The Best OC Metal/Punk Shows in May

Corey Taylor (courtesy of the artist)

With the summer season just around the corner, Southern California residents are always spoiled with the best selection of concerts and live shows to attend, from all genres of music. This month, however, seems to bring a heavy dose of punk and metal, as the region will be saturated with everything from death metal and guitar virtuosos, to hardcore anarchist street punk.

May 3: Dying Fetus and Whitechapel  at House of Blues Anaheim,

No better way to start the month then diving head first into a raging, death metal slam pit. Dying Fetus has been active on the international underground extreme metal scene for a quarter of a century, and bring a sense of groove to an otherwise ultra-violent and technical subgenre of metal. Don’t get things twisted, the band’s existence is dedicated to ultra brutal, guttural and insanely fast death metal. This is the shit people snap necks and burst ear drums to. With a new album out entitled, Wrong One to Fuck With, would you expect anything less ? This is definitely live music that is not for the faint of heart. As if that weren’t enough, they’ll be sharing the stage with the metalcore band Whitechapel. The House of Blues Anaheim should be prepared for a loud, intense night of sheer and relentless brutality.

May 4: Crazytown, BIAS and more and Malone’s 

Malone’s in Santa Ana will be home to this mini-fest, featuring headliners Crazy Town, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the album, The Gift of Game, that featured the smash hit single the band is still known for “Butterfly.” In 2019, Crazytown is led by original vocalist Seth “Shifty” Binzer and a recently recruited group of new musicians under the moniker Crazy Town. The group saw success and fame 20 years ago and got to open for bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, as well as the 2001 Ozzfest. Nu Metal nostalgia aside, local hard rock band BIAS, featuring drummer David Silveria (formerly of Korn) will also get a chance to perform their groovy, melodic but heavy music. Local openers include Fate Destroyed, Seconds to Centuries, 12 Gauge Embrace, and many more.

May 5: Yngwie Malmsteen at House of Blues Anaheim
Known to guitar players, aficionados and geeks worldwide, Yngwie Malmsteen has been a world-renowned heavy metal/hard rock and neoclassical guitarist, for four decades. The Swedish guitar virtuoso has a global cult-like following and is said to have been influenced by Jimi Hendrix at a very young age. Malmsteen’s style and character, mannerisms and on-stage persona have given him a reputation among fans and musicians alike with many either loving or hating him. But his technical skill and talent behind a guitar cannot be denied, his influence continues to newer generations of guitar players. This explosive live performance in Anaheim is not to be missed if you are a fan of Malmsteen.

May 17: Metalachi  House of Blues Anaheim

Another show at the House of Blues Anaheim, this time, the venue will be taken over by a Mexican Mariachi band. But, not just any Mariachi band. This one drinks on stage, swear, wear leather pants, headbang, and play creative loud cover songs (including traditional horns) of bands like Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses, Judas Priest, Metallica, Kiss, Rush, Bon Jovi and more. Just imagine a traditional Mexican Mariachi band, but instead of elder, sophisticated men with grey beards, the band was a group of longhaired, metalheads who love to party. I would expect nothing less. San Diego area band Spice Pistols also perform, and will blow people’s minds with the blend of Sex Pistols ’70s punk, and Spice Girls ’90s pop. The best part is, the band is made of middle-aged male punks in drag.

May 19: Corey Taylor at Garden Amp
As fans of Slipknot wait for the band’s new album and subsequent tour, the various band members are keeping busy. Mainly, Corey Taylor, who brought back his solo tour by popular demand. This stop in at Garden Amp in Garden Grove will surely include Taylor performing hits from bands like Van Halen, and Guns N Roses, you never know what else you might hear, be it Ramones, Judas Priest or…who knows? Also, expect there to be special guest musicians. Opening the show will be the all-girl dance group The Cherry Bombs. Though this might be as heavy as a Slipknot concert, it will still be a night full of loud rock music.

May 22-23: The Damned at Alex’s Bar
Legendary UK punk/goth pioneers The Damned heads to Long Beach for two special, consecutive nights at Alex’s Bar, where the band will perform the landmark 1979 album Machine Gun Etiquette in its entirety, along with a special set of other hits. For an intimate venue like this, those lucky fans in Long Beach will surely get to witness a show for the books. Expect the place to be beyond packed to capacity, as both nights are sold out. Opening both nights is former Dead Kennedys frontman, Jello Biafra’s Incredible Strange Dance Party.

May 24: Conflict at The Observatory
This legendary UK anarcho-punk band has been raging against the system for now almost four decades. With literally no commercial help, the band has instead stayed true to its underground DIY roots for its entire career, focusing its hardcore punk sound on issues such as animal rights, pacifism, the working class, and racism, among other social issues. The band, which as influenced generations of punk, metal and crust bands, brings its signature sound and message of opposition to authority to Santa Ana, with Corrupted Youth, Linecutters and Generacion Suicida.

May 26: Exploited and DI at The Observatory
UK Punks The Exploited have been an iconic force in anarcho-punk since the early 80s, and their harsh, violent sound and doom-laden contemporary lyrics are responsible for the early thrash metal sound, and influencing bands like Slayer, Sepultura, Metallica and others to start playing a faster, more intense version of the songs sung by frontman Wattie Buchan. Though Buchan is in his middle-aged and has had numerous health problem setbacks over the years, it hasn’t stopped the music from Exploited from going on, and this live show will bring fans the classic hardcore punk that still sounds as urgent today, as it did in the 1980s. Opening the show are local punk legends D.I., featuring a one-time original member of Adolescents and Social Distortion, Casey Royer, as well as Pomona street punk purveyors, and local legends in their own right, Total Chaos. This will be a night full of mosh pits and mohawks.

Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy,  radio, food, tattoos,  the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.

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