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The Tijuana Dogs Close Out Irvine’s Summer Concert Series

This Sunday marked Irvine’s final Sunset Concert for the summer, and the neighborhood showed out in full force. Hundreds of parents and children, wives and husbands, friends and family, descended on sunny Mike Ward Park where they enjoyed The Tijuana Dogs’ energetic renditions of popular American hits.

Food trucks including Afters Ice Cream and Tri Tip Man were present, as were organizations including the city of Irvine and Youth Action Team, who set up tents, sold snacks and provided information on upcoming events. One of the tents featured was Irvine’s 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee, who sold tickets and marine veteran sponsorships for their Marine Corps Birthday Ball, which will be in Irvine on November 10th.

The Tijuana Dogs featuring (left to right) Dave Murdy (guitar), Griffin Wright (drums), Daniel Pearson (bass), Matt Mauser (vocals) and Jason Towney (percussion, vocals). Photo courtesy of the artist.

It was easy to tell from the Tijuana Dogs’ setlist, that included music from Rick James, Tom Petty and the Beastie Boys, that this concert’s listening demographic was closer to that of the parents, grooving on the grass, Solo cup in hand, than that of the children, often playing catch or tag through the scattered Tommy Bahama pop-up tents and colorful folding lawn chairs. 

At least it seemed that way until about halfway through the Dogs’ set. With the sun setting on their backs, The Dogs invited a group of children, including a few of their own, on stage to sing their rendition of “Old Towne Road,” by newly minted superstar Lil Nas X, followed by Miley Cyrus’ eternal summer jam, “Party in the U.S.A.” Kids stormed the stage to sing the new classics of their generation, while adults hung back and admired the children’s enthusiastic performance until there was more “Billie Jean” and “Sweet Home Alabama” to be heard.

After launching back into their solid two-hour performance for a couple more songs, The Tijuana Dogs ended their performance on a high note, with “L.A. Woman” by The Doors, a crowd-favorite that brought the park to its feet one last time.

I caught up with Matt Mauser, lead singer of the Dogs and local musician from Huntington Beach, and asked him about the performance.

“I bring the kids out during the family concerts, it gets the kids goin’!” he said. Mauser and the Dogs take pride in their brand of musical family fun.

“I had a blast. I like the rock stuff we do, that’s the most fun for me.” The Tijuana Dogs are Orange County locals, and perform at spots around SoCal, including at Sea Legs, Campus Jacks and Mozambique. “We get a lot of fans out here, being from Huntington.” 

Unfortunately, this was the last summer concert of the season, but there is still one more family-friendly outdoor event in Irvine this season: The Sunset Cinema Series will host their final Irvine event on August 16th at Irvine Regional Park, with a showing of Disney’s original “The Jungle Book” (1967).