Menifee Plugged In: Andrew W.K. Rocks the Vault in Temecula

By Neil Kristjansson

Party Messiah himself, Andrew W.K., came to The Vault in Temecula last Friday for what was quite easily one of the best parties I’ve ever been to. Well, it was actually a concert. But it was most definitely quite the party as well.

The party started off with Ascension, a post-grunge band similar to the styling of Foo Fighters, or the early incarnation of Three Days Grace: Groundswell. Young and talented, they kicked off the night with a set of fun, memorable songs.

The Infamous THEY came on next to party it up and play quite the fusion of genres. From metal to jazz and hip hop to classic rock, the energy of the room was steadily rising as their set went on and everything began to unfold.

The Coltranes, a hardcore punk band, followed, displaying an intensity to be reckoned with. Right off the bat, they had the whole room moving, moshing and jumping around. And it was loud. Good loud. A good, loud party.

Strike Twelve, a pop punk band reminiscent of early Green Day, entered the stage and played a seemingly short set. Between interaction with the crowd and one another, they sustained the energy into the following acts. They were definitely in their party suits.

Midnight Satellites, a rock group before the final act, came out to finish the line of openers and get the crowd ready for what was yet to come. Ranging from mellow rock grooves to faster beats, they took the stage as if it was just another part of the day and made it look so easy. That’s talent. That’s party.

And finally, the man of the hour himself emerged from the shadows and fog, with loops chanting "party, party," asking the crowd if we were ready to party. Right off the bat, there was an intensity in the room far beyond anything seen throughout the night. But it wasn’t from Andrew W.K. himself that it came. He only hosted the party. He only played the music. So what made everything so special? What made the party so ... party?

Andrew W.K. is on a solo tour right now. Instead of playing with his usual band, it’s just him, a piano, a microphone, and his buddy "Blakey Boy". So how exactly does that work? How does a man known for his unusually upbeat hard rock sound manage to move so many people with just a piano?

Well, backing tracks are involved. On top of those, Andrew stood firm beside his keyboard, wailing on it and creating melodies like he was cutting butter – so smooth. While Andrew screamed his party-friendly lyrics into his microphone, Blakey Boy was next to him, doing the same thing -- only without an instrument and partying it up with some fun little jigs. And so was the crowd.

I started at the front of the room, right against the railing in front of the stage. I had a great view, and through the distortion of being so close to the speakers, I could still make out the marvel of what was before me. It was an image so wondrous to behold.

Never had I been so close to an idol of mine before, but now I was there, finally seeing the show I’d been waiting for. I’d noticed the front row crowd was going nuts, and I had to wonder what was going on in the back. In the pit. It was crazy. Tons of people running around and into each other, just having fun. Just partying. Early on in his set, Andrew exclaimed that it was a night to have fun, party and be friends with one another. And that’s what his party was.

Ultimately, his show was incredible. Unbelievable. Superb. I got to meet him very briefly afterwards; we talked for a few minutes as he signed a couple of autographs (one which I was lucky to get). Besides being such a great musician, I can say from personal experience that Andrew W.K. is, in fact, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. His only advice to me and my friends after the show? Don’t waste gas and stay away from green burritos. Party.

Andrew W.K. might play intense music. Andrew W.K. might be an intense man. But party is party. For anybody who doesn’t know Andrew W.K., check him out. He’s great, he’s awesome, he’s talented, he’s hilarious; he is party.

Neil Kristjansson's "Menifee Plugged In" column appears each Monday. He writes about two things of interest to most of the younger generation -- music and electronic gaming. He welcomes your comments here or though email at


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