Live Music Review: Dr. Octagon
On Wednesday, January 14th I attended the (free) Dr. Octagon show in Santa Ana, California. It was at The Observatory, the same place I saw Palms two years ago. I really like this venue. If you live in or are visiting southern California and you have a chance to go, I recommend it. If you can see a free show, even better. (Just make sure you get tickets prior, even if it’s free.)
The line up for the night was very diverse, so I’ll give you my thoughts on each act. The event was sponsored by Burger Records, so I think all the acts were affiliated with or signed to the label.
Avalon is a one woman show. She makes beats in her bedroom (her words) and sings. She was pretty good, but being young, she had the typical high school/college angsty lyrics and attitude. I think if she sticks to it, she can really make something unique in a couple of years. Right now, however, she’s a bit unpolished and shy on stage. I commend her for getting up in front of so many people while so young. I couldn’t have done it. Kudos!
I’ll be completely honest, I totally tuned this band out. It’s not that they were bad musicians or anything, I was just busy chatting with some of the other concert goers and wasn’t really paying attention. Gap Dream is a trippy, proggy band, and I did notice that they used a lot of cyan-colored lights. Maybe I’ll check them out, maybe I won’t. You can’t make me.
No Parents is a pop punk band. The singer was wearing a pair of ridiculous cutoff jean overalls, so they were impossible to take seriously. As the name implies, they were pretty juvenile, but that’s the point. I hear that pop punk is making a comeback, as it does every five years of so. It would take something really special to pull me firmly back into the pop punk camp. I still enjoy (and will still listen to) a few of the bands that I listened to in high school (MxPx, Blink-182, Green Day, Slick Shoes) but I’ve mostly put it behind me. A notable exception is the band Children 18:3. (I included them in my “Best of 2012” post.) They’re a fairly new pop punk band that I really like. Strangely enough, I saw them when they were on tour with a bunch of metalcore acts. They didn’t fit, but the music was first rate, and totally not cheesy. No Parents was fun live but I doubt I’ll be picking up their album any time soon. (Sorry guys.)
I was out of college when I finally was able to get into hip hop music. When I was younger, I was into punk rock and grunge. I thought rap and hip hop were all about “bitches and cash money.” While there is a lot of that in mainstream hip hop, I didn’t know there was a whole other side to it. Call it youthful ignorance, especially since I was already listening to the Beastie Boys at that time. I should have known better. (I’ll get to the show, bear with me. I’m just taking the long way around.)
When I was in art school, a friend of mine turned me on to the more political and underground rappers and hip hop groups like Outkast, Mos Def, The Roots, and KRS-One. Even then, I wasn’t totally on board, but at least I could appreciate that the artists weren’t just making generic pop trash. However, the real turning point for me was 2005’s General Patton vs. The X-ecutioners record (for which I’ve included an Amazon link so you can buy it). This was a collaboration between Mike Patton and the Bay area’s scratch masters, The X-Ecutioners. (I’ve written many times about how big a Mike Patton fanboy I am. Happy birthday, Mike! Please love me, haha.) I wasn’t really excited about this disc as I wasn’t into hip hop. However, I was (and still am) trying to collect all of Patton’s stuff so I had to pick it up. Boy, am I glad I did. This disc really opened up my mind to what could be done with scratches and samples.
So where does Dr. Octagon (Kool Keith) fit in to my rambling? Well, ten years ago I would not have attended this show. I had seen Method Man & Red Man at RutgersFest back in 2002/3 and hated it. I just wasn’t into live hip hop. After this concert… well, I’m still not. I can appreciate the music on an album, but there’s something lost in translation for me during a live hip hop concert. I need some instrumentation! (I guess I need to go see The Roots.)
I’m not saying Dr. Octagon was good or bad, I’m just saying it wasn’t my thing. I enjoyed the overall concert experience, and Kool Keith seemed to pump up the crowd. I just didn’t get it. I had a great time though, hanging out with my friends and making some new ones. And a free show? C’mon. I have zero complaints.
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