Thomas Wolfe once said, “You can’t come home again.” In all fairness to Thomas, he may be a great writer and all, but he don’t know Lit!
Coming home again at the House of Anaheim were OC’s favorite alt rock sons. Like everyone else, their lyrics are full of admissions of mistakes, chances, and looking silly, but they keep on going and inspiring. The core trio formed the band back in 1988, but didn’t explode until ’99 with their album “A Place in the Sun,” which featured their uber-hit, “My Own Worst Enemy!”
Since then, this band has done it all, and in the aftermath of COVID lockdowns, the guys came home to a near-capacity house. The band features the core of Ajay Popoff (lead vocals), Jeremy Popoff (guitar), and Kevin Baldes (bass). Adding to the current incarnation of the band is drummer Taylor Carroll.
Before we get to their homecoming, I have to paint the picture. It was a warm night in Anaheim, and by the time doors were opened at 7, there was a line of fans out the door, ready to come in and celebrate. The concertgoers’ ages ranges covered all generations X, Y & Z, and whoever else I am missing. Fans were landing from everywhere; I ran into a fan that drove out from Phoenix for this show. Being a self-proclaimed Lit and Adrian Young fan, she couldn’t wait to get inside.
Once we all got in, the entire concert hall was buzzing in anticipation of the return of Lit to the OC, the place where it all started for them. Now, with new music at the ready, fans were beyond stoked to see and hear them.
To their credit, their seventh studio album, “Tastes Like Gold,” is magic. I spoke with Kevin Baldes just after “Yeah Yeah Yeah” was released for radio play, and he was very excited about it. He said he liked this song, but there are others that were just as good, and he was very pleased on the entirety of the album. He said, “Wait till you hear the covers; so good!”
In addition to the cool tunes, the new album includes a few cameos, such as Adrian Young of No Doubt fame. He sat in on drums for “Mouth Shut.” Then, Josh Freese sat in for the Cars cover, “Let’s Go.” There are a few other surprises, but that in itself is amazing.
I also had a chance to catch up with old friend Ajay Popoff a few weeks ago, and asked about the band and the new tunes. Ajay said the energy is special; the sonic vision took them back to 1999 and “A Place in the Sun.” This album is that good he said. As for the band, they are all feeling great. He and Jeremy are back in Tennessee, working and rubbing elbows with some heavy hitters in Nashville, while Kevin is doing it here in the OC.
For this show, the fans had time to roll in as there were three openers. Leading off was Blame My Youth, they were the right band to open the show as they entertained the crowd. Next up was Nights Like Thieves, and they were tight and very personable on stage, which animated the crowd.
Last up before the main event was YouTuber, Chad Tepper. He did well, but by this time, the crowd was ready for the headliners.
Once the lights dimmed, the crowd lost its mind. The roar was almost deafening, like a plane coming in for a landing at John Wayne. Lit did not disappoint as they came out hard to new song “Kicked Off the Plane.” The crowd ate it up as they segued into “Four,” before Ajay took a breath to say hello, and back at it they went with “Down” and “Over My Head.”
Ajay was his typical, animated self, but this being their first show back in their old stomping grounds in a minute, he seemed a little more animated than normal. He acknowledged to the crowd that Anaheim was where Lit first started and it would always be home, and the crowd went cartoon-crazy for Ajay and the guys.
Lit was on fire; they were loud and ruckus, and they sounded great. Jeremy was shredding it on guitar, Kevin slapped his bass, and Taylor didn’t miss a beat. Now Ajay, that cat was on fire, with his Adonis locks, his voice was piercing and as strong as ever, and it seemed to give the new songs a dynamic not heard on the album. It brought the songs we grew up with to a new and fresh sonic experience.
The show consisted of new songs off “Tastes Like Gold,” and classics from the soundtrack of our life. We heard tunes like “Quicksand,” “You Tonight,” and “Happy in the Meantime.” The moments that made the night special include the previously mentioned cover of “Let’s Go,” and Lit’s own “Miserable.” Before they called it a night, the crowd went bonkers over their Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover of “American Girl.” That song sounded so good; it was a surreal moment on how the band melted into the crowd, and it was such a cool moment.
Then, Lit brought the house down with their anthem for the unwanted and everyone in between, “My Own Worst Enemy.” There wasn’t a person in the house that wasn’t singing along to every word; it was electrifying! All in all, it was an amazing night for music, and Lit proved you can do everything they’ve done and live to tell about it, and more importantly, have the time of your life with a concert hall full of friends!
Typically this is where a review ends. Since this is Lit, we had to catch up with super fan, Dominae Cole. “Lit is definitely as innovative and polished as ever. The new material has the essence of the early stuff with the rawness of post-COVID America smashed into it. They are clearly still Lit!”
And YES, Dominae caught up with Adrian Young at the House of Blues. It was a very good night for music in the OC!