Since April of last year, when COVID-19 took over the music scene, all live shows came to a halt and music venues are currently feeling the effects: many are in jeopardy of closing down for good, especially the more intimate venues that don’t have the backing of major ticketing distributors, like Live Nation or Ticketmaster.
Organizations and bands have been jumping aboard performing livestreams to help raise awareness and money to keep fantastic music venues going.
The organization Punks4Change teamed up with a stellar lineup of the influential punk bands — Rival Squad, Dead 77, and The Venomous Pinks — on September 18th to help out the vintage bar, Til Two Club in San Diego. Punks4Change started back in 2018 because of the California wildfires; their efforts were to help bring awareness of all the wildlife dying off as a result. They held their first event at The Merrow in San Diego, with Lower Class Brats, Death By Stereo, Ray City Riot and other local San Diego acts. They have also impressively raised $2,000 for an animal shelter in Ventura county to date! With that success, they decided it would be a great idea to continue hosting punk shows and tying it together with nonprofit organizations for a variety of causes. Bones (of Lower Class Brats) suggested doing a show at Til Two Club. It was then when they started a relationship with Matt Koken and Dottie Deville, owners of Til Two, agreed to put it on.
Back in May of 2019, Matt and Dottie became partners of the unique Til Two Club, which was established back in 1948. Matt has always wanted to own a bar and has been into the San Diego music scene for over 20 years. Thus, having a bar and music venue is his dream come true! His wife, Dottie, has also been in the industry for over a decade. She mainly runs the bar side of things, while Matt handles the entertainment.
As a music venue, they support all types of music although primarily a rock club, focusing on punk, metal and other heavier music. However, Matt does try to incorporate all kinds of music — from blues, jazz, folk/Americana, country and rockabilly. Matt prides himself on having a diverse venue.
In addition to being a partner at Til Two, Matt is a criminal defense attorney. Having owned his own law firm for over 10 years, Matt focuses most of his cases on indigent clients who can’t really afford much. He discovered his passion for helping people while interning at the San Diego County Public Defenders’ office while in law school. He recently offered pro bono legal services to those arrested after attending the protests for Black Lives Matter.
The relationship between Til Two and Punks4Change began when Mike and Sarah, the amazing founders of Punks4Change, started putting on shows and wanted to do things at Til Two. Their passion is incredible! Not only do they love the music, but they love giving back to the community and local organizations.
In celebration of Sarah’s birthday, co-founder of Punks4Change, and to raise funds to help keep Til Two doing their fantastic work, Rival Squad, Dead 77 and The Venomous Pinks put on a stellar livestream show! The bands entertained fans at home and a few masked and socially-distanced fans in-person.
As COVID-19 continues to hinder live music and the venues that host them, it’s vital to support bands and venues during these challenging times. Please donate to Til Two, The Venomous Pinks, Dead 77 and Rival Squad!
Support San Diego’s Til Two Club concert venue:
Photography by Jenni Lynne