This was an amazing year for music in Orange County. The area saw the rise of The Observatory in Santa Ana, a host of legendary reunions, and an explosion of an ever-growing local scene. With Orange County becoming more appealing to tour for a lot of bands, expect a lot of big name artists to skip Los Angeles in favor of less traffic, lower ticket prices and a potentially more dedicated fan base.
3503 S. Harbor Blvd.
Santa Ana, CA 92704
Date: March 11, 7 p.m.
The world has moved past the era of industrial metal and synthesizer-infused rock, but with the rise of EDM and computer-generated musical content, KMFDM looks like a group of godfathers. Hailing from Hamburg, Germany, the ever-rotating lineup is gracing California with its presence for the first time in years. It will tour in support of its newest album, entitled “Kunst,” which should be out a week or two before the show. That allows enough time to make sure all of the German lyrics are memorized and primed for shouting back at the band.
200 W. Second St.
Pomona, CA 91766
Hours: Feb. 6 to 8, 7 p.m.
Originally from nearby Temecula, Finch is a post-hardcore band with a gigantic following and a back catalog to warrant one. It’s playing three shows at The Glass House, all covering its debut album “What It Is to Burn,” and bringing along drummer Alex Pappas for the first time in eight years. After forming, breaking up, forming and breaking up again, this will be the first show in three years. The band has a distinct punk sound not fit for radio, but definitely perfect for an early 2013 concert with you and your mosh pit-loving friends.
307 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana CA 92701
Hours: Feb. 8, 6 p.m.
The Yost Theater is usually a hotspot for club kids and world-class DJs, but Sweden’s Sabaton is bringing a whole lot of power metal to Orange County. With a major line-up change and a dedication to songs about war, Sabaton has toured with most major European metal bands. It’s headlining a special show for Orange County. While no openers have been announced for this concert, expect some similar sights and sounds, primarily dressed in black with spiky black boots. Because the Yost is so tiny, make sure to not only print out the free parking pass from its website, but also think about reserving VIP seats for bottle service areas where you can avoid the front row moshing.
1530 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA 92802
Hours: Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
When attending the House of Blues, see one of the men that helped established the genre. While few came before him, none have become nearly the as much of an American icon as King. Whether it’s his signature voice, full-body guitar (known simply as Lucille), or back catalog of amazing tunes, there is nothing worth missing about the King of Blues’ concerts. To see him in such an intimate venue is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as he tends to do gigantic arenas or music festivals.
2200 E. Katella Ave.
Anaheim CA 92806
Hours: Jan. 18, 9 p.m.
Considered by some to be a neo-supergroup of Southern rock, Down brings a style of metal all its own. Headed up by ex-Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo, the breakneck speed-demon group is supporting its recently released EP. Instead of making Down a side project between the members’ other activities, Down has become a full-time gig, so expect a passionate live show, supported by openers Warbeast. Because the band records in New Orleans, Orange County rarely gets a chance to see it, so don’t delay buying tickets; they will sell out.
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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.