Every Venue is Dead – CON on OC Generator Shows.


Shows in Orange County are kind of f****d because any venue that has them gets shut down very quickly. And the cops catch onto any DIY spot you could play here very fast.

Taken by Ansel.

Brandon (bass): Our first few shows we played in Mission Viejo and hopped on with a band called HHR. They turned into Datson later, but they had a big high school following.

Our bassist’s brother knew that band, so they got us on the bill and we bought a generator to pop up with. That first show we had like 60, 70 people in the crowd. It was crazy, just unexpected. We hadn’t really played live before, so we were just… What the hell? <laugh>. We threw a second one later on with the members of Bay Block, they’re really tied in with High Ground. It was sick that we shared some of their first shows too.

After that it was kind of hard. I had to put ourselves out there, almost make some sort of portfolio with the page. Good shots, good videos… I was cutting like minute videos down to a ten-second quick clip. A few of those caught. Lots of just trying to hit up promoters.


We didn’t have a core fanbase and not a lot of people believed in us, but we were different. There’s a lot of power violence, grind stuff in OC… And so many bare basic punk bands that get somewhere ’cause that’s the scene out here. But it kind of made me sick seeing the same repetition in the music. We wanted to write something completely different. We’ve been able to play like indie shows, punk shows, grind shows, & they still love what we’re doing. It’s great. Most of the promoters don’t really get it, some of ’em keep adding us.

If we’re playing any venue in this economy, it’s like $10 to $12 tickets. And you have to see other bands that you don’t really know. Like, there’s no shows where there’s an actual scene set up, where actual bands that would play a backyard are now in a venue – no, it’s cut up. ‘Cause you have to have a headliner and an opener… It’s different.

Taken by Ansel.

More people come to those generator shows just ’cause they’re free. They could drink as much as they want, do as much NOS as they want… It can be a little annoying, but I mean, it’s where the hype’s at. As far as venues, Chain Reaction had to change their terms of conditions for performers when we played there:

No pyro, no fires.

Because they’re seeing all these videos. <laugh> These bands just f******, we love it. Burning s*** down, it’s great.

I really enjoyed the early, early Huntington Beach scene. A lot of the kids from Huntington Beach High School, some from Edison… All young people, but we made it work. We didn’t have to run any generators then, ’cause there’s two stages at Huntington Beach Central Park – both of them had power that they didn’t turn off. Someone would check the power like an hour or two before the show, We’re good. Nice. And we would just roll up. It was all from flyers being spread, word of mouth… This is the party, this is the night. At the end it caught a lot of attention. Lots of Minor Threat covers.


I remember one night there were like six bands on a bill… We get three bands deep and the cops were all up heavy, Get the f*** out, shining lights. Someone parked on the end of the hill and they almost tried to run, so the cops lit him up and he stopped. Now there’s like 60, 70 punk kids in the parking lot trying to figure out what the f*** we’re gonna do, because there’s still more bands.

So Edison High School is about like, what would you say, 6, 10 miles away? Let’s go play there! Half the crowd pulled up on beach cruisers because it was a local ass show, but they were down. We drive over with our gear and watch all these bikes pull up, everyone starts posting.

I think this band called Anxiety from Long Beach started playing – I’m watching them and I look over to the neighborhood on the corner end, and there’s a lady out staring. So I start walking over to her to tell her what we’re doing, but all my friends start walking and I guess we looked like a mob <laugh>. So she freaks out, Get the f*** back! I’m like, What the f***? No, it’s okay, telling all my friends to get out. She hops in her car, drives a bit, and stops in the middle of the street. And then – I had this crazy friend back in the day, would just do whatever – he pulls a knife out, starts running up the car. I’m like, Dog, what the fuck? And she just peels out.


Why would you do that right now? <laugh> She drives around the neighborhood, doesn’t come back for a minute, and then comes back to her house. She gets outta her car like, Stay away from me, I’m armed! At this point, I’m done. I start walking away asking her to just not call the cops. As soon as I finished saying that, I looked down the street and saw a cop turning in. I started darting towards the park and everyone’s like, Why are you running from the cops? Then everyone starts running towards the punk show ’cause there’s a bunch of people there. We just got in the car and left, & they just rolled the whole thing out. We had to hide in a neighborhood.

Lots of fights, probably some of the most aggressive pits I’ve ever seen, other than the crowd kill. It was just straight push, throwing people in a circle. It was cool, definitely, uh, formed our musical background a little bit. <haha>

Jace (guitar/vox): I never really went to any shows like that, it wasn’t possible where I lived. I lived in a suburb outside of Dallas; if there was a house show or anything like that, it was an indie gig. Wasn’t really what I was into. Growing up, I was one of the only kids in my grade that listened to metal, so once I moved over here, it was like fucking Candy Land dude. I’d literally never seen that shit before. I go to my first, you know, PUNK punk show and everybody’s pitting, having a good time… I hadn’t seen anything like it.

Jack (drums): Orange County has some the best crowd energy. And everyone knows that too. If it wasn’t for the Mr. Radical backyard shows, there really wouldn’t be much of an Orange County scene, they kept us going for a minute.


B: Yeah, that’s another thing too, the homies, like Bedroom Addiction. They hit us up out of nowhere one day: Hey, can you guys play at a park in Wilmington tonight? Some random ass spot… You know what? F*** it, we’re not doing anything. We closed the show and they kept having us at their house, slowly built up a pretty big Compton scene. We play Compton so much and we’re not even close to that area. But like the kids over there love us and love Bedroom Addiction. It’s really cool.

I feel like a lot of people look at the page are either really into it or they’re like, these degenerates. They see all this fire and NOS, and a lot of like bigger ticket promoters are turned off by that. They think it’s a trashier side of music.

JD: I just feel like it doesn’t translate. A lot of people go to these types of shows in this scene because it’s kind of off the rails and anything could happen, which attracts a lot of people. They’re also free. As soon as you bring it into a music venue, it’s just not the same.


We definitely want to keep playing these DIY shows. We’re not gonna play as many of them next year, but they’re sorta the crucifix of this scene. There’s really no venues nowadays, or it’s really hard to get your foot in the door of a venue. So we’re gonna keep doing them until something happens. <haha>


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By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald