Constellation Room is a small, 300-person venue within the much larger dual level space of The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. The Observatory’s space used to be Hamptons (1989-1990), The Rhythm Cafe (1992-1993), Galaxy Concert Theatre (1993-2008), Revolver (2008), then the Galaxy Concert Theatre yet again from 2009-2011. Many middle-aged and older music fans who have been coming to the venue since the ’80s and ’90s are glad that they can take their children with them to shows, or that their kids are finally off at college so they can go to shows on their own again. So while The Observatory was filled with throngs of club and hip hop fans going to see DJ Quick, the Constellation Room was populated by a diverse crowd from tweendom to retirement age. One couple in their late 50s were ribbed by a playful bouncer who said he didn’t want to have to take away the lady’s fake ID in front of all these people, but because she was with her boyfriend who was obviously 25, he would let it slide.
Empires opened the night with mostly newer songs, but when they played the older track Hello Lover off Bang, the crowd went wild. Before Empires even took the stage though, many of the dads in the crowd were gushing over the group’s recent performance on the Late Show with Letterman.
It was interesting to see DJ Kamtin Mohager’s indietronica group, the Chain Gang of 1974, perform live. While the Chain Gang’s recordings are very sleek, with an almost ethereal quality to them, live, Mohager and his group had more of the frenetic chaos one would find in a pop punk band as the band members pushed their instruments and Mohager’s vocal chords to eleven. The frontman also added to the youthful punk feel by jumping around like a super ball and waving about his hair as if it were an untamable lion’s mane. At one point he even attempted to tie it back, but his locks escaped. At the end of the show Mohager thanked everyone for coming out, and that he appreciated the audience, before taking an Instagram video of the cheering fans.
Photos by Annie Lesser.