Monday, July 29, 2013

CATCHING UP TO THE COLTRANES



VAULT CROWD HARMONIZES TO ‘SWEET CAROLINE’

Temecula, CA – Music and band reviews is how I ‘broke into the press biz’ around these parts. Not commercial bands or mainstream music, but the music made by local/regional groups in the scene known as ‘All Ages’. While championing this ground level collective genre as fresh, it is seeing these bands start and progress that really warms the cuckolds of my heart as a parent from the times when I was one.

In the past two weeks, very live, up close and personal, I have witnessed the evolution of two different bands playing two separate styles of music but yielding one common result: complete crowd appeal, or more appropriately, kid appeal.

So you can imagine my surprise at singing along to the lyrics of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline with a room full of Neil Diamond 'grand kids' in a scene that looked and sounded like something from Glee. It was great, btw.




Curiously enough, the first band is one that didn’t begin at The Vault. I posted a story here about the night The Coltranes broke onto the all-ages music scene at a bare bones venue called Vic’s Warehouse, because that was what it was during weekdays. 

Even raw, first show raw, The Coltranes, locals all, demonstrated a stage presence that resonated in the kids dancing, or rather ‘pitting’ at the band’s performance. While to the casual eye, any band generating a mosh pit is generating mosh pit energy, the pit vibrates at different vibes/levels. The Coltranes connected on that first night, first time out through an honest and talented performance.
Talking with the band members after that show I was impressed at how the night’s success had grounded the three-piece in becoming professional musicians that night. As the sweat glistened in an after show sheen on the three who weren’t even out of breath, that was the moment the show biz bug bit, and you could see it in their eyes.

Each show after, the band grew in fan base while refining the initial musical stamina in driving the pit but I really wasn’t prepared for the latest installment of The Coltranes, who were playing back to back nights two zip codes, but walking distance, apart. Having put out a vinyl release and a CD in late 2011, the band has developed technically at the now common light year speed learning curve of rising bands.

Hitting the stage again at The Vault, The Coltranes lit up the stage and the pit in a way no other band did the whole night, except maybe the headliners. The stage presence, the musicianship, the energy; you could feel the room air change. The music itself seemed to flow from the trio as a single entity adding to the pit pulse, yet no one was hurt. That’s a rare magic, and again I was there to witness it.


I love the scene, especially when you get an encore of an encore. A past story I posted, Disney Band Plays Temecula/Real Big Tits Seen at Same Show, played in the top 5 as a long runner, I guessed because of the title. Beyond the joke title element, the story told of a ska band that plays Disneyland on a regular basis, and a real band named RBT playing their first show the same night at The Vault. This past Saturday both bands were back, as you can see from the poster. [Poster contains typo; Adicts tradition, don't ask]

As you can also see from the poster, Suburban Legends is a band that packs a lot of energy, and that ain’t the half of it. Update pictures may be added at a later date but take it from the poster picture, everyone moves all the time in SL. The rhythm hooks are catchy in a traditional swing party style that reflects back to the days of Huey Lewis & The News, just with a lot more energy. This is ska, not R&B. Plus, like Huey and his boys, SL is a hot-looking band. Each member could be a magazine model in looks and dress; a natural carry-over from being a Disneyland band.
But looks don’t play instruments and that is the other feature which can get overlooked. The SL members onstage are trained professional musicians, gifted in most cases, who then learned intricate choreography in addition to flawless music making. Stir in a full portion of the band’s T-town fan base, and you get a room that sings in unison to 90% of the set list.

And yet there’s more. Add the Vault’s new club lighting which highlights both the audience and the staging area [devoid of speaker scaffolding] and mix well with a couple of Disney covers, with an extra for good measure, then sprinkle with the classic Neal Diamond chestnut that rang out like an anthem so good, so good, so good! What a night in the music scene. Though working on a full of original material, Suburban Legends looks to drop their long awaited Disney cover release sometime in October. Ska-llo-ween anyone?

And this is just where I was on Saturday night. There were good times happening all over this blessed valley musically. Sad to say however, there is no progress reported in the murder case involving local musician Larry Robinson at press time.

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