Monday, May 14, 2012



Temecula, CA – It isn’t often you see a Disneyland band in Temecula. Normally you see a ‘Disneyland band’ at Disneyland, especially a band that plays Disney classics. But the guys of Suburban Legends took a day off after their ‘day job’ to come down to The Vault Saturday night. On April 3, 2012, the band released its fifth full-length album, Day Job. It includes new songs, four re-recorded tracks from Going on Tour, a collaborative track with rapper Lyrics Born, as well as two Disney covers, "Under the Sea" from The Little Mermaid and "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" from The Lion King, which have been long-time staples of the band's live performances. For anyone who read Vanessa Franko’s short piece about the Skatastic Saturday show at The Vault and wondered, eh? Well, I’m here to fill in the blanks.

In a nutshell, everyone who knows Suburban Legends, the rock/ska show band that has played at Disneyland for over ten years, and saw the Vault show is glad they did. The entire night was solid but there is no doubt that headliners Suburban Legends lived up to that title in trumps. However, SL left impressed with our little town scene too.

Back in the day when the underground music scene was first starting at Madlins, the original teen/young adult aka ‘all ages’ venue in town, an advantage was seen that wasn’t available to 99% of the rest of the nation’s small to midsized towns; our proximity to Hollywood and Los Angeles. This location factor thus brought in many a band on tour, who when they stepped through the door and saw the size of the place [roughly double the stage size of The Vault], would pause at playing a show, especially at the beginning of ‘the scene’ when there was no buzz about the Temecula underground music shows. But after said show when that same band was catching their breath, talking and posing for pics with fans, you’d see them look around and say, ‘wow, that was amazing.’

With Madlins it was the sheer intimacy of the place but with The Vault it is intimacy and the genuine eagerness of the ‘hometown’ crowd. The night started off with Real Big Tits, another flash back to the Madlins days in that this band in its present lineup had just been formed, Band 101, First Day. Of course at the other end of the musical spectrum of the night were the headliners, Suburban Legends. The diversity of the crowd’s age range showed the cultural popularity among local Disney/SL fans. 

Farabee was next followed by Defunked, who had advance copies of their new CD, Dirty Stinking Rats produced by Matt -(The Maxies, The Vault Concerts)- for sale ahead of the planned ‘drop date’. Huntington Beach’s Save The Swim Team was followed by The Skank Agents, another regional ska band, who played a spirited set and finished priming the crowd for SL. Meanwhile a massive ‘circle pit’ had formed over a night that had no drama, just a Disney Shaggy Dog* feel. Several members from SL ventured into the Vault as the night progressed to observe the ‘circle pit’ which grew in size as the night wore on.

Many Ska bands manage to get by on the strength of their live shows and nonstop touring. Suburban Legends who hail Santa Ana, CA from took this to a whole new level in the years following their formation. With ridiculously complicated choreographed stage performances they landed a ‘day job’ at Disneyland. Managing to play multiple sets daily, performing over 960 shows outdoors in Downtown Disney to passer-by crowds in a single year, aside from a touring schedule doesn’t necessarily jade you, but you become ‘professional’. SL ska hit T-town but T-town ska lovers hit back. Before the night was over, Suburban Legends blew the Vault open with a sweat-drenched encore. 

The Vault’s hospitality is comfortable, laid-back, and first class. Visiting headliners always appreciate that.

The band's lineup has changed around over the years but the instrument placement probably hasn’t so as to accommodate for maximum musical mayhem onstage. Flanking the band wings are the guitars, bass far right and guitar (lead) closest to the left onstage displaying a Flying ‘V’ with the horns, two trumpets and a trombone boxed in-between, all in front of a drummer, who, if you can bring yourself to look past the front performing ska line, is putting on quite a show himself without leaving his seat.

Engaging and with great merch, this is the current lineup slatted to tour with Reel Big Fish (another Vault alum) to support the [return to ska-pop] ‘Day Job’ CD release; Vincent Walker, lead vox, 2nd trumpet, guitar, and an original who started as trumpet only with the band’, frontman position; to his left is Brian Robertson, trombone, b/up vox, and a master of welding the instrument like a staff through the air. He is also a very cool merch master, an original with an unbroken string of service in the band. Flanking the flashing trombone is Brad Polidori, handling the bass in a ‘guitar hero’ fashion, and the newest band member, also b/up vox.

‘A banging them drums is Derek Rock, the band’s third and longest running drummer, also b/up vox. To the right of the ever moving frontman is the first trumpet, Aaron Bertram, an original that recently [2009] rejoined the band. The trumpet he plays has a flowing blue/black art design instead of the typical brass finish which is indicative of the performer’s stage location; here, there and back again. When he’s not tooting his horn, twirling or tossing it while dancing in line-up rotation, he is crooning b/up harmony with or without a mike, even delivering a song in the encore. And licking it old school on lead Flying ‘V’ is tall man Brian Klemm, also vox. Like Derek, he is the third person to play that instrument position but is more long term even than Derek.

The line-up is solid and both James, Vault owner, and Ivan, Vault talent procurer, were impressed by the showmanship of the group’s stage performance. If there was ever a group who demonstrates the old Bucky Montgomery adage, ‘live music is your best entertainment value’, it is Suburban Legends. They are legends for a reason and they do play Disneyland, a place built on a show.

Catch this band on tour if you love ska, or just love a great show with music you can dance to, Suburban Legends, on tour with Reel Big Fish and other ska heavyweights. Check their facebook for details.
( *- inside joke to my barber about needing a haircut)

No comments:

Post a Comment