Local Band Roah Summit Play First Show In Costa Mesa

Roah Summit

Roah Summit play the Shop Sept 19

Roah Summit is a local band from Costa Mesa formed from a group of friends who shared a passion for music. Catch the group for their first performance at The Shop in Costa Mesa on Fri, Sept. 19.

After a year in the studio producing their first EP Deep Bloom they are ready to take on the Orange County Music scene. OC Concert Guide caught up with the guys from the band to get to some inside on the band.

OCCG: Tell me a little bit about the band and how you met?
RS: Roah Summit is the product of a couple of friends collaborating. Jake had written music with Drew in the past, and had also been the art director for Kevin’s films, so the idea of starting a band made sense as a creative endeavor. After that, everybody else just naturally fell into place. The whole band formed very seamlessly.

OCCG: You are having your record release party this Friday, what are you most excited for?
RS: We’re mostly just excited about having our content out. It’s been such a long process. It will be rewarding to have a finished product and to let people experience the music live.

OCCG: Is there anything you guys do before the show to prep for it?
RS: For this particular show, there has been an enormous amount of preparation; mainly because we want our first show to set the bar for who we are as a band.

OCCG: What was the recording process like for Deep Bloom?
RS: Very long! We’ve spent over a year establishing our musical identity and adjusting the material. One song in particular we decided to re-record completely… Fortunately, we had a lot of talent alongside us the entire way. The great musicians and producers that worked with us on the record made the process a cathartic and rewarding experience.

OCCG: Being a local OC band how do you feel about the current music scene out here?
RS: It’s pretty great. A wealth of interesting and creative music has come out of the Orange County area, and we’re friends with some incredibly talented artists around here. We’re definitely proud to be a part of it all.

OCCG: What’s your favorite local spot to catch a good show?
RS: There are some radical venues around town, especially in the Costa Mesa area. For a well-produced concert close to home, there is The Observatory/Constellation Room. But for more intimate spaces with a cool atmosphere, Wayfarer and Casa are favorites.

OCCG: How often does the band get together to practice or write?
RS: We get together formally a few times a week. But half of us live together, so we’re always hanging out.

OCCG: Now that you are releasing your newest record, what’s next for you guys?
RS: You can expect to see Roah Summit playing live across Southern California throughout the fall. On top of that, we’re shooting a music video for “Secrets” in January, and have already started writing and getting ready for the full length that is coming out summer 2015.

Annie McQueen Glams Up Country At Bluff Park

Annie McQueen

Annie McQueen plays Dana Point’s Music In The Park series at Bluff Park Aug. 21

Annie McQueen is a local OC country girl with a spunky sense of fashion and an angelic voice to go with it. You can catch McQueen’s country act with Summer Watson on Thurs, Aug. 21 at Bluff Park in Dana Point from 6 to 8 p.m.

No stranger to the local music scene Annie plays shows all over Orange County with fellow local musicians. McQueen’s participation in the Orange County Music awards and KROQ concert series proves her love and dedication to her local music.

McQueen’s back up band has a country feel like no other, that blends so well with her soft angelic voice that gives McQueen her distinct sound. McQueen is a showstopper to say the least. McQueen has the whole package with a great sense of style and awe to go with her vibrant upbeat shows.

OC Concert Guide caught up with Annie to see how she got started and her musical connections to other local OC artist.

OCCG: When did you decide music was your calling?
AM: I’ve done some type of musical activity for as long as I can remember. I started in musical theatre when I was around 5 then eventually realized later how much I hated acting. I was completely annoyed by it. I started writing songs and learned to play drums and formed a chick band in high school with some friends. I played drums and sang lead and did that for about 5 years. After some time away from music I bought an Autoharp and began writing again. I met Jonathan O’Brien through a friend by chance one day and ended up sending him some songs and started recording with him shortly after that.

OCCG: You have a beautiful voice, that is a bit different for Country but you manage to make it sound great. How do you think your music stands out from your typical Country band?
AM: I think while my passion has kinda always been country music, I work with a lot of people that come from a more Americana/Indie background, so I am a product of that combination of styles. Vocally, I tend to go back and forth from wanting to scream my head off or making people cry. I love the power and the softness. I could never pick one.

OCCG: What is one song that you have written that has been most meaningful to you and what was it about?
AM: I tend to go back and forth depending on the mood I’m in at the time and what I really feel excited to sing, but “Burned” and “Take Me Home” probably mean the most to me. Two completely different style songs that deal with the same issue of self-destructiveness and making the same mistakes over and over. Like, the “what the hell am I doing and what is wrong with me” moments of my life. Those songs are almost embarrassingly honest, but definitely my favorite.

OCCG: As a musician, how do you build your fan base?
AM: At this point when you’re not really sure if you have fans or not, I think it’s just important to genuinely connect with anyone who even listens to you. More like buds than fans. I’ll get emails from a girl I don’t know who find some kind of comfort in one of my songs and that just kills me. That’s the whole point and I’m just so grateful whenever that connection is made.

OCCG: You have an amazing backing band, how did you meet them?
AM: I’ve had nothing but amazing backing bands over the last few years. Literally the best of the best I’m very very lucky. My current band is kinda a combination of two of my personal favorite local bands. I started playing with Steve Maggiora, Nicky Phakpiseth and Andrew Espantman from Robert Jon & The Wreck when they played for me last year at SXSW in Austin, TX. It was so last minute we never even rehearsed and they just nailed it. They are the most incredible musicians I thank my lucky stars daily for them. I met Ian Cullen from Jeramiah Red shortly after and we became really fast friends and eventually started writing together. We wrote my last EP “This Is What I Wore Last Night” together and I just made him start playing with us. I love my super band so much.

OCCG: What is your favorite place to play in the local area?
AM: House of Blues and Constellation Room @ The Observatory. Great sound and dressing rooms. I like to glam it up and it’s really hard when I have to do it in the bathroom of the bar I’m playing in. But man, I do miss Detroit Bar.

OCCG: Who has been your biggest influence in your musical career?
AM: I’ve been mostly inspired by babes with a voice that just cuts right through you; Dolly, Alison Krauss, Janis, Stevie. I grew up wanting to be in the Dixie Chicks so bad. Natalie Maines is my spirit animal. However now I feel like I’m way more influenced by the people around me, people I meet or write with. My band is so great I just wanna be better for them. I see my friends in other bands killing it and I wanna work harder. There is so much talent around here that you have to take advantage of the drive it gives you.

OCCG: What inspires you to write the most?
AM: Everyone has their own style or method, but I write best in the heat of the moment. Usually moments involving me being real pissed off or over everything. I just can’t write when I’m happy. I’ve tried, it’s awkward. The songs I’m working on right now are kinda brutal I almost feel bad for the people they are about.

OCCG: What’s next for Annie McQueen?
AM: Right now I just wanna focus on writing really good songs, collaborating with new people and playing shows I’ve never played before. It’s been a pretty low key summer so I’m really excited to record with Jon in the fall, throw on some fur and get back at it.

Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide Hits The OC Fairgrounds

Daniel Bonte

Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide play the Hanger Stage at the OC Fair July 12

Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide is a local OC country band from Costa Mesa, made up of six members who have the heart and rhythm for country and remain loyal to its roots. Get your best boots ready for the group to take over the Hanger stage at the OC Fairgrounds 11:30 a.m. this Sat, July 12.

The Bona Fide are emerging from the local country music scene, working hard to bring original Country back to California. Their newest project, California Country Nights proves to be successful taking place at Big’s Bar and Grill in Fullerton every Friday night.

Daniel Bonte and The Bona Fide have just what it takes to satisfy your country needs. With Daniel’s raspy smooth voice, Steven’s subtle baritone guitar, Billy’s guitar hooks, and Chris’s slide guitar riffs placed just right in the mix, Jeff’s drumming and Mark’s bass playing falls right into place keeping this country bands sound loose yet fulfilling.

OC Concert Guide got to talk to Daniel Bonte to see what he’s doing to help bring country back into Orange County.

OCCG: You are having a residency at BIGS in Fullerton, who are some bands that will be playing with you?
DB: We’re essentially having a long term, good ol’ fashioned barn raisin’ to build a stronger platform for California Country music. In order to do that we’ve teamed up with Ry Bradley, Alice Wallace, Bo Renaud Band, Lazy Brad Lewis, The Freight Shakers, and a bunch of other local rednecks to put on a killer concert series. BIGS is going to be the cozy home for original, quality country music.

OCCG: What is your opinion on mainstream country music?
DB: The title of my EP comes to mind when I listen to mainstream country, Enough! I think it’s lost its true identity. I’m disappointed in the songwriters mostly for wondering too far down the path of pop music, and not staying true to the foundation of country music, which is telling stories and tradition. I understand the artists have to make money, but there are only so many scenarios you can shove down people’s throats about dirt roads, Dixie cups, tan legs, and trucks. Bottom line, I expect more than what we’re getting.

OCCG: What are some local country bands we should be looking out for?
DB: We’re making great friends with lots hell raisers like The Outriders, Just Dave Band, Annie McQueen, and all the bands featured in our California Country nights. Just like the reggae, indie, punk and metal genres all have their scene, we have our own community, which we want to amplify and support.

OCCG: What inspired you to start play country music?
DB: The stories I grew up listening to which played loudly on Saturday nights at The American Legion in Fishers, IN. I learned how to dance to a country song. I had my first kiss to a country song. The first song I cranked up in my $900 87’ Lincoln Town car cruising around was a damn country song. It’s real, tangible music that taught me about life, inspired me to have pride in where I come from, and shaped who I am today. You don’t have to grow up in the heartland to relate to country music, you just have to slow down and listen.

OCCG: Being a local OC musician, what has been your favorite venue to play at?
DB: We had a kickass time at House of Blues, and we’re looking forward to the Honda Center.

OCCG: How would you say your style of Country music is different?
DB: Well, it’s Bona Fide! There is a battle in country music between Traditional vs. New Country, and we fit right in between. We’re proud to have our own sound, and that’s inspired by our love for country, blues, rock, soul, and music that makes you feel something. Each member of the Bona Fide has his or her own influences, and it’s made the writing process a blast. We love when someone tells us after hearing/watching us perform, “I don’t normally listen to country music but really like you guys!” We’ve got something for everyone who’s willing to listen.

OCCG: Where was your EP/latest song recorded?
DB: We recorded at Station House Studios in Echo Park with the talented Mark Rains, and his dog “Darkness.”

OCCG: How does the band write their music?
DB: With the help of Jack Daniels, crazy women and the heartfelt ideas we come up with. Our songs will usually stem from a hook, riff, phrase or melody one of us has been unable to get out of our head. Chris (guitar) always comes up with tasty riff’s to work with, and Billy (guitar) has a firm grasp on catchy hooks. Mark (bass) helps organize thoughts and prevent fisticuffs, whereas Daniel (vocals) will test everyone’s patience and rewrite until its right. It always helps having a talented drummer and backing vocalist to share thoughts and give feedback too! We start off with a vision for the song, and then let go of the wheel till we get where we want to be.

OCCG: What is the ultimate goal of the band? Are you planning on attending SXSW next year or any Nashville plans?
DB: To keep writing quality music that inspires people to connect with us, open for some national acts, and play a hell of a lot more shows. We’re definitely going to submit for SXSW 2015, and we plan on making our way to Nashville in August to turn some heads. We’ve got a big summer ahead of us including studio time and a music video. We’ll be headlining a country cruise in October through the Panama Canal, and we’re only moving up from there.

OCCG: What can we expect from the Band at a show?
DB: A declaration of recklessness, and an invitation to let loose and get Bona Fide. The only thing you CAN expect is to get slightly intoxicated, and whether that is on whiskey or our tunes, we’ll be right there with you.

Keep posted on all of Daniel Bonte and the Bona Fide up coming shows and California country nights visit http://www.danielbonte.com.

Kathryn Dean With The Piano Men Play Three Dates In LA

Kathryn Dean

Kathryn Dean will be playing House of Blues Sunset July 10

Kathryn Dean is a local California artist, whose passion for singing started at a young age. Dean and the Piano men with a stop at the House of Blues Sunset on Thurs, July 10.

Her love of pop music is what influenced her the most. Now working with producers that have worked with some of pop’s greatest, Dean is making her mark in the music scene. Kathryn recently did some live performances at Michele Clarke’s Sunset Session’s a step in the right direction for this upcoming star.

With Kathryn’s poppy vocals and her catchy down to earth tunes. Kathryn’s songs know just how to get stuck into your head. Her realistic lyrics mixed with the catchy beats come songs you can’t help but sing along too. Her performance is something you won’t want to miss.

OC Concert Guide chatted with Dean during this year’s Sunset Sessions to see what is next for her.

OCCG: Tell me a little bit about how you got into music?
KD: When I was younger I got a microphone and a karaoke machine. I would sing Brittany Spears songs. I started my singing lessons when I was7. It came pretty natural to me. I started to write songs and, I learned to strip away all the details to make a catchy song.

OCCG: Listened to your songs, very catchy, poppy, I could see them getting radio play, How do you write your music?
KD: A lot of it came from my own experiences. I am also a bug ear dropper and I listen to a lot of the dramatic stuff going on. Eventually I learned to strip away all the details to make a catchy song.

OCCG: Your songs, You wish she was me and, For us we’d do anything. What is your best advice on relationships?
KD: It was all my own experience it’s emotional, you learn a lot about yourself. It is something you have to learn on your own. You also have to love yourself, and at the end of the day, its okay to be down. You can always see a silver lining.

OCCG: You say your songs are about learning your valuable lesson, what have you learned in your music career so far?
KD: My philosophy is I work my butt off behind the scenes so it seems effortless when I preform on stage. There is always going to be someone out there that is better, so you have to work even harder, to get where you want to be. Success equals preparation and equal opportunity.

OCCG: You have worked with the producers that worked with Christina Aguilera, Bruce Springsteen, The Mars Volta and Counting Crows. Did you put a lot of trust in them to know what they were doing? Did you let them take your songs and run with them or did you work together with them?
KD: We started about a year ago and I learned so much. Part of the process, involved me singing countless times and each producer had some input. Everyone I have worked with has taught me a great lesson. I loved working with all of them.

OCCG: What would be your dream duo? Who is one person you would like to collaborate with?
KD: There are so many. I would love to collaborate with Adele, Mumford and Sons, Sam Smith, and of course the sexiest man alive Adam Levine.

OCCG: What’s next for you?
KD: I would like to book more shows at bigger venues. I am getting more into Social Media to connect with the fans. My goal is to be able to have the music business brain without compromising the passion of my music.

The FiiX Pumps UP The OC For Record Release Party.


Fiix plays the Vault June 28

The FiiX is a local Orange County duo from Lake Forest, CA. The FiiX is made up of DJ De Neve and Taylor Christian. They combine the sounds of alternative rock, hip-hop and EDM. The FiiX showcase their new recordings at a record release show on Sat, June 28 at The Vault in Orange County.

Getting their start in 2013, the boys have been working hard on their newest album If The Walls Could Speak. The concept of the album is positive controversy. Bringing whole new spin to music, the boys talk about topics that are usually left behind closed doors.

This young rock/hip-hop duo, is shinning light on life matters that would normally not be spoken about and bringing it into the universal language of music, at such a young age, these guys are not shy with speaking their mind. The combination of their strong and meaningful lyrics with the EDM/Rock music the FiiX does a great job in keeping you intrigued with their music.

Tickets are $12 and include a CD of their newest album If The Walls Could Speak. The OC Concert Guide caught up with the guys from the FiiX to get the inside scoop on their new album.

OCCG: Your new album is coming out if the “Walls Could Speak;” tell us a little about the album.
DJ: The topics of the songs are those that are normally left behind closed doors. They are controversial when you listen and think about them. What makes it different is that we don’t really choose a side on the issues; we almost shed a positive light on it.

OCCG: Your sound is described as POP/Rock EDM what artist would you say has the biggest influence on your music?
FiiX: Musically and stylistically I would say Linkin Park. It was our first favorite band.

OCCG: What would you say is your biggest inspiration to play music?
FiiX: About a year ago we were both writing our own material and we ended up collaborating on a song together. We got a lot of people’s feedback and it was all-positive.

OCCG: Being such young musicians, do you think this is something you will continue to peruse?
The FiiX: Yes, music is our set path.

OCCG: What is the next step for you guys?
FiiX: We are planning a small Southeast tour. Our main focus is to get our music out there and continue writing music.

OCCG: Your music focuses on issues on “Hard Issues” what would you say is the most controversial topic you have wrote a song about?
FiiX: Breathe, we would say is the most controversial. It is about abortion and it’s coming from the baby’s point of view. We get a lot of mixed reactions from it. We don’t write to start controversy, we write what we feel, no one is ever going to agree with you 100 percent of the time, of course people are going to judge us, that also won’t stop us.

OCCG: What can we expect at a FiiX show?
FiiX: Fireworks! You can expect a high-energy show. We will have a band with us as well a drummer and a bassist. It will be our first show together.

OCCG: What do you guys do when you are not playing music?
FiiX: We are very involved with our church and their activities. We are pretty much normal everyday kids that like to hang out, go to the beach, watch sports and eat food.

OCCG: Any last words for your fans?
FiiX: Thank You for all the support. It has been very humbling the amount of support we have been getting and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Wake the Street Stop In For One Night At The Coach House

Wake The Street

Wake The Street plays the Coach House June 21

Wake the Street is coming back to play a local show at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Sat, June 21

Wake the Street is a local band from Dana Point started in 2009. Wake the Street’s pop vocals and catchy lyrics mixed with the complete sound of the band seems to have the power to get you up and moving.

The high energy of the crunchy electric guitar, punchy bass and drum fills completes the sound of band. With such great personality and performance enthusiasm Wake the Street is a band not to miss!

The boys will be playing their first show together in two years, and will be joined by other local musicians and close friends, Thatwasthen, Hey Jyosh and Bent Jetty. OC Concert Guide got to talk to the members of Wake the Street to see what they have planned for their reunion show at the Coach House.

OCCG: Give me a brief description of how you guys met?
WTS: We all went to the same High School Dana Hills and had mutual friends. After high school we met up and we all wanted to start a band, so we did.

OCCG: The Coach House id going to be your reunion show, how long did the band take a break?
WTS: We haven’t played a show together in two years. Our lead singer lead singer Alex moved to Texas, a year and a half ago. When Alex moved back all our friends were asking for a reunion show. We have a good relationship with Adam at t The Coach House so he helped us out. It’s great because the Coach House is so iconic and it’s right in our backyard, so it makes for a good local show.

OCCG: What can we expect after this reunion show?
WTS: We are going to be debuting new songs at this show so we are going to get back into writing. We are also looking for a more permanent drummer. Hopefully get back into the studio and record.

OCCG: As a band what would you say has been your favorite songs to play?
WTS: “Fade Away” and our new one “One of a kind.”

OCCG: What would you say is your biggest influence in the music you make?
WTS: We all have different taste in music but most of our influence comes from Blink 182, NOFX, Cartel, and New Found Glory.

OCCG: You are currently looking for a drummer. If you could pick any drummer in the world to sub for you who would it be?
WTS: We wouldn’t mind having Dave Grohl or John Bonham join us.

OCCG: What is one thing that you want your fans to take away from your music?
WTS: Honestly when we write our songs they are heartfelt. We want our fans to enjoy our music and have a good time. It’s about good energy, having a good time and fun.

OCCG: What is one musician that the band can all agree on listening too?
WTS: 80’s rock bands like Motley Crue and Blink 182.

OCCG: What is your favorite local spot
WTS: We are always at Hennessy’s in Dana Point. We hang out together all the time we have a good friendship.

OCCG: Any last words?
WTS: Come see us we are really friendly people and we like to have a good time.
We also have Facebook, Twitter and Tinder ‘”laughing” we enjoy long walks on the beach.

Tustin Native Liz Hill Gears Up For LA Show At Avalon


Liz Hill

Liz Hill’s group Starling Glow plays the Avalon May 3

Liz Hill’s group Starling Glow is setting up to release their next big single. They have a show coming up in Hollywood on May 3 at the Avalon Theater to kick off promotions of the new song.

Liz Hill is an Orange County native who was born and raised in Tustin. They recently scored a Top 20 Billboard Dance Hit with their single “We Are Infinite” (Dave Aude Remix). Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter and musician Billy Mohler also worked with Smashing Pumpkins, Macy Gray, Liz Phair, Kelly Clarkson produced the record.

OC Concert Guide recently asked Liz Hill about her music and the meaning behind the group’s name “Starling Glow.”

OCCG: I am listening to your song “We are Infinite” and thinking your genre is EDM with a touch of Indie Rock. How would you describe your music?
LH: We have two versions of the single out- we first released a remix of the “We Are Infinite” done by Dave Audé, which definitely has that EDM feel! The album version of We Are Infinite is just going to radio now, and I would describe it as edgy pop with a sprinkling of indie rock. Both my producer and I brought our history of playing in rock bands into the studio, and I think that gives our pop track a unique edge!

OCCG: Who or what influence your music?
LH: I grew up in a house where music was a second language- mom would be playing at the piano and singing, my dad would be in the garage cranking his Marshall stack, my sister learned piano, then pipe organ, then drums at an early age… And we all sing. I’d like to think that if I had grown up in a different household, I would still be a musician, but I can’t say that for certain! I came up listening to a little bit of everything (and still do)- classic rock, pop, R&B, country, jazz, indie and alternative rock, but a really formative time for me was in my late teens and early twenties. I was playing bass in a ska band (haha how much more OC can you get?) and it really gave me an understanding for song structure… but it wasn’t until my college years when I started listening to more top 40 radio that I gained a love and appreciation for pop and a great melody and lyric. I always admired artists that were able to have songs that crossed over from the alternative stations to the pop stations and vice versa.

OCCG: Any artist you would like to collaborate with?
LH: I have a not-so-secret love for Eminem’s music. I would die to cut a track with him on it.

OCCG: What is the meaning behind the name “Starling Glow”
LH: I’ve always had an affinity for birds, feathers, and wings. I collect feathers and even have several feather tattoos, my favorite song is called “Silver Wings” by Thrice (another OC local) and the first song I learned on bass was “Little Wing” by Hendrix. When we were trying to come up with a name and my producer’s wife suggested “Starling Glow” it just seemed fitting, and so we ran with it!

OCCG: What is the latest concert you’ve seen. What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever been?
LH: The last concert I went to was for the OCMA’s to watch my friends’ band perform, and I think the most memorable concert I’ve been to is a three-way toss up between Prince at the Coliseum, Stevie Wonder at the Bowl, and Sting and the Police at the Honda center… Although Paramore and No Doubt at the Verizon Amphitheater was pretty awesome… And Heart at the Pacific Amphitheater too!

OCCG: Do you play any musical instruments?
LH: I play bass, guitar, and just enough piano to make it apparent that I have no idea what I’m doing haha.

OCCG: What can we expect from your show?
LH: Our live show packs a punch- the band and I put a lot of energy into the performance and I think the audience gets a nice blend of feeling like they’re at a rock show and a dance party!

OCCG: I see you grew up in Orange County, Where are you based now?
LH: Born and raised in Tustin! I just recently moved to LA, but I make trips back to OC regularly to visit with family and friends. It will always be home to me.

OCCG: Will you be touring this summer?
LH: Most definitely! We already have some summer dates coming up, and folks can find all of the information and more on our website http://www.starlingglow.com!

Lowly Spects are bringing folk to the Coach House

Lowly Spects

Lowly Spects headline the Coach House March 7

Lowly Spects is one of Orange County’s most loved folk alternative bands from Costa Mesa, CA. The group will be headlining at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on March 7.

The band consists of Ethan Hulse, Tyler Johnson, Luke Peach and Trevor Kelso. They made their presence in Orange County in 2011 with the release of their first EP. “I Don’t Feel Simple” followed by the EP IN 2012 “Hardest Man To Love.” They have played many local venues in Orange County and LA.

They have been nominated for Orange County Music Awards best live band as well as other nominations including: best new artist and best folk. This year they are in the running again for Best Live Band.

Influenced by Wilco, Arcade Fire, and Elbow they have managed to create their own sweet sounds. Their music is a mixture of creative lyrics and catchy music.

OC Concert Guide caught up with Tyler Johnson to see what the band currently has in the works.

OCCG: What does the band typically do on their spare time?
TJ: Believe it or not, all of us in some way either work full time or are apart of the church doing music also, so on most Sunday mornings you will probably find us doing that. In our free time however, we love to writing new music, going to other shows, going to Yard House during happy hour and a time we can, we all love to travel!

OCCG: What is the story behind the name?
TJ: This question for us has always been interesting because there really isn’t a good answer. We originally wanted a name that would be unique and hard to forget, kind of like Bon Iver. The name actually came from a children’s book that Ethan read when he was a kid. There was a worm named Lowly and he always wore these big glasses that made him look ridiculous. That’s where it came from. It was everything we had imagined; random, unique and hard to forget.

OCCG: What can we expect from one of your shows?
TJ: One of our biggest values as a band is creating a shared experience between the listener and us. We believe music is a universal language and therefore try and shape our shows around that idea. Many times we have sang songs, unplugged on acoustic guitars in the audience, with everyone singing right they’re with us. Much more than us performing for you, you can expect to be included in our music to some degree.

OCCG: How would you describe the bands sound?
TJ: I would describe our sound as somewhere in between the genres of folk and alternative music. Much of our influence as a band has come from classic folk songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, etc. More recently however we have been largely influenced by artists like Wilco, Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Dawes, A.A. Bondy. I think our sound lies somewhere in between those influences.

OCCG: What is the best advice you have been given about music?
TJ: I think the best advice we have ever been given is that nothing in your journey as a band will ever be THE thing. Any success for us has always been in making sure we do the smaller things right and consistently. Never expect anything to single-handedly contribute to all of your success, rather, all the little things that you put all your energy into.

OCCG: Name the most random thing that inspired you to write a song.
TJ: I can’t really speak for Ethan, but we recently wrote a song about a huge music festival I went too in Tennessee called Bonarroo. Basically it talks about all the fun you can have there but also feel unsatisfied and lonely at the same time.

OCCG: If you could re-record any song of your which one would it be? How would you make it different?
TJ: There’s a song on our first EP that Ethan recorded called My Love Is Gone. That’s one of my favorite songs that he’s written and over the years of playing it, it has kind of evolved a bit into something I like a lot. We added some harmonies and changed the feel of the song to give it more of a rounded out sound. I think it would be nice to try that one again in the studio!

OCCG: What is your favorite place to eat in the OC?
TJ: Like I mentioned earlier we eat at Yard House very frequently because of their incredible happy hour and delicious beers. However my favorite place to eat is probably Little Pickle for lunch on Fairview in Costa Mesa. It’s this little Deli that’s been around forever with a bunch of sports team’s pictures on the wall and absolutely incredible sandwiches. Unmatched in my book.

OCCG: What is the difference between playing in LA vs. OC?
TJ: Playing in LA is different because it seems like the people that attend the shows genuinely have a respect for music. They come to listen, and discover new artists and that’s why so many artists like to perform there. OC, while also having similar quantities at times, feels more like a homecoming for us when we perform, only because so many of our family and friends always come out to the shows. Most of the people that come to our OC shows know our songs and it always feels like a big party with everyone apart of it. Always a good time.

OCCG: Anything new in the works?
TJ: We are currently gearing up for a new single, and album sometime this year. We have so many songs that we need to record; we’re just in the process of narrowing it down and finishing our songs. You should expect to hear new music soon. Maybe summer?

Asleep At The Gate Competes For Best Live Band In Downtown Fullerton.

Asleep At The Gate

Local artists Asleep At The Gate will be a part of this year’s OCMAs at the Continental Room Feb. 18

Asleep at the gate will be competing for best live band at this year’s Orange County Music Awards (OCMA) alongside with 34 other bands. Be sure to catch their performance on Tues, Feb. 18 at 9:30 p.m. at the Continental Room in Fullerton.

Asleep at the Gate is an alternative rock band from Sothern California. The band blends some alternative rock and soul together for a unique sound. The cultured guitar along with the heavy bass line, smooth harmonies and solid drumbeat really brings the band together.

OC Concert Guide chatted with the guys from Asleep at the Gate for some quick band information.

OCCG: How did the band meet?
AATG: We met at an open mic near Mission Viejo

OCCG: What are you most excited for at this year’s OCMA’s?
AATG: We are most excited to play at a new venue and to hear different artist
play live.

OCCG: How will your performance outshine your competition?
AATG: We aren’t looking to outshine anybody. We just want to put on our best show and make the most out of the night.

OCCG: Are there any rituals you do before getting on stage?
AATG: No, we just wander around the venue and strike up random conversations with friends and strangers and we try to make sure no one steals our gear.

OCCG: If you guys had a band “date” where would you take each other?
AATG: To Chipotle or Empanada Man (It’s a pizza joint)

OCCG: How well does the band collaborate when writing songs? Is there a certain process?
AATG: Adrian (our lead vocalist and guitarist) has a book of poetry, ideas, and thoughts. Then he creates the songs from those writings if he thinks of a catchy melody on guitar. Everything else is added later.

OCCG: If you had the chance to cover any song which one would you choose?
AATG: Grace by Jeff Buckley

OCCG: What activities does the band do outside of music?
AATG: School and work

Local Musician Spreads Songs Filled In Jewish Mystic Tales

Channeling divine experience and Jewish mysticism to other’s ears is for Mikey Pauker a divine calling. He is part of this year’s OC Music Awards’ nominees for best live performers to come out of the county showcasing his music along with other folk artists at the Tiki Bar in Costa Mesa Feb. 11

Mikey Pauker

Mikey Pauker sings songs of Jewish mysticism at Tiki Bar Feb. 11
Photo by: Nataly Zigdon


The Laguna Niguel native could not just keep his studies of the Torah and Chassidic text (which he practices daily) to himself. Instead, Pauker is driven to share his spiritual love and light with the world through his love of writing and performing music.

“When I was a child, I thought Jewish music was a little cheesy,” says Pauker. “Then I found my voice leading a musical evening prayer while working at Camp Newman in Santa Rosa (CA) and something just clicked for me. I knew at that moment I wanted to do this for my life.”

Since that moment, Pauker has been spreading his unique blend of Jewish themed reggae folk music around the globe. He had shared the stage with musicians like, Trevor Hall, Matthew Santos, Matisyahu, Idan Raichel, and The Local Natives, among other artists. He has captivated audiences at some of the biggest festivals happening today with performances at SXSW, a prime time spot at Jacob’s Ladder Festival in Israel, and headlining the Steven Gottleib Music Festival.

“I am determined to make the whole world feel connected to Jewish music and closer to what you would call the ‘Spirit,’” said Pauker. “I want my music to connect with all people and spiritual denominations, and remind us all that in the end all souls end in the same place.”

Pauker released his full-length album “Extraordinary Love” on Shemspeed Records on October 1, 2013. His blend of folk, electronica, pop, hip-hop, and reggae, weaved together by his sense of divine experiences with ancient texts is an excellent example of this artist’s love of Judaism and many different styles of music.

“The Jewish mysticism in my music is not overly blatant so it speaks to a broader audience,” explains Pauker. “I feel I am an educator as well as a performer. I want to show how powerful Jewish music can be.”

This album features many special guest producers and performers that Pauker admires for their music and messages. Jamaican dancehall artist Tj Di Hitmaker and ex-Israeli artist Lior Ben-Hur are some of the musicians joining Pauker on some of his recordings.

The song “The Light,” feature ex-Hasidic, gay rapper Y-Love, is a folk meets hip-hop track, a musical illustration of Pauker’s love that knows no boundaries. Hip Hop producer Diwon (Y-Love, Bonhom) helped Pauker bring together his songs full of rhythms and layered in electronic beats over the main foundation of acoustic folk.

Having just returned from the esteemed Limmud International Conference set this year at the University of Warwick in England, Pauker is settling into his inspiration to connect the world with Jewish music. Over the course of the Conference that took place Dec. 20 – 26 of last year, Pauker played 5 gigs for their 2,500 participants and also taught a workshop on writing Jewish spiritual music.

“As a touring recording artist, I find performing at Limmud to be a ‘Golden Opportunity,’” said Pauker. “I am grateful for the opportunity Limmud has given me and having just joined this niche of Jewish spiritual music in the past 5 years, I was honored to receive the invitation and jumped to the occasion.”

Limmud is a festival/conference where all denominations of Jews come together to engage in deep social, spiritual, formal and experiential learning sessions. There are world class Speakers, Rabbis, Publishers, Visual Artists, recording artists, educators, and enthusiasts who participate by facilitating sessions or who just go to learn.

“I already have been invited to participate in a handful of other Limmuds all over the world,” explains Pauker. “I also have a lot more to come locally. I look forward to sharing with the community in Orange County where I am now.”