Irvine Weekly‘s Summer Music Guide
Here’s when and where to hear everything from Journey to a Pink Floyd tribute in Irvine.
FISHFEST w/TOBYMAC, ZACH WILLIAMS, JORDAN FELIZ, GENESSIS & NIKKI, KIM WALKER-SMITH AND MORE
A longtime fixture at Irvine Meadows, 95.9 The Fish’s annual multi-act Fishfest bash moved to that venue’s de facto (albeit temporary) replacement, FivePoint Amphitheatre, after the Meadows’ 2016 demise. Headlined by genre-straddling former DC Talk man TobyMac, this year’s Fishfest lineup once again represents a broad cross section of contemporary Christian music, including inspirational Arkansas singer/songwriter Zach Williams, retro rock/R&B phenom Jordan Feliz, bilingual SoCal worship leaders Genessis & Nikki, and the Jesus Culture band’s Kim Walker-Smith. But, as ever, FishFest offers more than just music, with opportunities for worship, games, prizes, and to actually meet some of the performing artists. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine.
One of country music’s most consistent stars – all eleven of his studio albums to date have been certified Gold or better, plus an incredible 32 singles making the Top 10 of the BillboardCountry Airplay chart — Brad Paisley offers few surprises on his most recent album, 2017’s Love and War. A classic case of “if it ain’t broke”, the record hits all his usual marks: small-town sentimentalism, beer-swillin’ celebration, diverse collaboration (this time including Mick Jagger and Timbaland) and, yes, some filler. But what’s always set Paisley apart is his agile guitar playing and sheer savvy professionalism, which buff even his occasional duds into arena-ready sing-alongs. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine.
Sat 6/15 & Sun 6/16
IRISH FAIR AND MUSIC FESTIVAL feat. YOUNG DUBLINERS
Characteristically for one America’s hardest-working bands, L.A.’s Young Dubliners will play a brace of shows on each of this Emerald Isle-themed fest’s two days. While the Dubs’ original members, vocalist/guitarist Keith Roberts and bassist Brendan Holmes, are indeed from Dublin (and friends since their mid teens), the other three are American. Their take on Celtic rock melds the fireside nostalgia of Irish folk and shanties with the rabble-rousing optimism of robust, punk-tinged rock, recalling The Pogues and Waterboys as much as any traditional pub session. All this makes the Young Dubs feel more accessible and less exclusive than purist folk, which may explain their three decades of international popularity. Orange County Great Park, 8000 Great Park Blvd., Irvine.
TRAIN, GOO GOO DOLLS
Apt co-headliners Train and the Goo Goo Dolls both enjoyed commercial heydays at the turn of the millennium, when their earnest, singable rock sold millions. Both have also endured, regardless of fashion, even shunning the apparently obligatory hiatuses common to veteran acts (Train formed in 1993, Goo Goo Dolls in ’86). A classic rock band at heart, Train were never the stuff of bedroom-wall posters, but their very “adultness” has served them well, aging nicely while more faddy peers disappeared. While the Goo Goo Dolls transitioned from early punkiness into radio-friendly alt-poppers, their live shows have always flashed back to their more sonically reckless beginnings. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine.
SANTANA, DOOBIE BROTHERS
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Santana’s storied Woodstock performance, and 20 years since comeback album Supernatural put the band (essentially a vehicle for guitarist Carlos Santana) back atop charts. While Santana’s classic lineup, including subsequent Journey men Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie, reunited as a studio outfit in 2013, the live band is mostly come-latelies, including Carlos’ wife Cindy on drums. As band that peaked at the turn of the 1970s and again on the cusp of the millennium, Santana prevails as a multi-generational crowd puller. Still boasting two original members, Santana’s harmony-heavy NorCal peers the Doobie Brothers infuse this bill with yet more history and nostalgia. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine.
HOOTIE & THE BLOWFISH, BARENAKED LADIES
Two of the most feel-good bands of the 1990s are well-matched on this Hootie & the Blowfish reunion tour, following a decade-long hiatus during which frontman Darius Rucker established himself as a legit country music star. Formed at the University of South Carolina in 1986, Hootie went on to almost define (alongside the likes of Blues Traveler and the Dave Matthews Band) the strummy, jam band-adjacent blues-rock that saturated Americas airwaves in the mid to late ‘90s. Meanwhile, Canada’s Barenaked Ladies offered a more lighthearted take on that subgenre, with smartypants lyrics and live shows that, to this day, feel more three-dimensional thanks to comedic between-songs banter. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine.
While the lately all-powerful “tribute band” trend has spawned acts of wildly varying ambition and ability, Brit Floyd are surely the zenith of this phenomenon to date. Featuring a number of former members of the long-running Australian Pink Floyd Show, this 19-strong, England-based ensemble recreates not only Pink Floyd’s epic soundscapes, but also endeavors to at least honor that band’s famously elaborate stage productions. Though only formed in 2011, Brit Floyd have for some years been capable of headlining venues the size of the 12,000-capacity FivePoint, thanks to both their own tireless perfectionism and passion, and, of course, the enduring resonance of the real Floyd’s songcraft. FivePoint Amphitheatre, 14800 Chinon, Irvine.