Saturday, October 19, 2013



Temecula, CA – When a band goes on hiatus, what do the musicians do? Having talent and drive to 
play music in public isn’t a product made and distributed, cut and paste? Last night’s all ages music show at The Vault, headlining Andrew W.K., answered that question in spades while providing yet another music memory for the scene here.

So what does the lead-in picture to the right have to do with this story? Well, the guy in the picture, Ivan of The Vault Concerts, is the guy who put Temecula on the music map for young rockers as the ‘official’ Andrew W.K. black tour tee showed on the back, for among stops like Portland, Chicago, Denver, St. Louis, Detroit, and Cleveland, is Temecula, CA, Oct. 18. Woohoo!!

In relation to the opening question, the band Ascension, latest winners of the Vault’s long-running Band Wars series that spotlights rising regional talent, started their band life resume by opening for Andrew W.K. And open they did.
Bringing a healthy following that was augmented by old and new fans, even some parents turned out, the new band who joked about being ‘mates’ for the last two months, delivered well crafted songs bounded by dual lead guitar work, and the showmanship that comes from playing to a big crowd at a real show [not a competition]. The real energy put forth was reflected back by the room which was alive from the very start. I knew it was going to be one of those nights.
By the time The Infamous They took the stage, I had acquired a slight Hefeweizen from a side visit to the Black Market Brewing side. Now sporting a big sign announcing the location, our once cool, read downlow, beer spot is now hot.
Just before the opening notes of The Infamous They, fronted by Paul Bahou (Inverse, now on hiatus), I picked up the debut 4 song self-titled CD Ascension and noticed these ‘cheesy’ plastic frames with the words ‘Get Up!’ on the right lens and ‘Get Loud!’ on the left in various colors in the darkened room. For some reason, the scene with all the mice in sunglasses as Wallace & Grommet blast off to the moon [Wallace & Grommet Go To The Moon] came to mind.

The Infamous They are T-town’s hipster band. The group Paul started with gf Melissa (keys/vox) and three other musicians before winding up with brother Dan on drums to round out the roster has played for about a year now. The band is due to release a CD in November and their audience from Bratt’s where they play many Saturdays, took up places along the front as the crowd reorganized. It was another solid set.

The Coltranes, a band I first saw at Vic’s Warehouse back in the day part two, were up next, and before I left to get ‘last call’ at the Market, I took time to notice how ‘adult’ the band members look now in comparison to the kids I first saw that night long ago. It may seem overly sentimental, but coming to this area and becoming a part of the youth music scene by reporting it helped ease the pain of not having my young family around. That night at Vic’s, I watched the parents glow as they watched their son’s first public performance. Now the guy setting up his drums looks old enough to get married. Time flies. Meanwhile The Coltranes have embraced the vinyl record market by releasing a number of pictorial label albums.

Rolling back in fully Heffed from a Market offer I couldn’t refuse, I caught the last song from Strike Twelve’s punk rock set, ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’. Dan, Paul’s brother doing double duty on drums.
In reference to the story’s opening question, ST is a band still going strong. Releasing on a small label, the band, members since high school, opted instead to write music and perform [while pursuing ‘default world’ values of college and career] rather than ‘get signed’. As such, the no-frills, ever engaging crowd fave recently released their strongest CD to date, the scene acclaimed ‘Moonshine’, reviewed here as 4.5 tokes out of five. (Yeah, it’s that good – Ed)
On a personal note, this hometown group is one of the bands I have known the longest. Lead vox/frontman Matt brought me back from Occupy LA after seeing Fat Mike (NOFX) there in the park. He is also allowing me to record Memoirs to audio at his studio.
I watched opening acts before ST with Joe, bass/vox, who told me that he enjoyed the book, which he read in 3 days on a cross-country trip.
“Three Days? I don’t know if I could read it in three days,” I joked back. I also talked with Andy, lead guitar/backing vox, about how the band that mixes music with unique off stage endeavors can play so well together, completely masking any other identity except rock musician. Dan, who I did catch a words with between his drumming stints, was wearing a tee shirt that said in big bold letters, ‘Cup Killer’ alluding to his prowess at beer pong and the group’s rocking track ‘The Beer Pong Song’. As the members were there with their gfs and on best behavior, the band seemed more Partridge Family in demeanor than their usual Klampett Cutups. Holy WTF, Batman, domestication?

Perhaps the most intriguing surprise of the night came from a puzzle affecting a segment of the current nightlife music loving crowd around T-town and vicinity. That mystery concerns two bands, Master Splinter and The Shredders, and the Midnight Satellites. Being in the music scene here only part-time now I became aware of the mystery at show time. Being ‘me’ I also had the solution shortly after show time. Both of the bands are the same; one does covers – MSATS, and the other MS, has the same lineup but plays all original material.
In relation to the opening question, Sal (Inverse, ditto) had at least three other band stints and hails originally from the east coast, a look he still carries. When Inverse went on hiatus, Sal formed MSATS with members from another T-town thunder wonder, Dark Haven, the band that launched the modern underground music scene in town at Madlins Coffee Shop.
In the few years that MSATS has been formed, the band has gained a solid foothold in the bar scene demo and draw a crowd wherever they appear. The stage repoire among the band and the audience, repoire gained from the all ages music shows played in previous groups, made the band an instant hit with the south Temecula crowd. After that it was Front Street and shitkickers. MSATS rocked them. Lately the guys, can’t be called ‘boys’ anymore, have answered the call of the grape stompers. They are playing all over in the burbs, even at the latest hip place on this end of town, The Shamrock, again next month. Tonight as I pen these words, Sal is enjoying his engagement party, announcing his coming July 2014 nuptials. I wished him congrats and reminisced about Madlins with Brennan (2nd lead guitar, vox) and his brother Ryan (bass) before their set.

In late 1989 my music adventures stopped shortly after my last wife, the Wiccan [witch] entered my life. It would be 2001 before I delved back into the music/artist/band side of life. It was during this period that many of the bands I see at The Vault made an entrance and had a music career of note. Andrew W.K. came a few years after my return to covering the music scene but still I never caught a note of his fame. As I waited in the darkened room in anticipation feeling the building excitement, I realized that I was the only person to have such a viewpoint. Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, approximately 20 young fans and two of the world’s 3 oldest teenagers, had gathered in a bunch nestled behind the merch tables, all wearing these cheesy ‘Get Up! Get Loud!’ glass frames logoed by Ascension.

Then the moment came and in walks Andrew W. K. looking exactly as he does in his YouTube vids, a large bald ‘genie in a bottle’ looking man accompanied him with a second standup mike, and his keyboard. Though normally busy as a band, AWK had time to book the six to eight week Party Messiah Tour while the rest of the band pursued other matters.
Then for the next however long the set lasted, AWK blasted his way through, whipping the crowd’s huge, thick circle pit to a sweaty lather via backing tapes, the tall dark dancing stranger/backing vox atop choppy dance hooks that reminded me of Phil Upchurch’s ‘You Can’t Sit Down’. Proof positive that good hooks never die, they just get new life in a new song, like Marvin Gaye’s in Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’. 

However for me, the highlight of the evening was hearing this loud chorus singing in unison and turning to find this collection of faces in cheesy glasses choreographed perfectly with Paul and Sal plopped right in the midst. I had to point the sight out to fellow music reporter Vanessa Franko, who was in attendance the whole night with her camera. Of course my pair is green, like Mary Jane.

Once again, it was a magical night at The Vault and another memory for the poster wall décor now gracing the room’s interior. Don’t miss the 5th Annual Skalloween featuring Riverside’s Voo Doo Glowskulls, October 31st, Halloween, at The Vault, mwaaaaahhhhaaaaa!.

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