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Friday Thinks With Luke Winkie

Would Any of These Bands Actually Play the Bait Shop?

On the 10th anniversary of The O.C., we look back and ask the important questions.

Hey! It’s the 10-year anniversary of The O.C.! Feel old, millennials! The FOX drama that effortlessly universalised the indie-rock faux-culture is officially a tween, and its influence is still reverberating to this day. 2003, the year The Shins broke. The thing you remember most about The O.C. is the music. That was the point. It was a show that talked about Death Cab For Cutie in open, knowing terminology. It also operated on the premise that every hip band in the world played a club called The Bait Shop, a homely venue somewhere in the heart of Newport Beach. In retrospect the idea of some of these bands playing such a modest space is a little hard to believe, so in order to tribute our undying love for Seth Cohen, and also reflect on some of the most important(?) music of the modern era; here are the bands that played the Bait Shop, and whether or not they would actually play a real-life Bait Shop.



Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 60%

For a few years in the early 2000s it seemed like the entire entertainment industry was trying to make Rooney a big deal. Their logo looked like the California flag, they had haircuts, they have weird, semi-preposterous connections to Hollywood, and I’m sure they nurtured hopes of someday becoming The Killers. With all that baggage, I don’t think Rooney made a lot of sense for The Bait Shop, but they did make a lot of sense for The Bait Shop. I mean, if these cats were playing an actual dingy entry-level indie-rock club, they’d probably think they’re slumming it, especially with all that hot major-label momentum. This is the guy who spent a portion of his life with Mischa Barton in his greasy, leather-bound arm. But on The Bait Shop, as in, an artificial set produced by a teen soap to create the maximum apex of synergising brand-building, it makes a ton of sense for Rooney. Sure they may have flared out, but 10 years later, chiding Rooney is still fun.

*Okay so technically Rooney didn’t play The Bait Shop. It was Season One, before The Bait Shop set existed, so it was just a random club. But whatever, same difference.

The Walkmen

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 90%

I can’t even make fun of The Walkmen’s appearance on The O.C. They are a solid, professional, and well-liked indie-rock band who own the mid-level circuit, and totally deserve to be on TV. I will say that when I brought up their performance in an interview with bassist Peter Bauer a few years back, I don’t think he had any recollection of what I was talking about. I guess that’s just how it is when you’re The Walkmen.


The Killers

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 0%

No. I don’t think The Killers have spent any time even remotely associated with an “indie-rock scene” since 2002. Does that mean they didn’t want to be on TV? Absolutely not, and it might’ve convinced a few misguided teenagers into thinking that Hot Fuss was the hippest thing out, at least I did when I copped my copy off of a Starbucks display. But honestly, even if The Killers were playing 500-cap venues, does the idea of a “small, intimate Killers show” sound even remotely cool? Do you want to stare into Brandon Flowers’ cold eyes as he barrels his way through “Mr. Brightside?” Do you want to feel his seething, misguided contempt against your cheeks? Do you want to watch a pop band desperately try to convince you that they aren’t a pop band? Oh fuck, I just remembered The Killers own.

Modest Mouse

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop - ?

This is an impossible question, because before Modest Mouse actually played The Bait Shop, there was absolutely no question that Modest Mouse would play The Bait Shop. But you could make a pretty convincing argument that The O.C. is the sole reason Modest Mouse is now sub-headlining Coachella, and why they wouldn’t come close to playing anything that didn’t have an upper deck. Did making "Float On" mean that Modest Mouse had to play The Bait Shop, or did the prospect of playing The Bait Shop mean that Modest Mouse had to make "Float On?" A single tear rolls down Calvin Johnson's cheek.


The Thrills

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 100%

If you could engineer the Platonic Ideal Form of “O.C. band,” it would probably be The Thrills. Please, follow my theorem.

Cute European boys in tight jeans + music so bright and shiny it could be adequately described as Disneyland Rock + a general, ambiguous sense of “indieness” ÷ an album that debuted in the Top 10 back in the UK + absolutely no lasting cultural relevance outside of representing The O.C. itself = An O.C. Band.

In other words, I was super into The Thrills in high school.

Rachael Yamagata

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 50%

I don’t know who this is and neither do you.

The Subways

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 80%

The Subways were actually a lot like The Thrills, except I can recall even less about them. When the general public remembers Kasabian better than your band, things do not look good. That being said, their anonymity is perfect for The Bait Shop. Let’s be real, Seth Cohen did not have the best taste if he was paying money to see The Subways. I’ll cut him some slack because he was 17, and I’m sure he really figured things out in college, but come on man.

Death Cab For Cutie

Chances of Actually Playing The Bait Shop – 40%

Ah, Death Cab. The heavy-hitter. The alpha and omega of The O.C. Constantly referenced, and constantly scored, when they finally showed up to play a song (late into Season 2) the zeitgeist had already run its course. Would Death Cab For Cutie play The Bait Shop in 2005? Probably not, they were already moved on to basketball stadiums at that point, but that doesn’t even matter. I don’t think anything represented the blurry music culture of the mid-2000s better than a Death Cab For Cutie subplot on a primetime teenage soap opera.


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Chances of Actually Playing the Bait Shop – 100%


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