The OC summer concerts season is now in full effect. We’ve already gone Back to the Beach with Blink 182’s, Travis Barker and Goldfinger’s, John Feldman. Scott Tucker and Vanessa Turbay of Sellout Productions pressed the button and sent us back in time to the Like Totally 80’s Festival. The entertainment is just getting started. There are lots of great shows lining up at local venues, so there’s that. This summer, local concert promoters, Pocket Entertainment, are sending us back to the future with their latest concert series at Garden Amphitheater in Garden Grove.
Who exactly is behind Pocket Entertainment? They’re a locals that started up by plugging in. It’s really hard to become a concert promoter; many have tried and many haven’t succeeded, especially in Orange County. We love our music, we celebrate great music, and we can just as equally be the harshest critics. Therein lies the question. Why would a relatively newcomer dive into the shark-infested waters of concert promotions in such a storied market? The answer is easy, certain people just love music, and they love playing music for people.
Pocket Entertainment was established after the inaugural Skacademy Awards in February 2016. The primary leads are Cameron Hallenbeck and Whitney Dunkle, and over the years, they’ve put on some very nice shows. Now, they’ve set their sights on bigger entertainment, music for the masses so-to-speak. Some say their success is luck, but anyone who works in this industry knows there’s no way that’s true. Luckily for the local ska community, Hallenbeck and Dunkle have proven to be fearless. Bottom line for the OC ska scene, they’ve needed a place or a Promoter that’s helped keep the music flowing. For years, Tazy Phlillipz of Ska Parade has done that. The cats at TNN RADIO have helped get the word out on all the local ska shows… and now, they have a little help. Now that summer is here, Pocket Entertainment is teaming up with L.A.-based, ska-core legends, Matamoska, to put on some great kick-ass shows.
There are a few great shows coming to Garden Amp, this is one of OC’s newest and coolest venues. The shows to look out for include the July 14th return of Skamic-Con, that show features Bite Me Bambi, Skapeche Modem, Stupid Flanders and Unicorn Injection just to name a few. Then on July 28nd, it’s the Rude and Irie Festival, which features Greg Lee of Hepcat, The Debonaires, The Steady 45s, Jackie Mendez, The Revivers, The Capsouls, Scarlett and the Fever, Blanco y Negro, and Dub 8. On Aug 19th, it’s the Wet Hot Skamerican Summer with Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Safety Orange, Skank Bank, Chencha, Matamoska, Spankshaft, and The B Sharps. That all being said, the show everyone is talking about is STARPOOL’s 15th Anniversary spectacular this Saturday, June 9.
The venue, the newest spot for live music in OC, has two stages, the main stage and the stage called The Locker Room. There’s lots of room to move around, and a-la Warped Tour, for this show… kids 13 and under get in free. There’s free parking around the venue; and there are “in and out” privileges. There’s also going to be food trucks and vendors throughout the grounds.
As for Starpool, these guys have been doing their thing for the better part of 15 years now. The band is comprised of the original founding members of Save Ferris and the original co-lead of No Doubt (Alan Meade). Not only are they premier entertainers, they pump out one of the most heart-pounding sounds in the industry. They are as close as any genre gets to the showmanship and sonic vision of Earth, Wind & Fire in their heyday. What’s endearing to the locals is not how good they are, it’s what they do for the genre and for local bands. You constantly see band members supporting other up-and-coming bands, and they support the scene by constantly adding local bands to their shows in order to give them a platform to be seen. Lots of people can take advantage of their history and name, but bands with character support other bands, and that’s the main reason Starpool commands the respect of the locals, they are the class of the genre.
Bands you’ll see on the main stage include CodeName: Rocky, Half Past Two, Matamoska and Be Like Max. On the second (The Locker Room), you’ll be able to see Hooray For Our Side, Mafia Rusa, Major League Skankers, Skaberry Jam and the Meddlers. As for Pocket Entertainment, the locals couldn’t be happier there’s another promoter to keep OC ska on the map. Though there are lots of things to do this summer; hopefully, this will help you pick your summer musical indulgence.