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Though it is a Sunday, the crowd gathers early at Madlins for a full six band extravaganza revue. There are two reasons for this. A majority of the bands tonight are local area bands and the schools are all closed Monday for President’s Day, Homer Simpson’s least favorite holiday. The rain storms, which have been rolling through the valley since Friday, and which spawned a mini tornado on Saturday that hit one Southside Temecula neighborhood leaving house roofs tile less and a stop sign bent at a 45 degree angle, seem to be dwindling. None of this is what has Bill, ‘Mr. FVE’, pacing back and forth, looking out the front door every ten minutes or so. Added to the show schedule just three days ago is the band who had their bass player in the final tryout run off for a slot on this year’s OZZFEST festival. That band is FINAL DRIVE. They are to open the show and they are running late!


Arriving just under the wire, FINAL DRIVE is all business as they go about setting up in a no nonsense way. The band has a different look to them in relation to most bands coming through Madlins. Rather than have a ‘scene’ look they are more reminiscent of Lynard Skynard, reflecting their small farm town roots though they now hail from St. Louis. The men however, aren’t whom my eyes are peeled for. I’m looking for the girl bass player who was chosen by MTV in their style of a ‘battle of the bands’. Striding in, axe case in hand and also showing that ‘Midwest work ethic’ in setting up, is the redhead, now blond bass player, sporting a new piercing or two, looking both thinner and taller than on the television episodes. With an attractive face and the build of a barnyard tomboy, I can see why MTV chose her as one of the eight finalists, though she had joined the band just three days prior to the New York City audition. Newest member or not, the band worked together like a family of performers and in record time, Jordan Gaw, frontman with a custom mike stand; Nathan Easter, flying ‘V’ guitar; Chris Nanney, guitar and on the show for one episode; Andy Becker, awesome drum kit; and Chelsea Muckerman, warrior bass player, were blasting out tightly timed speed metal in a more music/less thrash fashion, crouched in the classic metal mayhem stance, promoting their CD tuneage at the latest stop on this cross the country tour. Explaining the down home family feel of the band is the fact that they all grew up on farm towns located in the St. Louis region, plus Jordan and Chelsea have known each other since childhood, though neither thought they would be someday playing in a band together. This is a classy professional group, well worth the drive to see them on tour and hear some Midwest metal go screaming in the night. Tour info at their place on myspace.


Pronounced co-VETTE, this brand new, this-is-our-first-show-out-of-the-garage band, from Wildemar, CA, the next town north that borders Murrieta, jump started their public career with an ease and take charge attitude that you find in more experienced groups. Playing a blend of emo core and indie rock, this seven month old group is made up of Kyle Nixon, bass; Cory Snyder, guitar/bup screams; Drew Dunavant, drums; and Shayley B., guitar/vocals. The boys opened with an indie rock ballad and a shirtless drummer. The second song was hardcore and woke anyone who had been lulled into a false sense of Mellencamp. This song also featured a guest screamer from the audience named Mike Indie (yeah buddy, that’s his own hair, name) keeping the set surprises coming. The third song was more indie pop with a danceable beat and I just like the title of the fourth, ‘An Intimate Waltz’. I’ll be calling Drew in two weeks for a CD, but in the meantime they’re on myspace.


The crowd thinned out a bit, probably to cool off after the first two acts got done with them, but filtered back in as THE KNIFE IN IRIS, a band from Escondido, CA, just two towns south of Temecula, opened their set of rock/post hardcore music. By the third song, Freddie, Shawn, Greg, Tyler, and Jack have pulled the crowd back in and rewarmed their hash with this short set. In fact, Shawn, the drummer, started the set out shirtless, up for taking no prisoners with his percussion keg cymbal. Garnering apt applause after each song the boys showed why they’ve played at Madlins more than once. Demo CDs were once again available to the crowd as well as black band T’s.


The crowd continued to pack back in as COERCE opened their set with a good crowd repoire and hard driving full of energy songs to get the crowd head bopping. The very respectful band made up of members from Riverside to Temecula delivered plenty of screamo hardcore but kept the lid on the roused energy this performance. Landis Scott, frontman; Gary Cuellar, lead guitar/add vocals; Ryan Besemer, bass; Stephen Lambert, guitar; and Donovan Carcioppolo, drums, are all about having a fun time doing what they love, making music, pleasing fans, and oh yes, accepting groupies that best fill out the Dimension Clothing T’s from their sponsor. Except for Landis, his slot is full. Who’s getting his overflow is what I want to know. Maybe I’ll find out at their space on myspace.


Sharing the same sponsor, Dimension Clothing, and the same equipment on stage, the friends of COERCE, LA LUNE opened up with electronic looping intros to a packed house of close-in fans. Packing an old time Shire radio mike, the frontman bounced between the two rook positioned guitars doing double duty by providing some additional vocals. Rounding out their wall of sound was an added sixth member on keyboards, remember the ‘looping’ mentioned earlier? Once again this is a another good live band to see perform up close and personal, at Madlins. LA LUNE also has thrilled fans here doing this anniversary year just celebrated and ‘the moon’ shines on myspace, of course.


Also from myspace and Moreno Valley, CA, which is just south of Riverside along the I-215, came Nick Guenzler (drummer), John Martinez (guitar/bup vocals), brother Nick Martinez (frontman), Tristan Whaley (lead guitar), and the shortest member of the band, on bass, David Martinez, no relation, sporting a ‘fro that must add a good twelve inches to his height. All dressed in black T’s, the boys put out some melodic hardcore (good mosh music) displaying some nice duo rhythm riffs and Nick’s neck veins a popping. They drew energetic applause from the slightly thinned down crowd with their good tight tempos and played a new song from their CD that had a good headbanger beat, egged on by the dual frenzy of John and David. Out of breath still while tearing down, “we just played a sold-out show last night at the Showcase (Theater in Corona, CA) and DARK HAVEN is our new favorite band. Those guys rocked the place!! - PT ROTHSCHILD

This ended the three night anniversary event marking the first year of shows brought to Temecula, CA, by


“giving you the full value in all that we do” – Bill Gould

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