It was a rainy night in Orange County, but it did not stop clothing company Imperium Rags from bringing free merchandise and a free show with some fantastic SoCal artists to The Observatory.
Opening the night was the punk band Sidekick. They played a quick, 15-minute set, but not before treating us to a nice rendition of Diesel Boy’s hit “Titty Twister” before going into a song of their own. They were a last minute fill in and guitarist Brent Waterworth had less than one practice before the show, but the band pulled it off nicely and kept everyone – both onstage and in the crowd – in smiles.
Next up was Riverside’s favorite ska-core band, Voodoo Glow Skulls. Starting with “Human Pinata,” the band was energized. “Generation Genocide” got the fans amped up enough to start a circle pit, which didn’t seem to stop the entire night.
During “Shoot the Moon,” Voodoo front-man Efrem Schulz climbed the tall monitors and sang to the crowd on stage right while bassist Jorge Cassillas and guitarist Eddie Cassillas sang back up. Finishing up their set was their popular song “Voodoo Anthem” where the Voodoo man makes an appearance, holding a sign with “Who do Voodoo” on one side and “Fuck You” on the other to encourage the crowd to sing along, which everyone did.
After a quick equipment change, Guttermouth took the stage. Funny front-man Mark Adkins told the room that a few of them were inebriated, so there was no telling how their set would go and then said, “We are called Guttermouth. If you don’t like it, you can go fuck yourself,” and jumped right into their set.
Wondering the stage like a skate-punk Captain Jack Sparrow in a hoodie, Adkins moved around his allotted area, equally singing to the crowd as much as to his band mates. Since Guttermouth has been an Orange County punk staple for so many decades, fans were happy to see them in their own backyard and hear the songs they have loved for so many years. Of course, during “1, 2, 3, Slam,” the crowd went from circle pitting to slam dancing and drinks went flying through the air.
The fans tried to tell Adkins that it was difficult to hear him at times, but he quickly replied with a smile, “You can’t hear me because I’m a shitty singer. What, am I supposed to get better? I’ve been in this band 35 years,” to which the crowd erupted in laughter and hollers. After their last song, Adkins told the crowd, “I’m an old man but I still do this. Thanks for being here” and the crowd cheered while the band left the stage.
The wait for Face to Face seemed a bit longer than for the other bands, but it was worth it. To see this successful SoCal punk band in such an intimate setting was quite the treat. Once the band took the stage in front of their giant banner, the crowd went crazy and the band started with “No Way Out But Through.” Playing songs like “A-Okay” and “Bent But Not Broken” shook the crowd into a circle pit/sing-along frenzy.
With a smile, front-man Trevor Keith told the crowd that Imperium Rags left the band a nice gift basket in their dressing room that included a bottle of red wine that drummer Danny Thompson drank the majority of. We are 90% sure he was joking but it made for a funny background story.
“You Lied” had Thompson doing some great drum stick flips as he caught them going into the next strike on his kit, and “I Won’t Lie Down” got guitarist Matt Riddle jumping off monitors on to the stage.
The band was relaxed and appeared to be having a very good time. Having just played in front of thousands of people at Punk in the Park three days prior for both Voodoo Glow Skulls and Face to Face, the change in crowd size and venue proved to be a delight for both the bands and fans alike.