Southern California is known for it’s vibrant music scene but with that plethora of shows often comes the dilemma of more than one really awesome showing happening on the same night. In this case the two shows in question were The Flatliners at The Slidebar in Fullerton and French Exit at VLHS in Pomona. Now normally I would just go to see the touring act versus the local and there wouldn’t be a problem. However French Exit’s show was their record release show celebrating the debut of their first LP; so it wasn’t just any local show. Thus I tried to figure out if attending both shows would be possible and thankfully whatever cosmic force that allows California to be so awesome somehow made my plan of seeing two shows in different counties totally feasible. Of course I’d have to leave one early but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
I showed up to The Slidebar a bit early to make sure I got a wristband in time. Although their shows are free there is a capacity limit. and if you don’t make it on time well you’re shit out of luck. That wasn’t my case as I got there as they were close to running out but had I taken another 10 minutes I would have been left outside in the cold. While I was there waiting for the show to start I wandered about and talked to a fair amount of friends who were in attendance before a few of us went to go check out the Revenant. The band put on an entertaining set and their guitarist was bouncing all over the place. A solid opener to get the crowd feeling alive. They were giving out their record for free at the end of the set but I forgot to ask about that. I should tweet them or something and see if I can still get a copy. I would like to check it out and give them a fair listen in the future.
The next band on the bill was Culture Abuse from the Bay Area. This was their first tour down to southern California and I was really impressed. The band even has Ian from Dead to Me on drums and David, merch man to the stars, on vocals. The band was pretty heavy and might have been a bit too heavy for the crowd but to each their own. I was into it. They played a fairly quick set but in hardcore music bands don’t tend to play for too long so it was kind of expected. As they wrapped up I wandered about and socialized a fair bit and somehow missed Living with Lions starting their set. By the time I made it back to the actual stage area they were about to start their last song which was a total bummer. I actually do enjoy those dudes so I feel a bit bad I missed their set after not having seen them for about 2 years now. I guess I got caught up in socializing with some friends I hadn’t seen in a year or so that i just somehow blew it. Though I will say that 1 song I heard them play was pretty intense.
After the final set change I got ready for the Flats to take the stage. Unfortunately the show started a bit late so I wasn’t be able to stay for the whole set. I caught about 4 and a half songs before I had to make my exit but I made sure to pick up their new LP, Dead Language, before I made my exit. I have to say those 4 songs that I was able to catch were killer. The Flatliners always deliver the goods and although I wish i could have seen more of their set I am happy with what I saw. I’ll just have to wait for their yearly spring pilgrimage next year but the fact that they blessed southern California with their presence 3 times this year is a holiday miracle given crossing the border can be a pain for touring acts.
After making a 30 minute drive to Pomona from Downtown Fullerton in about 25 minutes I showed up right as local sweethearts Summer Vacation kicked off their set. This show was definitely a bit more mellow than the last time I saw them but given the fact that last time I saw them there were 500 people I definitely don’t mind. People were dancing and Mark Chen was turned to the side the whole set for some reason so all in all it was a solid performance. The FUCKING WRATH were the direct support and I think the last time I saw them might have actually been at a French Exit show 2 or 3 years ago. The FUCKING WRATH for a lack of a better phrase melted everyone’s face off that night. I’m still having trouble today trying to restructure everything back to how it was before their set.
Once the FUCKING WRATH finished up their half hour of solos and shredding it was time for French Exit to do what they do best., kick ass and bring the jams. Everyone was going ape shit the entire time, singing as loud as they could and dancing as much as possible. About 3 songs in everyone was drenched in other people’s sweat and it was perfect.There was even an special guest appearance by Nick Ball via a skype video call. I mean someone had to one up La Virgen De Guadalupe‘s presence at the show. As the show came to an end it was time to sober up and i passed out in my car until 4 am, missing a scheduled interview with Anthony Booth but he was kind enough to forgive me and we will take care of it another day. Buy the new French Exit record. It’s really good and you’ll see a review for it on another website I write for soon enough.