Blast Off with the Cosmonauts

courtesy of Savannah P

Courtesy of Savannah P

Imagine a storage unit, once filled to the brim with forgotten family treasures, discarded household essentials, trinkets and tokens of days long gone. But instead of such a hodgepodge of extraneous décor, this particular unit shelters strangely beautiful paintings, trendy hobo-looking cool kids on a stage with amplifiers and fuzz-infused live music. This is Thee Men’s Warehouse, Anaheim’s newest underground recording studio and 18-and-over venue, where Orange County studs Cosmonauts and Gap Dream played last Friday, Feb. 20.

Cosmonauts and Gap Dream are both signed to Burger Records, a Fullerton-based record store and label that over the last two years has blossomed into an international indie sensation. Their shows sell out massive local festivals, such as the annual Burgerama and Beach Goth, but it is the smaller more intimate gigs that fans cherish most.

“Last time I saw Cosmonauts was at the Echo a while ago so I’m excited to see them here at a new venue,” said third-year film and media studies major and Burger Records aficionado, Evelyn Martinez.

Thee Men’s Warehouse welcomed a brigade of hiply-dressed eccentrics ranging from chic women in fur coats to beach bum dudes in Hawaiian shirts and silly hats. Throughout the night, David Lynch’s cult classic film “Inland Empire” was projected onto the wall behind the stage, bathing the performers in bizarre shots of actress Laura Dern’s distraught face and adding a fantastical cinematic quality to the show.

Gap Dream, aka Gabe Fulvimar of Fullerton, kicked things off with a solo DJ set of his album “Shine Your Light.” His music can best be described as the soundtrack you would want playing as you set off on a voyage to outer space. Dreamy, interstellar electronic sounds coupled with his monotone, grisly vocals cast a spell over the crowd, as everyone swayed and bopped their way through his brief set.

Cosmonauts set the crowd off, however. The second their lo-fi, shoegaze-drenched guitars riffed throughout the Warehouse, they pulled the trigger that unleashed the rockers of Orange County. No one could stand still listening to fellow Fullerton freaks shred tracks from their latest EP “Oh, You Know.”

Songs like “Short Wave” and “Shaker” created a synchronicity amongst the crowd, leading to some more extreme acts of punk behavior. Moshing ensued, beer bottles were thrown and singer Derek Cowart took the end of their set as the perfect opportunity to demolish a chandelier with his guitar. It was the grimy cherry on top of a melted ice cream sundae with audiences cheering Cowart on until the last smash.

All of which begs the question: how does this exist in Orange County?

UC Irvine student, Darine Atassi said, “I’m surprised to know that this kind of thing is in the OC — and I grew up here!”

Turns out a 20-minute drive north of campus can bring with it a sea of new experiences and culture, one that many Anteaters may not expect or even know existed.

Jason Hedy is one such adventurer, as a UCI student who went to the show last minute without knowing either band.

Hedy said, “I don’t even know how to describe the show. It was a cool venue, with good music and an incredible crowd. I didn’t know what to expect since I mostly go to more underground hip-hop shows, but I really enjoyed it.”

Thee Men’s Warehouse has something for everybody: a small mosh pit for the angry fans, couches for the burnt-out fans and intimacy for the devoted ones, all in the actually cool Orange County.