On a Saturday night in Santa Ana, I caught a sold-out punk show with The High Curbs, Goth Babe, The Side Eyes and Moss at the Constellation Room. I was most excited to check out Goth Babe, a dreamy chill-wave act sandwiched between punk and hardcore madness. To my surprise, this $10 show was sold out and the venue was fairly packed. It was clear that there were two separate crowd, as an EDM act performed in the Observatory that night.
The first act of the night, Moss, could already be heard outside the venue, their raucous punk and hardcore sounds beckoned the crowd further. The young frontman got in the pit towards the end of their set, and shared one takeaway with the audience, “you do you!”
The Side Eyes took the stage next and seemed to have quite a few supporters in the audience. Their set was 30 minutes of pure energy, and the moshing never let up. The only downside to their set were the technical difficulties with the bass. Eventually, the bassist gave in and just became the bands’ “hype man,” taking off his shirt, joining in on vocals, dancing on the stage and in the pit. Singer Astrid McDonald had an infectious stage presence, shouting and belting into the mic and hyping up the crowd. A poop emoji inflatable made its debut into the crowd. They encouraged stage diving while performing newer songs like “Get Me Out” and “Stop” and played crowd favorites like “Cat Call” and the heavier, “Don’t Talk to Me.”
It was clear that many Goth Babe fans were in attendance as the trio took the stage to cheers. The mood shifted from moshing to swaying as soon as the dreamy “Velvet Sheets” started up. They played “Early Mornings” next and the crowd grooved along to the pulsating keys. Frontman Griff Washburn took a moment to crowd surf himself as the band played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in the background. For “Dazed,” Andy from High Curbs came out and crowd surfed as well, this time using an inflatable pizza as a “surfboard.” “You guys are so excited, I love it!” Griff shared enthusiastically with the crowd. They finished their set with my favorite songs from them, “Sometimes” and “Topanga,” and their set ended all-too-soon, as the crowd cheered for an encore they unfortunately didn’t have time for.
The High Curbs took the stage next and played another heavy, loud punk set. People really got into the spirit of “Weirdos,” a slower, but screeching anthem. The most moshing took place during “Shy Around Girls.” Singer Eduardo Moreno invited the crowd to scoot in for a “cute song” as he referred to, “I Know,” which was slow and heavy. The sound shifted to a more “rocking” one for “Motor Girl,” which was a bit more ’70s-rock inspired than the other tracks, showing the band’s versatility. “Strawberry Hill” was another lighter song, with a more rockabilly feel that gave the moshers a bit of breathing room before they went into “Ghost,” the opening track of their latest EP, Tommy. For “Want,” Eduardo encouraged stage diving, and an endless sea of divers emerged. One of the cutest things I saw that night was a girl stage diving, landing gracefully in her guy’s arms and then kissing – that’s some true punk love. By the end of their set, a whole gang of people were up on stage dancing. They played a two-song encore before bidding the crowd good night.
Spotted at the exit: a deflated pizza laying on the ground.