Unit F and Punk Rock Karaoke at The WayFarer

 —  —

The WayFarer, 843 W. 19th Street, Costa Mesa

Unit F and Mesa Lanes join Punk Rock Karaoke, comprised of members of Bad Religion, Pennywise, the Dickies and Goldfinger. Thats right...they play and you sing! If you have done it before...you know. If you haven't this barn burner of a show is your chance!

Mel Schantz-Vocals    David Costa-Guitars, Vocals    

Peter Moreno-Bass, Vocals, Andy David-Drums 

Since its inception, Unit F has been walking the fine line of socio-political consciousness and chaos with their own amalgam of dark punk, deathrock and esoteric rock.  The approach is a dynamic yet defined sound, showing an awareness of punk rock’s musical heritage and its decided trademark charge of the need for social and political change so typically absent from popular culture. 

 

 

In 2020 Unit F announced the additions of drummer Andy David and Peter Moreno on bass following the late 2019 departures of Guillermo Santacruz and Phil Moore which effectively hit the pause button on the release of its fourth full length, which is now planned for 2020 to stand alongside Ecocide: Songs of Dysfunction (2018), Comes The Day (2014) and American Shutdown (2009). The new self-produced effort signaled a return to friend and producer Jim Monroe (Adolescents, Fu Manchu, Manic Hispanic, CJ Ramone) who was responsible for previous full lengths (along with Greg Hetson), as well as the hard charging Same Ol’ Story EP (2012).    

 

 

By the summer of 2019, the recording process yielded a four song ‘single/ep’ which will be self-released in March of 2020 , along with several new music videos (Joe Gill producing). The songs include Memo (To Myself), Human Zoo, Jesus Saves, and It’s Okay. That same chemistry and the penchant for songwriting that became Ecocide, is on full display with these numbers, with a unique view of the systematic appropriation of the individual by the corporate system (Memo), a dour look at the homeless crisis witnessed first hand (Human Zoo), and a dangerously sarcastic look at the hypocrisy of the political evangelicals (Jesus Saves). The final barrage is saved for the sneering tongue in cheek It’s Okay, lamenting the everyday wasting process of our collective complacency. 

 

 

The current the lineup began will continue playing as a four piece, still led by original vocalist Mel Schantz who pens the lyrics and mans the vocals. It is a quicker if not louder, more dynamic and version of the band, with Andy David’s expressive drums, and the wall of guitar effect by Dave Costa.  Combined with Peter Moreno’s driving bass lines and backing vocals, Unit F’s sound fills up the room as well as it translates to the big stage. 

 

 

The reaction to this newer version of Unit F has been good, certainly it was strong enough to elicit the bands nomination to OC Weekly’s 2018 Readers Poll for Best Punk Rock Band.   The live shows still feature most of the classic burners that Unit F fans have come to expect; that room changing energy that has landed them shows with such bands as Bad Religion, TSOL, JFA, Agent Orange, Ill Repute, The Dickies, D.I. and too many other vaunted yet still active punk rock hall of famers. The classic song Ride is still as popular as ever, but with this lineup, the vibe is tighter, and all the new songs show more of a sonic evolution as opposed to a departure. The dynamic is unique. Maybe it is because the new material still rings in powerful lyrics delivered with distinct vocals, tempo changes, and meaty, churning riffs that make Unit F’s approach feel like classic old school. Backing vocals and sing along choruses that put the hooks in line with the gnarl. 

 

 

With live shows that have a show stopping intensity every time the band takes the stage, new songs such as Mind Wars, Human Zoo, Its Okay and Jesus Saves are pounded out with the same frenetic political intensity as Direct Action Now or any song from Same Ol’ Story. The songs from Ecocide like Berkeley Streets, Horrifying or Look Up Bro, still have the relevance of topics which span administrations and political trends with dismal ease, pointing out the steady, go nowhere march of a disoriented humanity. In that regard, at least the social and political reflections get a driving beat, a pounding bass line and a full guitar attack that makes such introspect seem like good night of rock and roll. And that….is just good punk rock protocol.