Black Belt Eagle Scout and Tacocat at The Constellation Room - 11.13.18

words + photos by Joe Cortez

I make it a habit not to preview bands I’m unfamiliar before I cover them so as to not have any preconceived notions color my impressions of their live show; I want to be surprised and boy was I ever after watching Black Belt Eagle Scout perform at the Constellation Room on Tuesday night, November 13. Currently on tour with Seattle’s own Tacocat in support of her debut album, “Mother of my Children,” Black Belt Eagle Scout, the pacific northwest-based rock project of songwriter Katherine Paul, delivered a tremendous set that ranged from a kind of quiet calm to a thrashing fit that left me elated and overjoyed.

Check out my photos from the night, also featuring headliner Tacocat, below. For more on Black Belt Eagle Scout, be sure to visit blackbelteaglescout.com.

Black Belt Eagle Scout Photo Gallery

Tacocat Photo Gallery

The Damned at The Five Point Amphitheater

words + photos by Joe Cortez

English punk rock legends The Damned crashed the otherwise headbanger’s ball at the recently-christened Five Point Amphitheater in Irvine on Saturday night, November 3, opening for Danzig as part of his annual Halloween Hell Bash. Sandwiched in-between hard-hitting metal acts such as Venom, Inc., Power Trip, The Meteors and Mutoid Man, The Damned unleashed one of their more raucous and fiery sets featuring long time favorites and new tracks off the band’s recently released eleventh studio album, “Evil Spirits” (available now via the band’s official site). Check out my photos from the night below and for more be sure to like The Damned on Facebook.

Dream Wife and Blushh at The Constellation Room

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Direct from London comes Dream Wife, an electrifying trio of in-your-face punk energy fused with an empowering pro-bad bitch rallying call. After making waves with their self titled debut album, released earlier this year, tells band hit the road to support the release, making a first ever stop at Santa Ana’s Constellation Room on Saturday night, October 13.

Crafting one of the memorable performances I had been witness to all year, Dream Wife conjured an inescapable charisma that seemed to be channeled throughout vocalist Rakel Mjöll, bassist Bella Podpadec and guitarist Alice Go. Check our my photos from the night, also featuring local opener Blushh, below. For more on Dream Wife, be sure to visit dreamwife.co.

Dream Wife Photo Gallery

Blushh Photo Gallery

S-X at The Observatory

words + photos by Joe Cortez

After being behind the beats for the likes of Childish Gambino, Lupe Fiasco and Young Money, (among others) acclaimed U.K. producer S-X is now trying his hand at performing, taking the stage of Santa Ana’s Observatory this past Friday night, October 5th. Opening for Lily Allen, S-X delivered a soulful dose of hip hop before the capacity crowd for what was his first ever performance in the US. Carrying himself on stage with an assured charisma, S-X got the audience hooked on his free flowing rhymes and lush tracks.

Check out my photos from the night below. For more on S-X be sure to follow @producerSX on Twitter and Instagram. Special thanks to S-X’s team for arranging coverage of the night.

GØGGS at Marty's On Newport

words + photos by Joe Cortez

GØGGS, the ferocious punk outfit formed by garage rock’s chaotic alchemist Ty Segall and Ex-Cult’s manic Chris Shaw has returned with a crushing new album, “Pre-Strike Sweep” (available 9/28 from In The Red). The band hit up Tustin’s newest home of glee and debauchery, Marty’s on Newport, last Sunday night for a volatile night of pure unadulterated rock. Check out my photos from the night below and be sure to visit In The Red Records for more info and to order “Pre-Strike Sweep.”

Chastity and Mourn at The Constellation Room

words + photos by Joe Cortez

It’s nice to have a kick in the pants every once in a while; a not so subtle reminder than great bands are still out there, just bubbling under the surface and waiting to be relished and discovered by the masses. Take Ontario, Canada’s own Chastity. The brain child of songwriter Brandon Williams, Chastity ignited with a charged set last Friday night, July 27 at Santa Ana’s Constellation Room. While the crowd gathered may have been modest, Williams and co. earnestly delivered a raw set of tracks off the band’s debut LP, “Death Lust.”

Followng Chastity was Mourn, an impressive four piece hailing from Barcelona. Although 2018 marks the release of the band’s third album, they have we’re comptelely off my radar. Proving it’s never too late to unearth new music, the quintet took me by complete surprise and totally blew me away.

Check out my photos from the night, also featuring headliner Mourn, below and for more on Chastity be sure to visit chastitysongs.com.

Chastity Photo Gallery

Mourn Photo Gallery

TOMI at The Echo

words + photos by Joe Cortez

The enigmatically alluring TOMI graced the stage of LA’s Echo on Tuesday night, May 29 for an enchanting set of tunes off her recently released EP, “What Kind of Love” (available now via RCA). Deftly trading off between an axe-shredding guitarist and a soul bearing vocalist, TOMI dazzled  during her performance. Check out my photos from the night below and for more on TOMI be sure to visit thenametomi.com.

mc chris at The Bootleg Theater

words + photos by Joe Cortez

mc chris is back and the rapper who rhymes about all that is nerdy stopped by LA’s Bootleg Theater on Saturday night, May 26 to deliver a healthy dose of laughs. Never one to rest on his laurels, the prolific artist gave fans everything they wanted and more, dropping classic tracks like Fett’s Vette and Nerd Girl inbetween insights gained from being a touring father and husband. Check out my photos from the night below, also featuring opener Bit Force, and for more on mc chris be sure to visit  mcchris.com.

mc chris Photo Gallery

Bitforce Photo Gallery

The Head and The Heart and GROUPLOVE at The Observatory

words + photos by Joe Cortez

 Indie-folk mainstay The Head and The Heart is back on the road with dates throughout the US this summer. The band stopped by Santa Ana’s Observatory on Wednesday night, May 23 for a sold out evening of tunes old and new, including tracks off their most recent release, “Signs of Light” (available now via Warner Bros.). Check out my photos from the night, also featuring opener GROUPLOVE, below. For more on The Head and The Heart, be sure to visit  theheadandtheheart.com.

The Head and The Heart Photo Gallery

GROUPLOVE Photo Gallery

MGMT at The Observatory

words + photos by Joe Cortez

Rock outfit MGMT sold out Santa Ana’s Observatory on Wednesday night, May 16, performing a dreamy set amidst a backdrop of mind-altering lights and visuals. Currently on tour in support of their fourth album, “Little Dark Age,” (available now via Columbia) the assembled five piece dazzled the crowd with their coy stage antics and popular favorites. Check out my photos from the night below and for more on MGMT be sure to visit  whoismgmt.com.