Dreamcar has fun with fans at its live debut in Santa Ana – Orange County Register

There was a positive energy in the air Wednesday night as fans lined up outside of the Observatory in Santa Ana, waiting to be let inside the venue’s smaller 300-capacity room, The Constellation Room, for the live debut of Dreamcar.

For all of the buzz surrounding the Southern California supergroup featuring Davey Havok of AFI and Blaqk Audio and Tom Dumont, Adrian Young and Tony Kanal of Orange County’s own No Doubt, there was still a lot of mystery. What would this band really sound like? Would there be chemistry among the members in a live setting? Until Wednesday night, the only taste the quartet offered the general public was its rockin’, ‘80s-infused single, “Kill for Candy,” which has been regularly played on KROQ 106.7 FM since it dropped on March 2.

Watch Dreamcar’s ‘Kill for Candy’ music video debut

Friends, family and fans of the band packed tightly into the venue and as the lights dimmed and a thin haze engulfed the space, Dreamcar hit the stage and got right to it with “After I Confess,” the first track on its forthcoming self-titled album, officially due out Friday, May 12. With the help of two female backup singers and a seriously talented female multi-tasking keys and saxophone player, the music throughout the evening was rich and filled with many interesting layers that showcased each of the players’ defined musical chops.

Though the audience was being treated to all 12 never-before-heard tracks from the new record (plus a couple of covers) there weren’t too many simply filming each song in the set on their phones, but rather listening intently. It was refreshing to see a room full of people just really living in the moment , swaying along to each song, taking it all in and exchanging smiles and quick glances with their friends as a nod of approval to some of their favorites.

Fans weren’t the only ones sharing subtle glances. The guys on stage would grin when certain songs would get a positive response from the crowd. Those moments were noticeable during clear standouts like the disco-sounding “The Preferred,” the drum-driven “All of the Dead Girls” and “Do Nothing,” which Havok prefaced by letting the audience know not to “take this personally” as the top of the chorus is “You do absolutely nothing for me / You do nothing for me / Nothing / You do absolutely nothing for me.”

Overall the sound was tight and the chemistry was evident, the band members playing well off of one another and actually looking like they were having a good time. Havok was 100 percent in his element, maintaining a commanding stage presence while flawlessly tackling a variety vocal styles, each far different from anything he’s already known for.

Kanal, who perhaps was sporting the biggest grin of them all, was a beast on his bass and Dumont was seriously showcasing some skill, playing everything from pop, rock and blues on his guitar, truly shining during some quick stand-alone moments on individual tracks.  Young started out the night fully clothed, but as any fan of No Doubt knows, he’ll eventually strip down as the room heats up. At least on this night he kept his pants on, but man were his drums loud. He’s a mighty force behind that kit.

To help fill in the little over an hour-long set, the guys added a cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream.”

“That was by the most important person,” Havok said following the song. “We miss you dearly.”

At the end of the night, the band pulled out a three-song  encore which included a cover of INXS’ “Don’t Change,” the album-closing track “Show Me Mercy” and it wrapped up with the only song this crowd could actually sing along to, “Kill for Candy.”

Dreamcar will play the Constellation Room again tonight, April 6, before heading to do two sold-out nights at the Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood on Tuesday, April 11 and Wednesday, April 12. It will also be making its festival debut out at Coachella in Indio on Saturday, April 15 and Saturday, April 22.

Opening for the supergroup was yet another local supergroup, Sharp/Shock featuring Davey Warsop of Suedehead and Beat Union fame, Dan Smith of The Dear & Departed and drummer Korey Kingston of the Aggrolites and Suedehead. Smith is also a noted tattoo artist, having appeared on Kat Von D’s TLC reality show “LA Ink.” He is now the owner of Captured Tattoo in Old Town Tustin.

The trio set the pace for an energetic evening, playing catchy punk rock cuts from its debut, “Unlearn Everything,” which dropped last summer on Alkaline Trio’s label, Heart&Skull Records. Rapidly the group delivered on “I Don’t Wanna Be a Millionaire” and “Sub Society” and rounded out the set with “Infatuation,” a cover of “Police on My Back,” which was famously recorded by the Clash, and closed out with the crowd rousing “Troublemaker.”

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