Being new in town, I'm on the lookout for music wherever I can find it. And a young band looking to make a name is in no position to turn down a gig, no matter where it may be.
So it might have been kismet that I found myself listening to Los Angeles-based four piece End Roulette last night at, of all places, the stage at The District at Tustin Legacy, one of Orange County's myriad shopping centers. (Seriously, guys, how many Sunglass Huts does one county need?) I was looking for cheap furniture at Target and Costco to fill my currently bare apartment, they were playing Hole-esque post-grunge for a couple dozen teenagers and parents with small kids in front of Borders, DSW and a large screen playing Bowling For Soup and All-American Rejects videos (silent, thankfully). The most enthusiastic audience members were a couple of toddlers that frequently danced in front of the stage, further enhancing the intriguing and amusing juxtaposition between the band's moody music and the venue.
To End Roulette's credit, though, they gamely equipped themselves well to their surroundings and seemed to recognize the inherent absurdity of the situation. When lead singer Mary Jane Snow plugged an upcoming 18+ show on Nov. 3 at The Key Club in Hollywood, she playfully added, “I know most of you aren't old enough to go.” Drummer Pete Vasquez gave away drum sticks after the set to the little kids that were rocking out.
I wasn't totally surprised by the live music at The District – the center is operated by the somewhat sinister-sounding Vestar Corporation, the people responsible for Tempe Marketplace in my hometown, which hosts monthly gigs from national acts, in the past attracting The Airborne Toxic Event and The Ataris. Hoobastank is playing there on Halloween – scary indeed. Last year, Tempe Marketplace held the SoCo Music Experience, in which indie notables like Girl Talk, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Architecture in Helsinki and Fullerton's Cold War Kids rocked the parking lot.