Living in Cyn: She's got presence and skills in spades.
WITH a certain edgy affinity for '80s power pop bolstered by amazing vocal work by Cyn Acevedo, Resistant Me rips out high-energy songs with intense musicianship and classic rock smarts that belie the fact that they've only just begun their journey to rock stardom. While lead singer/songwriter Acevedo and the other band members have been laying down tracks separately for some years, the almost divine gelling of talent in Resistant Me is a more recent phenomenon. It's often difficult to find a band that has presence, skills and chemistry that can also up the ante and rip out simply killer tracks, but here Resistant Me has all that in spades, latching onto a throwback sound full of irresistible hooks led by a legit bad girl rocker with chops to spare.
Resistant Me plays on Thursday (Feb. 8) at 9pm at C & J's, 1550 Lafayette St., Santa Clara. (408.423.9013)
Act natural: OK, fine, don't.
YES, Octobop features at least one bona fide octogenarian, but the name actually refers to the eight members who comprise this classy local jazz band, many of whom make their living in the local tech industry, but all of whom get their kicks in the local jazz scene. Specializing in West Coast jazz of the '50s, Octobop are celebrating the release of their fourth CD, Very Early.
Harold V. Therox
Octobop performs on Saturday (Feb. 10) at 8pm at Agenda, 399 S. First St, San Jose. Tickets are $5-$10. (408.287.3991)
Those aren't pillows: But you better believe that's a banana hammock.
NOT EVERYONE can grab a toehold on a major network—that's why God invented cable access. In a new sketch comedy called TeleMongol, San Francisco's acclaimed Asian American Theater Company looks at the foibles and struggles of Asians trying to get heard on TV, even if it is after midnight and only 10 people are watching—and the lowly network is called AHOLE-TV (Asia Home of Language Entertainment). TeleMongol, which is a collaboration with Contemporary Asian Theatre Scene (CATS) of San Jose, directs its barbs at both the onscreen product and all the bickering and backbiting going on behind the camera. Be sure to tune in for a holiday special with Kim Jong Il. TeleMongol is directed by Henry Chan, who has earned his insights the hard way, by directing TV shows. Adding to the idea of "many heads are funnier than one," Lodestone Theatre Ensemble, Cold Tofu, 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors and OPM also contributed to the mayhem.
TeleMongol plays Friday and Saturday (Feb. 9-10) at 7 and 10pm and Sunday (Feb. 11) at 2pm through Feb. 18 at Theatre on San Pedro Square, 29 N. San Pedro St., San Jose. Tickets are $7.50-$10. (800.838.3006)
Punk's not dead: But its hairline is receding a bit.
AFTER HITTING with arguably one of the best punk albums of the '90s, The Streets of San Francisco, and a premiere spot on the inaugural Warped tour, the Swingin' Utters seemed poised to ride that release to some success. They have, kind of, but it's not the kind of success that modern "punk" bands dream about, where major labels swoop down from the heavens and whisk you away to fame and fortune.
"[The] label has pretty much become meaningless," explains lead guitarist and co-songwriter Darius Koski, who's been with the band since it started in Santa Cruz in the late '80s. "There wasn't a whole lot going on back then," he says, "there wasn't a huge punk scene and it wasn't as easy for bands like us to get shows as it is now."
Still, Koski is not impressed by the subsequent commercialization of punk. "It seems that ever since Green Day hit, everybody wants to be in a punk band, he says. "I think it's fine that [commercialized punk] is acceptable and accessible, but bad pop music played by tattooed teddy bears with cute little frowns on their faces is not acceptable to me."
Koski, vocalist Johnny "Peebucks" Bonnel, bassist Spike Slawson, drummer Greg McEntee and guitarist Jack Dalrymple know what it means to be a punker. There's a certain line that can be drawn in the sand between modern "punk" and what's played by the Swingin' Utters and other bands that rip out fast licks on pawnshop guitars. With these old-school punks, there's passion, poignancy, and maybe most of all, simplicity. Koski says that's what has always set the Utters apart from other bands, and that's what sets old-school punk apart from its modern bastardization. "I've always thought of [our] songs as just loud, aggressive and fast folk or country songs," he says. "Very simple stuff."
Swingin' Utters play on Friday (Feb. 9) at 9pm at the Blank Club, 44 S. Almaden Ave, San Jose. Tickets are $12. (408.292.5265)
Stringers: The Cavani String Quartet—Mari Sato (from left), Annie Fullard, Marry Peckham and Kirsten Docter—perform Saturday in Los Gatos.
Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra preps for its summer swing through Central Europe with a fundraising gala and performance. The evening goes easy-listening classical style, with "all-time favorite" selections from the repertoire. Now in its 40th year, the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra provides a showcase for up-and-coming high school players. Sunday at 3pm; Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford; $10-$20; 650.856.3848.
Sinfonietta Orchestra Another orchestral ensemble designed to promote talented young musicians puts on a showcase concert. The program encompasses works by Arriaga, Weber and Tchaikovsky. The solo star for the evening is Joaquin Miller Middle Schooler Eric Jiang, winner of the symphony's Concerto Competition. Camilla Kolchinsky conducts. Saturday at 7:30pm; Cubberley Theater, 4000 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; $5/$10; 650.327.2611.
The Steinway Society of the Bay Area takes note of the upcoming Valentine's holiday in a program featuring pieces by Romantic composers—Beethoven, Schumann, Chopin and Paderewski—performed by Kevin Kenner. Trained at the Peabody Conservatory, American Kenner won top honors in Warsaw at the Chopin Piano Competition in 1990, so his prowess on the polonaise is not to be doubted. Sunday at 7pm; Le Petit Trianon, 72 N. Fifth St., San Jose; $$20-$35; 408.286.2600.
Emerson String Quartet Not all the Grammys go to U2. The esteemed Emerson String Quartet has walked off with six classical Grammy prizes. For this Stanford Lively Arts Concert, the group will perform all three of Beethoven's Rasumovsky Quartets. In a nod to Count Andreas Razumovsky, who commissioned the pieces, Beethoven snuck in several Russian themes. Saturday at 8pm; Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford; $23-$50; 650.725.ARTS.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, the peerless period-instrument ensemble, also acknowledges the month of love and romance (and expensive dinners out) with "The Passionate Violin," a program that ranges from Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D Major to Haydn's Symphony no. 103 (London). Viktoria Mullova, who recently recorded a surprisingly muscular CD of Vivaldi concertos, takes center stage on the Beethoven, which is the only concerto the master wrote for solo violin. Friday at 8pm; First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto; $29-$67; 415.392.4400.
The Cavani String Quartet, an all-female ensemble, also pays homage to Beethoven, with a performance of the Quartet in F Major. The rest of the evening takes on Shostakovich's Quartet no. 8 and Ravel's Quartet in F Major. This concert is part of the Sunset Concerts series. Saturday at 8pm; St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 20 University Ave., Los Gatos; $10-$20; 408.354.4560.
Michael S. Gant
Send a letter to the editor about this story.