Bad Religion and X – at The OC Fairgrounds – Costa Mesa, CA

July 17, 2014

Southern California based bands X and Bad Religion took the stage at the annual Orange County Fair Concert Series.  A large auditorium, the Pacific Amphitheater has hosted big names for decades, and in spite of the rows of seats from the back of the stadium to the floor, it continues to produce some of the best live music sound around.

A South OC tradition, live music at the annual Orange County Fair is a crowd pleaser. This night was no different and opening act, X , was fantastic, highlighting many songs from arguably their anthem album, Los Angeles (Slash, 1980) and sticking to a set list that would satisfy their most adoring, old school fans.

Seated to my left were ladies who embodied the spirit of old school punk following, meeting this X venue with the same enthusiasm they have undoubtedly carried to countless shows over the decades.  Behind me sat three thirteen-year-old boys who could not contain their excitement in getting to see headliner, Bad Religion, live.  What struck me was the level of enthusiasm in both groups, the seasoned veterans were just as excited as the kids finding their Punk rock roots and as I walked around the large Pacific Amphitheater venue I saw people smiling and laughing; singing along with their favorite bands playing their favorite songs.

In true Bad Religion tradition, their show was political, motivating, and professional. Bringing a higher standard to the alternative music scene, Bad Religion demands respect from a wide array of fans. I love going to Bad Religion shows, businessmen and punks, young and seasoned, exuding music enthusiasm. Bad Religion appeals to a large audience making for an always stellar and memorable concert-going experience. Lead singer, Greg Graffin connected with his band and his audience, delivering the trademark powerhouse performance that fans have come to expect of Bad Religion. The highlight of the evening was when Graffin suggested the band's Canoga Park roots, prompting fans, who were taken by enthusiasm and a desire to show their appreciation of the band's influence on the music scene, to respectfully decline security's suggested stadium protocol, ejecting the folding seats in the pit before exploding, in true Punk rock tradition, into a tenacious quarry of O.C. style, brotherly pitting and crowd surfing.  The band's encore echoed the tradition of their influential sound with "Infected" (Stranger Than Fiction, 1994), holding the attention of their fans to the last cord.

Both bands brought it on Thursday night and the Amphitheater did their usual excellent job of making sure that the beer was cold and easily accessible, the seats were filled and the sound was, as always, perfectly managed, making for an intimate feel in spite of the stadium's girth. The bands had fun, the crowd had fun, old school supporters were reminded of their roots, and a new generation of punk enthusiasts was born.

More photos of the show can be seen HERE

-Robin Mairs-
Big Wheel Contributor


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