MADLINS CHRISTMAS KICKOFF
Current mood: happy
It’s a Friday night, the first one since KEENWILD has been back in town off the DUSTY ROADS TOUR. Full Value Entertainment and Madlins are kicking off the Christmas Holiday Season with a special treat, something sweeter than fruitcake but not as heavy, the Vista Murrieta High School Choir. Though the outside temp is in the 50’s, inside the air is filled with early bird Christmas Cheer, anxious classmates, and parents. The room has one other addition. A Christmas tree now stands in the window/wall corner, its all-white strands of lights adding a ‘frosty’ texture to the subdued glow from the red, blue, yellow, and black light ceiling spots.
SET 1 – KEENWILD
KW’s Bill and Jeney opened a nice kick back four song set that showed what performing on a regular basis is all about. Jeney’s vocals flowed effortlessly through each song with a smoothness that reminds me of my old SS 396 when I would put a tank full of ‘premium in and take her up to 90. We would just cruise on down the road once the carbon was blown off the plugs. Jeney’s ability to hit the proper tonal quality seemed more natural this set because there was no ‘carbon’ in her pipes. “Better than Phoenix,” yelled Big Joe at the end of ‘Rivers’. It was a shame we only got four songs out of her and Bill, who seems to have found the correct guitar balance to best compliment Jeney’s vocal range.
SET 2 – THE VISTA MURRIETA HIGH SCHOOL CHOIR
If there is just one thing that visually says, “Christmas is here,” besides the tree, it has to be the color of the clothes, especially sweaters. The ones that Jennifer, the choir director and her keyboardist have on say ‘Merry Christmas’ in a Board of Education sort of way. I found myself flashing back to my own childhood, as my mother also was a teacher. And just as on Christmas’ past, nothing is sweeter than a Christmas choir. After a brief warm-up with some scale work, the 12 member choir set off down a tune highway that had a lot of great old chestnuts and some new numbers like, ‘Christmas On The Beach In Malibu’ that made you feel that you watching a teenage choir from one of those great Hollywood musicals, the harmony and professionalism were of that caliber. The ethnicity of the choir looked as though designed by Walt Disney himself, proving again that great voices are given by God’s Discretion, not by a color chart. FVE donated $60.00 to the coffers of the VMHS Choir. Also great scarves gang.
SET 3 - THE AMERICAN HERITAGE
Once again Kyle, late of Dark Haven, and his partner Chase, sang songs upbeat and styled for a coffee house scene. The first two songs featured Kyle on electric and Chase on acoustic, with a trade-off of vocals on each song. In the classic one stands and the other one sits arrangement, Kyle stands and Chase sits. The musical versatility of the duo brings to mind early Simon and Garfunkel in that each is talented playing and carrying a tune. Although the band is in the early stages of gearing up, it is nevertheless very entertaining to watch these two musicians perform live. and the songs are engaging.
SET 4 – THE BLENDERS
Keeping the all local talent night record in tact was Temecula’s latest ‘secret’ band, THE BLENDERS, a rocking throwback to the roadhouse sound of people like Mitch Ryder and Bob Seegar. Harkening back to the days before THE SPOONBILLS, when I was in high school, a band called THE MIDNIGHTERS that later became the basis for RCA’s NEW BIRTH, used to open with an instrumental, just to kind of introduce the band to the audience. A number of other honky tonk rock ‘n’ roll bands also opened sets like this, and to my surprise, so did THE BLENDERS. As proud papas stood around in their leather jackets, looking much like a group of gentleman Harley riders, you could feel that seeing and hearing their young kids making old school, good original old school type tunes, was the source of their pride. Sounding like a cross between Bjorn and Grace Slick is frontwoman Shannon Kilpatrick, sister to Brandon of DARK HAVEN, playing the piano chops is Paul Ellingson, electric lead guitar is Joe Encee, and the Workman brothers, Matt and Taylor, rock the rhythm section on drums and bass respectively. Having only been together a year, this is a good band that can only get better. (see CD review).
SET 5 – MYSTERY HANGUP
Once again down from Orange County the all girl band MYSTERY HANGUP, fronted by Cat, entertained the crowd with its brand of Tex-Mex Inner-City Alternative rock. Rather than have the easy out with some commercial/radio friendly tunes, MH adds visuals to their original tunes through Cat’s interpretive singing ala ‘torch singers’ and the band’s unique look, with the bass and guitar players post grunge and a drummer who works out. Unfortunately, a guitar was left behind back in the O.C. so MYSTERY HANGUP did a short set of only four songs. It was to their credit that they drove down after discovering the missing guitar and did the four songs rather than just canceling as some bands would have done.
- PT ROTHSCHILD