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Lit: HOB Anaheim 10 Year Anniversary Series (Review)

You know you’re getting old when you can remember where you were ten years ago.  Me, I was at the grand opening of the House of Blues in Anaheim in Downtown Disney.  Why was I there?  Lit was there.  Lit were opening up the venue with two sold out shows Friday and Saturday night.  If memory serves me correctly.  I was there and so was my entourage.  It was a great double header and kicked off what would be one of the more popular and intimate venues for live music in Orange County.  Fast forward this to the 10th Anniversary, and here we are.   I was still recovering from the Social Distortion show a couple of nights earlier, but made mention of this show to my girlfriend to see if she wanted to go.  I had totally forgotten and thought that Lit had already played earlier in January.  I’m glad that was not the case.  I scooped up the tickets when I got home from the Social D. show.   It would be on for Saturday night.  We drove out from L.A. to Anaheim with plenty of time to spare. We grabbed some food at one of the Downtown Disney eateries before making our way to the venue.

Once inside the venue we got ourselves some Jameson whiskey and began watching the opening bands play.  There were two opening bands that played. The first band was called Alevela.  Alevela was pretty damn cool!  They’re a hard rock/metal outfit that crank out the tunes with heart and ease.  They even performed a cover of Lady Ga-Ga’s “Bad Romance” which made everyone feel happy.  What makes them unique is that they have a keyboard/synthesizer player who takes lead.  They have a very multi-layered set-up.  I wish we could have gotten there earlier to check them out from the beginning.

When Alevela finished up their set me and the GF went further into the floor area.  The second band up was called Runner Runner. This is where it got kind of painful, because my music sensibilities never deviated to pop.  They sucked, in my honest opinion.  It was too bubble gum-pop for my (our) tastes.  I think my GF hated them more than I did.

Picture by DREW A. KELLEY, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

After Runner Runner got off the stage it was now time for Lit to take over and show the youngsters how it was done.  The lights when down, the feedback and bass hum kicked in and the boys exploded onto the stage.  Time had stood still.  I was transported back to my younger days and the band had not skipped a beat.  Lit cruised effortlessly from song to song as if they had never been on a hiatus.  This was the first time the band played at this venue since the death of their original drummer and founding member Allen Shellenberger.  It was a debut show of sorts.  Nathan Walker was the new man on the skins with an even newer addition to the band in Ryan Gillmor who would handle additional guitar and keyboard duties for the band.

Lit played an electrifying set which included old school material mixed in with newer tunes.  I must say that the new stuff sounds GREAT!  Word has it, or at least according to the band, that writing and recording is currently taking place with a new album to be released this summer.  Stay tuned for the official announcement right here on Why So Blu.  After the initial assault on our senses from the first section of songs, the lights went dim and three cellists appeared before us on the center stage.  Jeremy and A.Jay Popoff (guitar and vocals) played a special tribute song to their fallen brother in rock with a special photo album playing on the plasma screens.  It was very cool and heartfelt.

Me and my family with A.Jay back in the day!

After the touching acoustic/classical tribute ended the boys came back out and proceeded to annihilate us with a few more songs before calling it a night.  They ended the show with “My Own Worst Enemy.”  I looked at my watch and after it was all set and done Lit’s performance only lasted about an hour and forty minutes.  That was kind of short, but then again I am spoiled when it comes to bands that I want to see. I want an epic run time, but understand why a just under two hour show is needed.   Now how did Lit do overall? That’s a loaded question, but I’ll be as impartial as I can.  The brothers in arms Jeremy and A.Jay havent’ slowed down for anything.  They’re beasts.  They own the stage.  No lie.  Kevin Baldes (bass) gets down with a pick and fingers, and never missed a beat.  Although I did see a Youtube clip of him doing a Highway to Hell cover which was pretty impressive.  The new guys, and how did they do?  Nathan Walker (drums) played his heart out and never missed a fill.  Ryan Gillmor (guitar and keyboards) was cool, but got kind of shy towards the very end during the Lit pyramid.  Nervous?  I don’t know, but he blushed.

Me and my family with Jeremy back in the day.  I have a goatee just like that one. 😉

In wrapping up I will break it down to its bare skeleton.  The show rocked.  The band is back, sound great, and have  a renewed sense of enthusiasm.  I can’t wait for the new record which (I hope) comes out this summer.  I hope people give them a chance, because the true fans (like me) will be here waiting.  They made Big Al proud.

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

4 Responses to “Lit: HOB Anaheim 10 Year Anniversary Series (Review)”


  1. Brian White

    Awesome!

    I would have loved to hear their rendition of Bad Romance! How did it sound?

  2. Jen

    The show rocked! And much agreed the band looked and sounded liked they did back in the day! Can’t wait for the new album! I disagree tho about Runner Runner, thought they were cool … whatev tho! I was there for Lit! 🙂

  3. Gerard Iribe

    Hahaha, thanks Jen. I’m an old ass, so that’s probably why I we didn’t care about Runner Runner. We were there for Lit. If anything, Runner Runner should have opened first and Alevela should have played second.

  4. Greg

    I wish I could have been there. I met Lit in Omaha Ne and partied with them all night in their bus. Al was the coolest, nicest person you would have ever met. Just like all of the LIT band. I cannot wait for their CD to come out.