August was a big month for local music at the Grove of Anaheim. Wrapping up one last performance at Anaheim's big box venue, the mash-up of homegrown talent at the final Locally Grown showcase gave disciples of the OC music scene a mixed pallet of indie rock and folk flavors that have proven to satisfy.
Headlined by the percussive rock fervor of The Union Line, the show carried a heavy dose of OC Music Award nostalgia courtesy of Yellow Red Sparks and the Colourist (both bands walked away with awards at the ceremony this past spring). The night was rounded off by last week's Local's Only subject Moonshine and the Drugs. In hopes of helping you relive the magic once again, we've broken down a few choice moments full of pop rock, cowbells and “R” bombs that made our last Locally Grown showcase this month one for the books.
Best Quote of the Night: Yellow Red Sparks
Considering how much grief the word “retard” caused superstar Jennifer Aniston this week, we figured most artists or musicians with a microphone in their face might scrub it from their lexicons for the time being. But Yellow Red Sparks lead singer Josh Hanson wasn't about to go all PC on us. He dropped an “R” bomb before launching into their brooding acoustic allegory, “A Play to End All Plays.”
In an effort to get the crowd to shout the song's catchy refrain “and the tickets were free,” Hanson mentioned how “retarded” it would be if we could all sing that part together as a call and response. He followed his faux pas with a quick disclaimer: “I know that isn't a good word to say, but it's okay…my brother's retarded.” For what it's worth, most people we content to snicker a little bit and let him get on with the song. Looks like it was a very un-PC crowd as well.
Best Growl: Moonshine and the Drugs
As relative newcomers to the OC music scene, eclectic Long Beach stalwarts Moonshine and the Drugs stuck out like a soar thumb for all the right reasons. Especially when lead singer, Matt Edwall, conjured up his best blood-curdling metal screams. When laid on top of chaotic cymbal crashes and crunchy, Faith No More Guitar chords on songs like “Beer Can,” his low, gravelly growls easily distinguished the band from their Locally Grown colleagues. Given the abundance of pure pop vocals employed by all the other bands on the line-up, we were appreciative of a band that could give us a few guttural bursts of brutality.
Best use of a go go cowbell: The Union Line
Though San Juan Capistrano's the Union Line made sure to employ their bountiful and thunderous percussion on songs like “Pearls” and “California,” it was nice to hear them give some love to the cowbell during their headlining set. In this case, front man Richard “Dickie” Thiesen made use of a small, double-headed a go go bell to interject some plunky, Calypso vibes during a few new jams. Cracking the bell with a furiously moving drum stick, the island texture was a welcomed foreign object to their typical set list of plodding keyboards and rumbling Americana rhythms. Besides, what band couldn't use more cowbell? The band also made a strong showing out of the harmony-driven crowd-pleaser “Gold Mine,” along with “Dirty Water,” and “Strangers.”
Biggest crowd response: The Colourist
Whether it was their prime 10 p.m. slot in the Locally Grown line-up or the enviable popularity of their catchy, guitar-strumming dance pop, the Colourist garnered the lion's share of praise from the colorful, tight-dressed crowd of local music lovers that shuffled in and out of the Grove's courtyard in between bands. Despite the unavoidable disease that causes fans to jet after the one band they came to see, most of the crowd was content to stick around and balloon to the front of the stage for a taste of xylophone chimes, emotive guitar swells, sharp synths and songs that are destined for major market success.