Almost Acoustic Christmas: Photos, recaps, interviews, and more!

Celebrating its 12th anniversary, the OC Music Awards kicked off on January 8th with eight weeks of free showcases at different venues across the county. 35 local artists will compete for the titles of Best Live Band and a performance slot at the 2013 OC Music Awards, March 9th at the City National Grove of Anaheim.

Perfectly suited for the Tiki Bar, it was reggae-rock night for the OC Music Awards–with the exception of high-energy bowling-shirt-wearing pop-punk group Seven Year War. As is typical with the reggae-rock performances we’ve seen, each group brought out a bevy of their own fans, who drank, partied, danced, and left after their favorite band’s set. Too bad because all of the bands were awesome and if they like that sort of music, totally on par with their tastes?

The first band and a fan-favorite of the night was Solution. Heavy metal riffs combined with harder sounds and Nick Papageorge’s confident onstage swagger was more than just an appetizer–it was a five-course meal. Solution is right; they have something unique that transcends genres and that could take them to higher levels with their sound. It’s a perfect fusion of current sounds on the radio like punk rock, hard rock, and reggae and could easily translate into something popular internationally.  They were definitely a hard set to follow. Especially since they gave away a ton of free stuff.

80 Proof didn’t hesitate from trying to rip the crown off Solution’s head. Whether they did that or not was up to the audience and 80 Proof brought their own set of super-fans. Frenetic frontman Evan Manriquez had quite a few ladies drooling over him, but the real start of the band is percussionist/keyboardist Alex Williams. During the middle of 80 Proof’s set he ripped out some electro-tribal drumming that melted the nether-regions of anyone in a 20-foot proximity.

Next up was pop-punk group Seven Year War who reminded us, wonderfully, of all our high school make-out sessions to groups like Green Day or Blink-182. Out of all of the groups, they had the most infectious, radio-ready songs, songs that you could easily see blasting on your car stereo and chanting while driving down the 405.

Headshine was a mellow respite from all the reggae-rock chanting and punk rock headbanging, while the Wheeland Brothers capped off the night at the same energy level as it started with Solution. Witty and charming, the Wheeland Brothers have live performance down to a science with awesome rapport, hula dancers, and an amazing cover of Sublime’s “Santeria” that sounded like it was crooned from the mouth of Bradley Knowell himself.

Check out interviews from Week #5 here:

The 2013 Showcase Series runs every Tuesday night, January 8th-February 26th with stops at:

Feb 12 – Founders Hall

Feb 19 – Yost Theater

Feb 26 – House of Blues-Anaheim




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