Jesse Malin and The St. Marks Social – Steve Soto and The Twisted Hearts – Continental Band – at The Slidebar – Fullerton, CA

August 5, 2011

Jesse MalinThe overall energy this past Friday night in Fullerton was muted, which regrettably carried over into The Slidebar. (My guess is that Orange County locals are staying away from the city due to the recent death of Kelly Thomas at the hands of the Fullerton PD.) It’s unfortunate because there was a fabulous line-up that night:  Continental Band, Steve Soto and The Tainted Hearts, with Jesse Malin and The St. Marks Social headlining.

Shortly after 9pm, Continental Band took the stage. Rick Barton (formerly of Dropkick Murphys and Everybody Out!) heads up the Punk quartet with his son Stephen on the bass. Rounding out the line-up are Zack Zotos on guitar and Tommy Mazalewski on the drums (according to Rick they found Tommy in the dumpster). They opened their set with the song “No Reservation” off of their Death of a Garage Band album. The crowd, though small, started bouncing along to the gritty Boston street punk sound. With no break they went into their second song of the night as more people started to slowly trickle into the back room.

Rick switched to the acoustic guitar for the next three songs, kicking it off with the final song he wrote for Dropkick – “The Torch”. As much as I love seeing DKM perform this song, I think that the smaller (and more intimate) setting of Slidebar is how this song should be heard. They played the hell out of this tune and it was one of the highlights of their set along with the closing song “Stay With Me”. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Continental Band, I highly recommend seeing them live – their energy is high and musicianship tight.
Some of the songs played were: No Reservation, The Torch, Wrecking Ball, Gun Fight, The Truth, One Long Hard Broken Dream, Stay With Me.

Next week Continental Band is heading out for a couple of West Coast dates playing The Warped Tour. If you aren’t able to catch those shows, you can:
Listen to Death of a Garage Band:
Like on Facebook:   Follow on Twitter:

Whereas Continental was very lively and high-energy, Steve Soto and The Twisted Hearts took a more laid-back and folksy approach. The Fullerton-based band opened with “Sweet Youth” and the now larger crowd was completely focused on the performance. The Twisted Hearts are talented musicians (members also played in Royal Crown Revue, The Breeders, Face to Face, 22 Jacks) and combined with Steve’s powerful vocals and songwriting, it was a fabulous show. About halfway through their set they broke into “Down on the Left” – between the slow, swaying guitar and lyrics that contain lines like “I greet the day with confusion, face down on the floor”, I was transported back to the times I spent in Nashville.

They closed their set on a high note, finishing with the more up-tempo songs “Adios Mexico” and “Surprised”.
Set list: Sweet Youth, Exercise, Out in the Cold, Best Mistake, Stranger, West Coast, Down on the Left, Good Friends, Adios Mexico, Surprised.
Steve Soto and The Twisted Hearts can be found on:

After a short break, headliner Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social took the stage. The crowd was smaller, but what they lacked in size, they made up with enthusiasm.

The night before, Jesse and the band played the entirety of his debut solo album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, at the Key Club in Hollywood. Ryan Adams (formerly of Whiskeytown), produced that album and made a surprise appearance, joining in during “Solitaire”. The Orange County crowd was hoping for the same to happen at Slidebar, but alas, no such luck.

Picking up the acoustic guitar, Jesse and the guys jumped right in. Their second song of the night, “Burning the Bowery”, set a couple of the ladies in the front to start dancing (which they continued to do during the entirety of the rest of the set). Hovering at just this side of the middle of the show, the band started slightly melancholic cover of “Bastards of Young”. As the band continued to play in the background, Jesse told the audience a rambling (and highly entertaining) story of how he wound up going to Quintano’s School for Young Professionals, with the punch line being that it was just a front for a young male prostitution ring. With his zinger delivered, they went immediately back into the song.

After that tune (which was fantastic by the way) they picked up the pace with “Black Boom Box”. They didn’t break out many songs from the debut album, instead focusing mainly on tracks from the 2010 album Love It To Life, with a handful from Glitter in the Gutter, Mercury Retrograde, and On Your Sleeve.

(As you are all aware, Jesse was a founding member of both Heart Attack and D Generation. Starting in September of this year, D Gen will be doing a very small reunion tour which will include all of the original members. I am fortunate that I will be at Riot Fest in Chicago in order to catch them.)

Playing to an intimate crowd is neither fun, nor easy, but Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social played as though they were performing in front of a sold-out arena. Awesome. After tonight, I understand why Jesse has played with some of the great musicians of our time.

Jesse Malin & The St. Marks Social can be found on:
Official site:

Some of the songs played: Burning the Bowery, Prisoners of Paradise, Disco Ghetto, Wendy, Riding on the Subway, Bastards of Young (Replacements cover), Black Boom Box, All the Way from Moscow, Black Haired Girl, Revelations, Instant Karma! (John Lennon cover)

P.S. – if you ever meet Derek (keyboardist) ask him how he keeps his wrists in shape. Hint: it’s not what you think! (Also, a very special thank you to Carl Raether who was running merch that night – I really appreciate the time you took to give me some history on the group, as well as the music!)

-Anni Thyme-

Big Wheel Reporter



Bookmark and Share


                   More photos of the show can be seen HERE

Go HERE to see all the latest show reviews


Send your comments to the editor HERE