August 20, 2021 Concert Review by Jose Johnny Corona
Friday was a scorcher, and not just because of the triple-digit temperature, it was the start of the Ska solstice. The sold out Summer Sizzler was held at Garden Grove Amphitheater, and it marked the true beginning of summer featuring the headline band, Bite Me Bambi.
Audience members came ready for all the festivities, including a Jason Voorhees look-a-like costume contest because, you know, it was the only Friday the 13th of the year. BMB Keyboardist, Mike Berault began the event by calling all Jason-masked wearing fans down to the stage to participate in the contest where the winner would be decided by the crowd. The title for best dressed Jason went to a young Bite Me Bambi fan.
Yes, this was an uber-cool event. But, it also brought out a great cause. Throughout the show members of Punk Rock Saves Lives were there and they were taking names. It’s a great organization and very reflective of the OC ska community.
The show kicked off with San Diego City Soul Club, selectors for the evening, kept everyone grooving in-between sets, and special guest host Misty Violet’s comedic stylings were well received by all. The biggest attraction by far was the energetic and captivating performances from each of the bands which featured The Ruffolos. These cats come from Pico Rivera (Marrano Beach Records) and they did not disappoint.
Then ska royalty took the stage. Scott Klopfenstein (The Littlest Man Band), formerly of Reel Big Fish always commands a stage. This performance was no different. The crowd loved his energy, entertaining character coupled with great music made the evening special.
There was the Scholars (‘90s OC ska) who also were very-very entertaining. All these greats acts pumped up the crowd before the featured attraction… OC’s own, Bite Me Bambi. OH, and let’s not forget, it was also their record release show.
As soon as Bite Me Bambi hit the stage, the crowd went cartoon-crazy! They screamed and danced as if it was 1999!
NO PLACE LIKE HOME
“Ska has always been part of the fabric of Orange County. It’s been a minute since a band has captured the hearts and souls of the locals. Bite Me Bambi has done just that while providing other bands a stage that they can feel at home. Shows like this reminds us why OC is the epicenter of all things cool.”
JIMMY ALVAREZ | TNN RADIO
The night was appropriately titled as it definitely had a sizzle with plenty of confetti flying in the air. With the potential of social activities being restricted once again, everyone in attendance was able to get their greatest experience, singing their hearts out.
Lead singer Tahlena Chikami made sure every participating member in the audience got their money’s worth. The interaction between concertgoers and the entire band reflected a byproduct and connection of what ska is all about.
For the fans that have seen a ska show or two, the Summer Sizzler was a throwback to the golden age of ska. That’s right, ska’s third wave met the forth wave at the Garden Amp.
The show was very reminiscent of an old-school show at the famed Huntington Beach Golden Bear or Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach. If you get those references, then you know just how epic this show was.
For many, this will be the only music event they are able to attend due to the potential restriction on social events and gatherings looming in the near future for Southern California. Although with the thought of this in the back of everyone’s head, the skanking and partying was not lacking.
During an interview with Mike Berault, we got to hear his take on the event and what it means for ska in the OC music scene. “As long as we keep doing shows like this, a scene will keep thriving, it will keep moving and growing,.
Berault continued “I think we are riding a good wave right now and we want to do what we can to stoke it and keep it growing.”
Bite Me Bambi gave concertgoers what they came for. They opened with “Like That,” then went into their Offspring cover “Want You Bad,” and then followed up with more of their hits, like “Sizzler on a Sunday,” “Crazy”, Blur cover “Song 2,” their latest Go Go’s cover “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “I Don’t Wanna Be,” then their Madness cover of “One Step Beyond,” with a few more song sprinkled in; they closed with crowd favorite “Hot Lava!”
For ska fans, there’s even more good news. Bite Me Bambi has several projects in the works, you can keep up to date with them on Twitch every week.
You can catch their next live gig at the Brew Ha Ha on September 11th. Then, they’ll be heading out to Chicago on November 13th to play the 4th Annual Slackfest with The Slackers!
LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT KLOPFENSTEIN