Two Steps Forward, One Back in All-Ages Club Scene


With the Ice House in Fullerton no longer an outlet for grassroots bands, local promoters are finding new Orange County venues for punk and alternative rock shows.

John Pantle, who had presented several shows at the Ice House, is launching a Saturday night all-ages concert series dubbed Viva Las Vegas at the Tunnel dance club in Orange.

Based on a sold-out March 4 concert there by Korn, Pantle gives the 640-capacity club higher marks for sound quality and staging than the echoing Ice House, where the show was originally scheduled. He moved the show when Fullerton officials recently revoked the Ice House’s entertainment permit after stabbings at shows in December and February.

Booked at the Tunnel are a ska bill March 25 (with Hepcat, the Pietasters, Stretch Armstrong, Buck O Nine, Meal Ticket and the Aquabats), alternative rock on April 15 (with Game Face, Schleprock and others) and an April 22 concert by punk mainstays D.I., with Ignite and Drain Bramaged. Shows start at 7 p.m. The club is at 612 N. Eckhoff St., (714) 323-8683.


Another new venue for all-ages concerts is Side by Side Rinks, a skating emporium in Huntington Beach. Promoter Steve Mattus is using a 400-capacity room there for a series of Friday night concerts. The inaugural ska show March 10 was a sellout. Tonight, the Ziggens, Larry, Reel Big Fish and Emission play, and on March 24, Sprung Monkey, Ten Foot Pole, the Line and General Zod perform. Side by Side is at 16091 Gothard St. (714) 842-9143.

Meanwhile, the Firecracker Lounge in Anaheim will no longer book all-ages shows by bigger-drawing local bands and will return to a more mellow, alternative-rock format for the over-21 crowd.

“It was a nice experiment, but unfortunately the kids got kind of rowdy,” said promoter Tom Dumont. The Firecracker continues at its host restaurant, Cattleman’s Wharf, but in perhaps less sizzling form. Dyke Bridge and New Sheridans play Sunday night. (714) 289-0760 (tape) or 533-1622 (restaurant).