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Fall Show Preview: Must See Live O.C. Music

Thu. 10/18: MAGGIE ROGERS

Maryland singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers shot to viral-video fame after her song “Alaska,” penned in just 15 minutes, moved Pharrell Williams to tears during a New York University masterclass. Since then, she’s ushered her prior trad-folk towards a synthier signature, with last year’s Now That The Light Is Fading EP, which includes the falsetto-capped “Alaska,” straddling organic outdoorsy-ness and chilled digital delights.

At The Observatory, Santa Ana – Click here for tickets

Fri. 10/19: DANA FUCHS BAND

Dana Fuchs channels a past beset with tragedy into her famously Janis Joplin-esque roar, even portraying the legendary singer in the Love, Janis musical (and a similar character in the 2007 movie Across the Universe). Stitching Southern rock, roots, blues and soul, with a band that’s an absolute lesson in tasteful flamboyance, the striking New Yorker’s shows are orgasmically primal celebrations of pure, raw survival through performance.

At Mozambique, Laguna Beach – Click here for tickets

Sat. 10/20: THE DICKIES @ ‘BLENDER BASH’

Defying punk rock’s gritty stereotypes, the Dickies have, for more than 40 years, preferred a comically cartoonish take on the genre inspired more by the sunny suburbs of their native San Fernando Valley than any politics or protest. With its distinctive ‘60s stimuli, their lo-cal SoCal punk has influenced later generations of (often O.C.-based) pop-punk bands, while proving incredibly enduring in its own right. This first-ever ‘Blender Bash’ is a Halloween-themed fest featuring more than 25 punk, rockabilly and psychobilly bands.

At Original Mike’s, Santa Ana – Click here for tickets

Wed. 10/24: DEAP VALLY

The fuzzed-out, battering bliss of L.A. duo Deap Vally has thus far resonated more with European listeners. So consider yourself lucky to catch them at the 300-capacity Wayfarer when, across the pond, Lindsey Troy’s feral yelps and Julie Edwards’ irreverent, John Bonham-indebted drumming has opened arena shows for Muse and Red Hot Chili Peppers. If you’ve been missing the bare-bones alt-blues/rock of fellow locals Nico Vega, don’t miss this.

At The Wayfarer, Costa Mesa – Click here for tickets

Sat. 10/27: CAIFANES

A band that both influenced a new generation rock en español artists and helped revitalize the careers of genre veterans during the late 1980s “Rock en tu idioma” era, Mexico’s Caifanes reunited in 2011 to once again raise the bar for this border-straddling genre. Their virtuosic instrumentation, seamlessly hybridizing new wave and progressive rock with Latin percussion and traditional Mexican motifs, connects through the tremulous timbre of Saúl Hernández (also of Jaguares).

At FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine – Click here for tickets

Sat. 10/27 & Sun. 10/28: SURF CITY BLITZ: SOCIAL DISTORTION, THE OFFSPRING, PENNYWISE, RANCID, BAD RELIGION, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB, FEAR, T.S.O.L., THE INTERRUPTERS & MORE

This 2-day mega-show includes some of California’s biggest-ever punk bands, including Orange County’s The Offspring and Social Distortion. Adding stylistic diversity to the bill are pioneering Venice crossover thrashers Suicidal Tendencies, the goth-tinted hardcore of Long Beach’s T.S.O.L., the darkly psychedelic rock of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the more contemporary ska-punk of L.A.’s Interrupters, whose “She’s Kerosene” single enjoyed considerable airplay this year.

At Huntington State Beach – Click here for tickets

Sat. 11/3 & Sun. 11/4: THE BIG ADVENTURE: EMPIRE OF THE SUN, MODEST MOUSE, PHANTOGRAM, COLD WAR KIDS, ECHOS, NVDES, ALLIE X, PARTY NAILS

Another two-day spectacular, the Big Adventure transcends music to also embrace live comedy, cosplay, gaming and sci-fi. Saturday’s music lineup stars a trio of duos – Australian electro-glammers Empire of the Sun, dream poppers Phantogram and space-gazers Echos – plus energetic Los Angeles dance-punk project NVDES. On Sunday, indie veterans Modest Mouse, Long Beach luminaries Cold War Kids, Canadian synth-pop singer-songwriter Allie X, and L.A. alt-popper Party Nails (a.k.a. Elana Belle Carroll) bring the tunes.

At OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa – Click here for tickets

Sat. 11/3: STREETLIGHT MANIFESTO

Despite not releasing a new album since 2013, and having announced a dramatic cut-back in touring that same year, New Jersey ska-punk stalwarts Streetlight Manifesto find themselves once again on the road, this time playing their debut album, Everything Goes Numb, in its entirety. Led by Czech-born singer-guitarist Tomas Kalnoky, this brass-fueled octet retains a uniquely boisterous and increasingly world music-influenced take on punk.

At The Observatory, Santa Ana – Click here for tickets

Sat. 11/3: DANZIG 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY – HALLOWEEN HELL BASH: DANZIG, THE DAMNED, VENOM INC., POWER TRIP, THE METEORS, MUTOID MAN

While this short fall tour marks 30 years of Danzig, the band, Glenn Danzig, the frontman, has been artfully exploring horror punk, hard rock and heavy metal since 1977. First with the Misfits and then Samhain (which kinda morphed into Danzig in 1987), he’s become a lasting legend across multiple subcultures and generations. On this Halloween-themed bill he’s joined by, among others, perpetually under-rewarded British goth-punk pioneers The Damned, who should alone be worth the price of admission.

At FivePoint Amphitheatre, Irvine – Click here for tickets

Diana Krall – Photo by Mary McCartney

Sun. 11/4: DIANA KRALL

Canadian jazz chanteuse Diana Krall has forever found new ways to challenge herself over a 25-year career complete with multiple Grammy, Juno and platinum awards, including imaginative covers of everyone from 10cc to Crowded House, and collaborations with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney and her husband Elvis Costello. Released last month, her latest co-recording, Love is Here to Stay, with Tony Bennett, celebrates their shared love for the music of George and Ira Gershwin.

At Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Costa Mesa – Click here for tickets

Fri. 11/9 & Sat. 11/10: TOKYO POLICE CLUB

Tokyo Police Club crafts taut, short-sharp-shock pop, with smarty lyrics and keys-flecked quirks. Seemingly a festival and support-slot fixture (having opened for everyone from Weezer to  Foster the People), the quartet followed a trio of minor-hit albums with the release of newbie TPC last week. On this tour they’re playing mostly two-night stands in more intimate venues, rather than the traditional one-show-per-city in larger rooms.

At Constellation Room @ The Observatory, Santa Ana – Click here for tickets

Tue. 11/13: LOCAL H

While still best known for their ultra-earworm 1996 hit “Bound for the Floor,” Illinois’ Local H has actually, with varying lineups, been around for more than 30 years. Although only lead vocalist-guitarist Scott Lucas has been a constant factor, the band has throughout earned a rep for enthused, imaginative and unusually inclusive performances which often transcend the mere rote execution of a preconceived setlist.

At Marty’s on Newport, Tustin – Click here for tickets

Wed. 12/12: DOYLE

Doyle – Photo by Mandi Martini

While his former Misfits bandmate (and still frequent collaborator) Glenn Danzig headlines Irvine’s 12,000-capacity FivePoint Amphitheatre just days earlier, guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein finds his horror punk outfit Doyle in the decidedly more cozy confines of Santa Ana’s Malone’s. Fronted by the expansively mutton-chopped Alex “Wolfman” Story, and with the muscle-bound von Frankenstein himself in full fright-movie garb, Doyle delivers raw, metallic punk with admirable, semi-theatrical commitment.

At Malone’s, Santa Ana – Click here for tickets