May the 4th be With You LIVE

May 9, 2023 Review by Rachael Contreras
On Thursday, May 4th – also known as “May the 4th be with you” for you Star Wars fans – people gathered in droves to see the eclectic collection of popular bands at House of Blues in Anaheim.

Lubing up the crowds’ ears for a full night of music, Matamoska from East Los Angeles played the beginning of what sounded like Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia” straight into one of their own songs.
Front-man Jose Padilla asked the fans to participate in a trust exercise and proceeded to get the crowd to raise one hand, then the other, and then begin to clap above their heads. It appeared that 99% happily obliged, but the other 1% had a drink or their phone in their hand.

Up next was Whittier’s own Plague Vendor, who opened their set with “…New Comedown” off their 2019 release, “By Night.” Front-man Brandon Blaine said they were “juiced up for tonight’s show” and danced around the stage like he had liquid legs.
He wiggled, he shimmied, he got on all fours and thrusted the ground; this was not your mother’s Elvis-hip thrusting performance.

During “Nothing’s Wrong,” Blaine jumped into the crowd and sang from the center of the quickly moving circle pit before tossing the microphone back at the stage and being pushed around by moshers.
Once onstage again, “Black Sap Scriptures” began and the yellow-haired singer took the bottom of his shirt and pulled it over his face, leaving it while performing, and then twisting the mic cord around his head to create some sort of twisted art piece you’d see in the horror movie “Hellraiser.” The crowd was into it as they cheered him along. Once the song was done, Blaine unwrapped his face and removed the now stretched-out shirt and proceeded with the show.

During their last song, “Locomotive,” Blaine once again jumped into the crowd, this time to crowd surf above the heads of the first 20 feet of the audience while toggling between singing and leaning back with his hands behind his head. The stage performance of this band was a sight to be seen!
Next to grace the stage was none other than The Aquabats, but in a different style. They didn’t don their usual garb of rash guards and silver skull caps. On this night they were performing as their tribute to The Cure, which meant they were in full Robert Smith lookalike attire. Big black wigs, lots of face makeup – including painted on black masks with a red lip color – and they all wore their popular Aquabats two-piece jammies under a black cloak of some sort.
Behind them on the big screen played random black and white images that pieced their emo look together nicely.

Starting off with “A Forest” and leading straight in to “In Between Days,” there was little talk throughout the entire set by front-man Christian Jacobs. At one point he told the crowd, “We watched ‘Harry Potter’ today to work on our English accents” (said in a proper accent), and the crowd cheered.
Jacobs also made a joke about how they are reinventing their career off the back of someone else’s career, which made the band giggle.

During “Love Cats,” two people in full cat costumes came out and played in the horn section. After the song was over, one of the members jokingly said they were called “The Aquacats.”
Then giant beach balls bounced around the tops of the crowd’s heads for “Just Like Heaven,” which was their last song. It really seemed as if we were watching The Cure live; the band did such an amazing job at catching every note and Jacobs had every voice inflection that it sounded as if we were listening to the actual albums.

Once they were done, the curtain closed and there was a brief intermission for the fans to get ready for the grand finale. When the curtains opened again, Star Wars-themed piñatas were dangling from the rafters and the stage was adorned with matching decorations.

Now gracing the stage was Manic Hispanic, dressed in full Star Wars garb. Co-front-man, Efrem Schulz was in a Princess Leia costume complete with “cinnamon bun” hair clips attached to the sides of his hat, white dress and boots, and the signature white and silver belt.
Louie Perez III was in dark pants, a “FB County Charlie Brown” shirt, and a Chewbacca-style bandolier across his chest like a bona fide Han Cholo when he yelled, “Let’s get pinche wasted” to which the crowd cheered and the band started “Wasted.” This led straight into “I Want Some Chon Chon” and “National City” without skipping a beat.

Later in their set, Manic played “The Boys a Pisa,” which got the band and the crowd dancing and skanking like never before. It even got Perez to bust out his harmonica and show off some skills, proving he is quite the mouth organist.
Perez later tossed out one of the Star Wars piñatas to the crowd, saying it was an offering to La Llorona and it was filled with cigarettes and soup. During “A Message to You Chunti,” a couple next to me took advantage of some space and started doing the box step to the tune.

The non-stop excitement of the night had to wind down eventually and the band’s final song was “Mexican Girl.” They sang their hearts out, engaged with the crowd, and put smiles on the faces of every patron in the audience. After the show, guitarist Elvis Cortez handed out some of the Star Wars decorations on the stage to those in front, and drummer Ruben Rivera handed out his drum sticks. With your ticket purchase, you were automatically entered into a drawing for a beautiful customized Manic Hispanic guitar. A nice lady named Mae ended up being the lucky winner of this musical instrument.
The night was filled with diverse sounds and fans, but we all came together for a remarkable night of music and walked away feeling fully satisfied.


by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography



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