Live in Anaheim

June 9, 2023 by Jimmy Alvarez
The Interrupters – now that is a band with a story. At a time when ska-punk was still in the shadows after blowing up in the ‘80s and reemerging in the ‘90s, the locals had been waiting for that moment and band that would reignite the light. I can tell you when it happened: August 14th, 2014. That was the album release party for The Interrupters debut album.
It was a Thursday, a school night so I wasn’t sure just how many fans would show up for this new band out of Los Angeles. As I entered the Slidebar in Fullerton (Ska Parade Lounge), I could already tell it was a sold-out show, and seconds into their first song, I knew this band was destined for greatness.
Now in June of 2023, The Interrupters have done it all. They have an undeniable hit catalog, their music has been used on TV and in movies, they have played the biggest stadiums with the biggest names, they have appeared on late night shows, and more importantly, they have made the world of ska-punk cool again. They are simply the purveyors of all that is electrifying and decent about the world of music – and now they have returned to OC where it all started so many years ago.

Being the emerging icons that they are, they personify class. The Interrupters do what all bands should do; they bring great openers with them to share the stage.
It was June 3rd, 2023 at the House of Blues Anaheim and this night was no different, the openers were top notch. Up first was Bedouin Soundclash, and this band was solid from top to bottom. Formed in 2001, this Canadian band has the makings of a legit radio-friendly band. With a ska, punk, reggae vibe and some rock flavor, the band sweats coolness.

Bedouin Soundclash offered a Fontaines, D.C.–like delivery, and lead singer Jay Malinowski was very comfortable behind the mic in front of the sold-out House of Blues crowd.
The band rounds out with bassist Eon Sinclair and Chuck Treece on the skins. They had a great delivery and stage presence that kept the crowd entertained for their set.

Up next was the ska-reggae and borderline Jawaiian sounds of Hepcat. This band is always a favorite with not only their music, but their entertainment value is enormous as they can dance with the best.
Alex Desert was center stage as co-lead Greg Lee was not there for this performance. Nevertheless, there was no shortage of inspiring music and dance coming from Hepcat.

As the DJ was keeping the crowd head bobbing between sets, the anticipation was palpable. The lights dimmed, and out came the real big fish, Billy Kottage, and he took his place behind the keys.
Then the first of the Bivona brothers, Jesse took his seat behind the drum kit, and the crowd immediately exploded by the mere presence of their silhouettes.

It was as if the music Gods had descended upon the House of Blues because it was like the sound of a 747 taking off. The crowd went off as guitarist Kevin Bivona followed by bassist Justin Bivona emerged.
As they launched into “Take Back the Power,” there was what seemed like a seismic shift of the floor at the House of Blues as the crowd went nuts as Aimee Interrupter took her place front and center stage.

As the song ended, Aimee welcomed the Anaheim crowd and asked a simple question: “Are you ready to dance?” The crowd responded as you thought they would, and The Interrupters embarked on their sonic journey of their high-caliber, high-energy hit parade catalog.
“Title Holder” got mad props, and as Kevin pumped up the crowd and explained how we should never let bullies get their way, they adroitly went into “While Noise.”
Yes, the music is out of this world good, but for me it’s the showmanship that separates this band from many in the world of music. What stands out to me, when I see them perform, I see how they pay homage to those that laid the path for them and so many others.

When I see Jesse and Kevin spinning like tops with their hair on fire, Aaron Barrett of Reel Big Fish is not far from my mind. When they are collectively engaged in a delivery, Two-Tone era Specials come to mind, and when the guys fly through the air as they leap with the greatest of ease, you envision the sights and sounds of Tim Armstrong of Rancid. As Aimee engages with the crowd, I think of David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table and the Queen of Ska, Pauline Black of The Selecter is channeled.
I don’t know if The Interrupters plan this, or if it’s just in their DNA to be such a class act, but they bring history and their music to life; trust me, we are all better for it.
The crowd was already hyped, and the House of Blues turned into one gigantic dance floor to “Judge Not,” “On a Turntable,” “Kiss the Ground,” “In The Mirror,” “Raised by Wolves,” “Let ‘em Go,” “Anything Was Better,” and “She Got Arrested.”

Particularly notable, The Interrupters had many SoCal locals show up a few years ago for their video “By My Side.” Ironically, many of the fans that were in that video, were at this show.
It was simply magical energy and the powerful affect their music has on anyone attending their show was evident and it really is something you just have to see in person.

The next round of hits took center stage, “Easy on You,” “Got Each Other,” “Gave You Everything,” “Alien,” and “Hallelujah” almost brought the house down. They followed-up with one of my favorites off their debut album, “A Friend Like Me,” then “The Valley,” “Family,” before they called it a night to “She’s Kerosene.”
The thing about ska, it has come to us in a few waves. The current one forecast was the forth. I am happy to report, the next wave is finally here.

The Interrupters have brought the sights and sounds from all aspects of music and bottled it to electrify their fans. They have evolved from a band in Los Angeles, to a worldwide phenomenon.
This band has become a must see, and I can’t stress enough how you need to do yourself a favor and catch them whenever they play in your neck of the woods.


by Green-Eyed Blonde Photography



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