Sometimes Highway 405 is backed up, you did not get that bonus you deserved, and gas prices are way too high, but you still want to see some awesome live entertainment. Don’t stress about going into Los Angeles for big name artists, just check out the pageantry and ridiculousness of Orange County’s top cover bands. They cover all genres, all eras, and are guaranteed good times for half of the price.
Laguna Beach, CA
With a motto like “More Rock, Less Schlock,” The Trip gets straight to the point. It covers 50 years’ worth of popular music and consistently beats other cover bands for top spots. While not entertaining corporate events, The Trip will rock your wedding, party or any other gathering worth rocking out. The musicians have semi-professional backgrounds and a catalog of more than 100 songs, so nothing is off of the table when it comes to requests. This is a premier professional cover band, with little filler or gimmick to make up for a lack of expertise.
Huntington Beach, CA
While you might get a couple of 2000s neo-classics, it’s the ’80s that Icons Band really does well. Whether it’s a birthday party, Super Bowl shindig or wedding, Icons brings the best of Billy Idol, Prince, Madonna and more with not only a well-performed version of these timeless hits, but choreographed dance routines as well. The band also brings lighting rigs, guaranteeing a professional experience in any setting. It even breaks out into some jazz, swing and Latin numbers for those who need something out of the ordinary.
San Clemente, CA
Power trios have a special kindred ability that four-piece bands just do not possess, and Sea Cure brings that special element to every show. Beyond the typical wedding and party scene, you can catch Sea Cure at Mugs Away in Laguna Niguel and of course dozens of venues around its home of San Clemente. The band sticks more to the classic side of rock and roll, giving you a live version of the best classic rock radio station you can think of. Luckily, it does offer a more hip set list when it comes to newer material, including Green Day, Sublime and even The Decemberists.
Costa Mesa, CA
An Orange County favorite, Undercover is a traveling party. With a dozen or so members, these professional musicians cover every genre of music and give each song the fitting tribute it deserves. Covering music from the ’50s to today, Undercover is a huge hit in this area, especially at clubs like Sandpiper in Laguna Beach. The set list is insanely expansive, covering more than 200 hit songs from the majority of music’s history, including standards and daddy/daughter dance classics. With a line-up this large, every musical nook and cranny is covered.
Yorba Linda, CA
Instant Replay has its hooks in Orange County for one big reason: Disneyland. This cover band plays the Tomorrowland Terrace and Grand Californian Hotel quite a bit, so O.C. residents are quite likely to see it while checking out the most magical place on Earth. It covers more songs than any band on this list and features every era of rock. It has also won multiple awards, year after year, mostly in the “Best Audience Interactive Beach band” category, guaranteeing a good time for those that want to rewind the clock and enjoy some classic tunes.
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Jesse Seilhan is a writer, editor and photographer from the California Bay Area. After moving to Long Beach, Jesse continues his passion for writing and music by covering concerts, interviewing top artists, and giving a dose of wisdom in a crazy, mixed-up musical world. His work can be found at Examiner.com.