Make no mistake- LA, New York and London may be known for their music scenes, but Orange County is a longtime breeding ground for great music. On any given night, music lovers (like me) can find a great local band filling one of the county's bars with the sweet sound of rock 'n' roll for the cost of a drink or a $5 cover.
Industry heavyweights and many of those local music makers and lovers packed the Grove of Anaheim on Saturday night to celebrate OC's vibrant scene at the 2010 OC Music Awards.
Fans chose their faves in a People's Choice category, and 35 local bands performed at local venues in the lead-up to the show as part of showcases to determine the winners of the Best Live Band and Best Live Acoustic categories.
[Dusty Rhodes & the River Band's performance: photo by Alexandra Baird]
Standouts included Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, who swept up three of the four awards they were nominated for, including Best Rock and Best Live Band. The six-piece indie group also thrilled the audience with their unique brand of energetic, violin-tinged singalong rock.
Newcomers The Steelwells also wowed the audience, and Best Hip-Hop winners Blok got people up out of their seats to move to their spastic, jumpy club sound and glittery costumes. Both bands can be seen around OC soon- The Steelwells will be performing at the Gypsy Lounge on Friday, March 12 with local faves The Union Line and Jameson, and Blok has a Monday-night residency at Detroit Bar.
[Blok took home the award for Best Hip Hop: photo by Alexandra Baird]
The OCMAs also honored music journalist Jim Washburn with a Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as OC-born Sugar Ray, who won the Impact Award for their charity work. Lit, famous for the '99 hit “My Own Worst Enemy,” played a touching acoustic tribute to former drummer Allen Shellenberger, who died at 39 last year after a battle with cancer.
[Sugar Ray accepting the OC Impact Award: photo courtesy of the OCMAs]
[Lit on the red carpet: photo courtesy of the OCMAs]
Winning bands were treated to prizes of Fender gear, and KROQ, Best Buy and OC Weekly were among the big-name sponsors. The OCMAs also have a partnership with the Laguna Art Museum; check out OsCene 2010, a multimedia exhibit dedicated to OC culture featuring songs from the nominees, through May 16. The 2010 Orange County Music Awards are a great catalyst for getting the word out that OC musicians are hard-working, talented and deserve some love! Check out all the nominees at ocmusicawards.com.
on my iTunes: The Steelwells- “El Capitan”