

15. The opportunity to perform with national acts at venues like The Observatory, The Grove, House Of Blues Anaheim, and Coach House.–Mike Doherty, Sederra

14. Best nights are when the lighting guy knows what he's doing. And when the CDJs at the club you're playing are actually linked up correctly.–Norin and Rad

13. Being steps away from Lou Dog and 17th Street Studios.–Casey Sullivan, Seedless

12. Starpool Parties: T-Bone Willy, then a member of local ska legends “The Knuckle Brothers,” had a house with a star-shaped pool. Local bands played his parties. It's a testament to how closely knit the OC ska/punk scene of the 90's was. Also, there was beer.–Dan Regan, Reel Big Fish

11. John Reiser has turned the Observatory into an awesome place to play.–Steve Soto, The Adolescents


10. It's always an honor to lose the category of “Best Punk Band” in the OC Music Awards to The Offspring.–Thomas Alvarez, Audacity

9. Having a community of musicians within in the scene, that supports its growth (and doesn't not try and bring it down).–Robert Jon Burrison, Robert Jon and the Wreck

8. Having parents and grandparents who will buy your last 20 pre-sale tickets to your show at Chain Reaction on a Monday night.–Matt Mason, Dahga Bloom

7. There were always hugely inspiring bands to open for. Nearly every weekend, Sublime used to play locally.–Dan Regan, Reel Big Fish

6. Getting to see arena-sized artists like Hardwell in intimate clubs like Sutra.–Adam Auburn, DJ at California Adventure

5. I gotta give it up to those venues still promoting real DJs with real vinyl, Hopscotch Tavern N Continental Room…keep it alive!–Bobby Soul, Boogaloo Assassins, DJ

4.The electronic dance scene is still so fresh here so the crowds are always amped and hungry for more.–Daniel Minaya, Minaya and Vikus

3. Even when no one comes to the show you have been promoting all month, at least the weathers good.–Greta Valenti, Well Hung Heart.

2. The talent. There are so many talented musicians you can find in Orange County. It's even better when those musicians play on your record to make you sound better.–Wes Dickson, Jeramiah Red

1.The weirdos.–Jeremy Schnaible, The Field Trip

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