Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Golden Boys Of Orange County

by Caitlin McGuire (writer), Orange County, November 03, 2006


On October 28th, some of the biggest bands from Orange County (and one from San Diego) got together for a night of spooky costumes, brief movies, and great music. Strangely enough, while all of the bands were southern California residents, none of their members listed their location as an influence. Whether their dream is to live elsewhere (Matthew Mason, guitarist of Great Glass Elevator, explains “The thought of Alaska inspires me more than Orange County.”), or a slight resentment for their homeland (Jarret Killen, guitarist of Narwhal, complains that “California is a weird place to make music. Everyone thinks that you’re a bunch of rich kids.”) it is clear that in music, at the least, location isn’t everything.
The show opened with The Jakes, masquerading as Borat (“If you don’t like my show, they execute.”), a hippie, Scooby Doo, and a Bunny, among other costumes. Their charismatic guitarist, Heath Farmer, the bunny, essentially provided the only entertainment of their band; he spun like a top while kicking his rabbit feet. Does anyone ever really get tired of seeing a bunny play the guitar? Meanwhile, singer Sameer Gadhia and guitarist Jake Tilley did not appear to open their eyes all night. While Borat, keyboardist Ehson Hashemian, was entertaining, it was more due to his impersonation of the character created by Sasha Baron Cohen, rather than his own humor. Bassist Addam Farmer strutted across the stage in typically punk fashion, but his actions seemed disjointed compared to the almost lethargic movement of the rest of his band. Nevertheless, a large crowd came to cheer on the Northwood High School band; The Jakes were nominated to be one of the top ten most popular rock bands in southern California by the O.C. Music Awards, and regularly play at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
The Ultra Violet Tigers took the stage afterwards, with singer, Gary Hawkins, guitarist, Aaron Swanson, and bassist, Kevin Lau, dressed like zombies. Their drummer, Andy Robillard, dressed as a pirate, cued their song, “Daggers.” Sadly, while their material was solid and their musicians extremely talented, the audience didn’t seem interested by their music, despite Swanson emphatically shouting, “We’ll rip your face off!” The Ultra Violet Tiger’s music, which Lau describes as “laser beam decapitated rock,” is in the vein of Boy Kill Boy, and has a wide range of influence. As Swanson said vaguely, “I’m pretty into the last century.” A more mature audience is definitely needed for the band whose industrial sound has definite crossover demographic appeal. The unsigned band hasn’t released anything yet; with their lazy rock and roll antics (Swanson dropped his guitar after closing with “Glass Heart” and kicked it languidly before heading offstage), its clear that the band is not entirely serious about hitting it big just yet, regardless of their assurance that “there will be hearts exploding” at their shows.
The White Noise showed up late for their stage time. How rock and roll. Signed to Placentia Records, The White Noise intended to dress up as a mariachi band. However, because they “were too broke,” they ended up with the same white and black face paint as the Ultra Violet Tigers. Ironically, singer Bryan King looked on the verge of death by starvation indefinitely; every last bone in his slender hips was visible when he moved. King affected an accent with nearly all his words, and wore a mariachi hat despite being unable to afford the entire outfit. He often asked the audience, “Do you like the rock and roll?” The two-year-old band has obvious influence from The Beatles and Pedro the Lion, but sounds nearly Doors-ish at the same time. The White Noise is modern and edgy, and given time, has definite potential.
Narwhal took the stage second to last to play their last show until after they record their new record in Las Vegas. Narwhal, who played at our school last year, opened with “Drug Driven,” featured on the soundtrack and commercials for Feast, a new horror movie. Having garnered a more widespread audience after signing with Maloof Records, singer Forrest Devitt recalls his favorite venue as the “slopes in Vermont,” a humble way of describing their broadcasted performance earlier this year at the U.S. Open. Their “electrified rock” is catchy and radio-friendly, similar to that of The Killers and Jimmy Eat World, as their bassist, Daneger, is “heavily influenced by the eighties,” according to guitarist Jarret Killen. This year has been tough on Narwhal: Devitt recently underwent heart surgery and Killen crashed their van. As a result, the turnout on the 28th was very satisfying for the band; Devitt thanked the audience after playing “The Cha” for forming a mosh-pit, because it was “one of the best night [they’ve] had in a long time” (Apparently, Narwhal appreciates my bruises). Still, the band is grateful for being able to make their music; Killen smiles as he asks, “Who gets an awesome job like this? We wake up everyday and instead of going to an office, we show up and play guitar.” Devitt adds, “Dance now because you never know when you’re going to die.”
After a long intermission, Great Glass Elevator took the stage, behind a white curtain, on which they projected the video they had been advertising on myspace, the popular website, since early September. Allegedly, their lead singer’s brain was taken out of his skull by an evil scientist, and implanted into a Frankenstein-like creature, composed of Freddie Mercury’s moustache (which later fell off, which was “okay,” according to Braun, because “it was kind of goofy), Kurt Cobain’s hair “for maximum head-banging,” Jim Morrison’s torso and Elvis Presley’s “infamous” hips, among other famous musicians’ body parts. When the sheet finally fell, Braun stood dressed like the amalgamation of musicians he was intended to have been a part of. Great Glass Elevator opened with “The Cinema Vs. The Circus,” in which the audience gleefully sang, “So let’s poison ourselves!” Great Glass Elevator, which formed on Valentines Day two years ago has released two EPs, and is signed to Atlantic Records. Mason and Braun describe their music as “spaceman rock fusion…being born,” showing the off-kilter humor of the band. Braun had great charisma, and acknowledged his audience without depreciating the quality of his rough and edgy stage presence. After playing their closing song, “Drugstore Cowboy,” they were called back for an encore, in which played a new song, “Our Hands Turn Into Machines.” The entire band was extremely talented; and exceedingly amusing. When asked what about music entertains them, the overwhelming response was playing “The notes. Particularly C-Minor. We’re really into C-Minor.” Why should you see Great Glass Elevator? Bassist Andrew Honore, says it best, “We’re like The Who, so we can’t be bad.”

About the Writer

Caitlin McGuire is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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