Toast and Jams: The Observatory, OC

Take a moment and imagine this:

You’re front row. Your hands are gripping a cold barricade keeping you a mere two feet from jumping center stage at The Observatory. Your adrenaline is pumping as you listen to the crisp melody escaping Scott McMicken’s guitar, his voice hitting every note with ease. Suddenly, a sharp pain arises from your left shoulder: another crowd surfer has taken a dive. To console your pain, the pothead to your right has taken a brief break from head-banging to offer you a puff of his ashy cigarette. Your evening is purely euphoric—there’s nothing like a warm winter night in Southern California.

Since the early 1980s, efforts to bring back an eclectic creativity to their downtown district. The Artist’s Village now showcases monthly art shows, free concerts and hip restaurants. The Yost Theatre, yet another popular venue, has also had a facelift in the wake of the art revolution.

Now, back to the music. If you think there’s anything less California than jammin’ in a tiny concert venue with a ton of strangers, then you are severely mistaken. Located in Orange County’s Santa Ana, the Observatory OC (not to be confused with the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles) presents a fantastic calendar booked with up-and-coming musicians. Hosting the Local Natives to other well-known artists such as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s, this venue has luckily managed to witness several generations worth of crazy antics. A complete renovation of the structure in 2012 has continued the ongoing attempt to restore the historic art scene in Santa Ana.

Dr. Dog took stage Friday, January 29 at 9.30 PM. Formed in West Grove, Pennsylvania, the boys have taken the music scene by storm since the late ‘90s with a psychedelic kick-back vibe. Strong influences from the subtlety popular Beach Boys have molded their sound into what it is today. Their reminiscent 1960s attitude jibes perfectly with what California is known for best: music and surf.

– Kat Schiller

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  1. Elvin Mabborang

    I’m in a band and my bassist and his roommates go to shows here all the time. They always tell me about how great the shows are and from what I can tell, there are a wide variety of artists that perform there (ranging from hip-hop/rap artists to metal and everything in between). I was planning on seeing the band CHON play at the Observatory a while back but ended up missing it, but I might end up going this February. I really hope I can make it so I can finally experience a show at this venue, it seems very promising and my interest in it has been growing since I missed my first opportunity to check it out.

  2. Elizabeth Boron-Trotter

    I have never heard of this place before since I’m not from around here. But it sounds super cool and I’d love to check it out sometime!

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