Celebrating Mike “Gabby” Gaborno’s Life and Music – Observatory 2017
Observatory Orange County
January 15, 2017
Santos y Sinners, X-Members, Flock of Goo Goo, Manic Hispanic, and Cadillac Tramps
All of Gabby’s Bands on one stage, celebrating him and his music. A lot of people showed up at the Observatory on Sunday morning to purchase tickets and found out they were SOLD OUT! This was bitter sweet for fans that wanted to attend, but it was awesome that everybody came out to say goodbye to Gabby. All proceeds from the event and from T-Shirt sales will go to Presley Gaborno, Gabby’s son.
The parking lot was filling up fast, nobody wanted to miss any of the bands. By 7:30pm a majority of the parking was filled. When walking to the front of the Observatory, you were asked by several people if you had any extra tickets to sell. There were a lot of people that were hoping to buy tickets at the box office! After going through the lines to get patted down by security – “No bandanas, no chains!” – you entered into the Observatory to see a long line of people waiting to purchase memorial T-Shirts (it was smart to get them at the beginning of the night, they sold out most sizes by the end of the evening). As you walked toward the main concert hall you could go into the Constellation Room and visit a memorial that was set up with pictures of Gabby with his friends and family. Everybody here had a common thought and emotion, we all wanted to show our gratitude for all the years Gabby entertained us and we also wanted to contribute in some way. The main concert room had a great backdrop of Gabby smiling with a microphone in his hand, a familiar image to most every attendee. Before each band got on stage to perform, there were friends and band members that got on stage to talk about their experiences with Gabby. These were the best stories! There were anecdotes from childhood, about how Gabby and his friends bonded on a common ground of being able to rip on each other with sharp wit and an endless attack of school yard cynicism. Everybody had tales of Gabby’s generosity, kindness, compassion, and funny antics. There is a great collection of stories on the OC Weekly write-up, be sure to check out their page to read quotes by Gabby’s friends and band mates!
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen all of these bands before, it was my first time seeing Santos y Sinners, X-Members, and Flock of Goo Goo. Santos y Sinners kicked the show off with an amazing stand-up bass, harmonica, guitar, and drums in a set of blues mixed punk songs. Santos y Sinners set included Fender Bender, Guns of Brixton, Wish You Would, Mojo, and Killing Floor. As the show went on, the band grew with more members, including Jonny “2 Bags” Wikersham on guitar. Each band featured on stage appearances by Presley Gaborno and everybody was truly celebrating Gabby’s life, not mourning it. X-Members played a solid punk rock set, I really loved these guys! They have a great energy and played a good 12-14 fast-paced punk songs. Presley was right there in the middle of the band, super calm and composed. X-Members were jumping all around him. After X-Members was Flock of Goo Goo and I was caught off guard when I looked up and saw a larger than life Robert Smith of the Cure standing on the stage with Adam Ant and very 80’s guitar player and drummer. Steve Soto was amazing in all black, with bright red lipstick all over his face. Truly a sight to behold! They played a great 80’s set including I Melt With You (Modern English), Turning Japanese (The Vapors), Jenny/867-5309 (Tommy Tutone), 99 Balloons (Nena – complete with red balloons for the crowd), Don’t You Want Me? (The Human League), Come On Eileen (Dexy’s Midnight Runners), and Purple Rain (Prince). Flock of Goo Goo is a tough act to follow, but Manic Hispanic and Cadillac Tramps easily handle the task (Steve Soto makes a great cholo). The set list for Manic Hispanic included Mas Chingones, Wasted/East LA, Pay to Cum, Barrioland, Joto, Big Hyna, Llorona, Rudy Cholo, Cruise, Mex Society, and Last Teardrop. The band was introduced by Linda of the World Famous Doll Hut in Anaheim, which was a cool way to get me thinking of when we saw the band there as well as Anaheim House of Blues, it was always a good time and a great crowd. Manic Hispanic seems like the perfect outlet for Gabby’s sense of humor, every song makes me laugh. Lastly Cadillac Tramps performed and got the crowd singing along to “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” by Freddy Fender. I feel super lucky to have seen Cadillac Tramps recently at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, just a few months ago (March 2016) with some friends. We all feel the loss of Gabby and we will all miss him! “Everything is going to be ok!”