Monday, January 14, 2013



Temecula, CA – The intended result of turning the Temecula bar establishment called Bratts into an adult version of the long gone scene blossom Java Joz took another turn in the right direction with the acoustic show Strike Twelve put on Saturday night. Of course it wasn’t just the usual fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, crowd-pleasing performance by the guys that put Bratts closer to the fabled old scene center.
As often spoke about in the days of Java Joz, it was a combination of hot, fresh music and a set of gifted, talented youth troubled with today’s common maladies, like ADHD, OCD, BPD, raised up in Christian homes but bearing as much baggage as a certain scene historian, and some with even more, think Bipsy, the scene Saint.
This combination of unique people fused the original, political, sexually charged pubescent music that sparked in the underground, read local, music scene, creating an escape to wonderland for us all.

Saturday night at Bratts two old faces were in the crowd, among many others, Charles (pirate, Java Joz) and Jackie Findl (talent buyer, Madlins), and one new, ‘Welcome, Vanessa’ [not old ‘Vanessa, the door bitch’- Ed]

Following a soulful reggae set by Indica Roots, Kyle Mcneill did an acoustic turn reminiscent of JJz, and following Strike Twelve the indie band Poetics fresh from a recent BoB Vault show thrilled their fan base with a performance that extended beyond the minimal stage platform.

But for me, besides the engaging courtside soiree going on at my end of the bar, it was Strike Twelve that I was there to see play acoustic, courtesy of the remaining DBS boy, my wingman for the evening.

As the top photo shows, Strike Twelve is now a four piece band but back in the day, it was a three piece punk pop band, not the reverse. This night the band was back to trio status because Dan, the drummer, was at another gig, PLAYING IN HIS BROTHER’S BAND. Once before years ago Dan missed a gig for similar reasons and the crew played an acoustic set. Matt, the main singer of the band, again let the audience know of his scorn by snide, but comical remarks. The remarks are funny jibs to those who know the band members and Dan was there before the night ended, but one thing many people don’t know, outside the personal friends, is what Matt said during some cross talk with the audience. In essence, despite how talented the guys are onstage as musicians, one band member is a practicing doctor in Orange County, one member is in Med school, and the other two are college grads who work in their fathers’ industrial enterprises. Not your average band member profile I don’t think.

And talented they are, and have been since the days at Madlins when they were still in high school. They would connect to an audience through an ‘Aw Shucks’ smile from Matt, the witty repertoire from Joe [bass] who also sings and writes some of their catchy tunage, and Dan ‘a banging on them drums like a chimpanzee’ (Money For Nothing). Though ST wasn’t ‘workin’ at that point in time either, their natural talent and smooze always made them a crowd (scene) favorite in spite of their lack of band practices.
When they tightened up in the JJz years, recognizing that they did indeed rock, the band and crowd gelled even more. Later when Andy, Joe’s brother, filled in and then joined the band, the band sound was complete. Fat Mike posed for pictures with only three people the day he and his guitar player plus a drummer played LA’s city hall park during Occupy’s last Sunday. Matt of Strike Twelve was one of them.

Onstage for the acoustic set were Andy seated with a Spanish guitar, Matt standing in the middle, his customary spot in the band lineup, playing his black acoustic Ovation, and Joe on the wing clutching a black with white trim, four string acoustic bass.
The 12 song selection included a number of new releases like San Francisco, The Coast, a road trip rocker, Zom B Nation II, and Toilet, the latest comedy jingle-flavored, self-effacing, put-upon, everything-i-touch-turns-to-shit punk rock ‘n’ roll song off ST’s November 2012 released CD, Moonshine, on Felony records. This CD includes a number of serious themed songs like All A Riot (heartbreak/drama duet with Tawnie sans The Replacements), Washed Away (drug overdose, see Hillbilly Heroin – archives), and Unity, a 99% anthem, showing the guys have matured past typical punk rants to political social comment punk.

The remainder of the set had the boys doing songs with a more hedonistic (these are college grads, therefore not vulgar just libertine) motif that were prior releases though some are remastered and on Moonshine. These gems would include The Beer Pong Song, a reality TV show theme song waiting to happen and the song that used to make me blush at JJz shows, Daddy’s Little Girl, plus the high school locker room plea Bad Sex, a hilarious send-up to awkward teenage sex years.

Though the songs are familiar and available on CDs in their plugged-in amplified versions, to see/hear the band play these songs acoustic A cappella, each person strumming, picking, singing, up close and personal just inches above the floor, being amplified by the old JJz equipment first used by Johnny, original owner of Java Joz, added that old magic to a band that keeps kicking ass with new music that’s relevant and catchy. Watch Strike Twelve locally next at The Vault with Buck-O-Nine, Feb. 8, 2013.

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