After nine weeks of (at times) tedious showcases, the 2012 OC Music Awards is coming to a close. The winner for Best Live Act was announced last night at the Samueli Theater with top marks going to…Railroad to Alaska. As expected, they delivered an eviscerating set of metal songs with laser-focused intensity. Music Editor Lille Bose remarked that their lack of stage theatrics in no way diminished the intensity of the performance. It was a well-deserved win.
Though all bands played well, two others could easily have grabbed the top spot. Robert Jon and the Wreck played a tambourine-shattering set of groove-infused rock songs. (It was so badass one member played the keyboards…with his face.–Ed.) They were joined on stage at various times by two guests: vegetarian chicken slanger Nicole Vaughn and Jeremiah Red frontman Wes Dickson.
Midnight Hour also turned in a powerhouse performance. Though their alternative hard rock sound crossed into well-tread territory, it was infused with cool New Wave and electronic influences thanks to singer Brad Lodge's work with the synth.
Ska revival band the Slime Kings impressed audiences at an earlier showcase in the smaller-sized Tiki Bar. Last night they played admirably, but failed to fill the larger room with their presence. This may have been due in part to sound issues they were experiencing–one of the stage monitors produced annoying feedback for most of the set. At one point, between songs, singer Eric “Bad Brain” asked where it was coming from, then sang the four-letter word into the mic: “Sabotage.”
Good job to everyone who competed this year, even the folks I trashed. It takes balls to stand up and be judged. Keep going.
Overheard: Judge Tazy Phillips talking about the fact that the win could have gone to any one of three bands. “It really comes down to a coin toss,” he said.