There are two rooms at The Observatory in Santa Ana. I was surprised to see the lineup of A Wilhelm Scream, Brendan Kelly of the Lawrence Arms and the opening band, MakeWar, in the smaller of the two rooms on a Saturday night. Okay, so these bands are recognized more on the east coast, since each band is from the east coast, but in my mind and in the minds of those who showed up, we were all confused by the show being in the Constellation Room.
This was a juggernaut of a lineup for such an intimate setting.
MakeWar, one of the newest bands on Fat Wreck, opened the show. A three-piece band that feels much bigger and larger than the sum off its parts, the only reason that they’re not more popular as of right now is their lack of catalog. They will be bigger. Keep an eye out, see them as much as you can and grab every album they put out.
Brendan Kelly was next with an acoustic set. I’m not sure if he talked more or played music more and I’m also not sure which was better? I’m in no way dissing his music — it’s incredible. His music has heart, tells great stories, has grit to it; equally entertaining is Kelly’s banter in between songs. It was such a different set than the other two bands… almost a reprieve or a deep breath in between. It was a lighthearted set, while also being heavy-hearted at the same time. By the time Kelly mentioned he only had two songs left, it really threw everyone into an almost panic, with fans frantically yelling out songs they wanted to still hear him play.
Then came A Wilhelm Scream. A complete tornado of riffs and screams, they are in-your-face loud. The place erupted. This has been the case for every AWS show I’ve ever been to and I try to catch them every time they’re in town. They do not disappoint. This is one of the top most energetic bands I’ve ever seen. Being a photographer, mixed with the shitty lighting of the Constellation room and the complete frenetic pace of AWS sets, it was almost impossible to get photos that weren’t complete blurry streaks of light. This show is a workout. A workout of the body, mind and soul. You’re going to sleep good after seeing AWS. Go see them. Travel to see them. See multiple shows. They were fresh off of releasing their latest album Lose Your Delusion and are still touring as of this moment in Europe. Personally, this is one of my favorite albums they’ve put out –there’s not a bad song on it.
Photography by Billy Beans