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Notes From the Underground

Holy Ska-Moly!
Gherkin, Ghoulies enthusiastically
rock the masses

I SHOWED UP TOO LATE TO WITNESS Good Riddance and Fury 66 break in Staircase Tattoo's new location on Saturday afternoon, but did catch that other favorite of local youth, Slow Gherkin, who returned from tour to play for a wall-to-wall crowd at the Catalyst with the Groovie Ghoulies and Meal Ticket on Saturday night. The Ghoulies, a fun, goofy pop-punk trio that has had three full-length CDs released by Lookout! Records within the past 12 months, charmed the crowd and seemed a bit astounded at its sheer size. Gherkin is getting huge! The 10 (count 'em) pickle boyz went off in top form with young Rickman spazzing out right and left, bassist Zack looking hella old-school, the trombonist all slick like a gigolo and keyboard player looking dazed by it all. They played a lengthy set (with encores) including crowd-pleasers like "Slaughterhouse," "Drunken Sailor," "Myer's Flat" and, of course, that old favorite "Havah Nagilah."

Buddy Up

Did y'all hear Buddys Riot on KZSC the other night? They were scheduled to do the live thang but couldn't due to a little incident involving guitarist James "Half Pipe" Reitano and a disloyal snow board. Anyway, the local psychobilly trio did show up to the station to chatter incessantly, and they brought some newly recorded material for listeners to check out. Was that a Heart riff I heard in one of the new songs? I do believe it was. Ahh... now there was a xband (I'm humming "Barracuda" right now). Anyway, the boys will be up on campus again this Friday for an all-ages show to benefit the Santa Cruz Needle Exchange. Also playing are local bands Gorehounds, Junk Sick Dawn and Pillow Mint (8pm, $3).

Support the Fringe

SC sometimes seems dominated by one faction of punk--vaguely called "skate punk," or something similar. The melodic So-Cal hardcore sound is now identified popularly as the true sound of punk. And now that Green Day is officially passé, it's even hard to find a good whiny pop band around--nearly impossible to stumble on a chaotic hardcore show. Local indie bands lurk mysteriously in the shadows. But the eager (if small) crowds turning out to see the more fringe bands demonstrate interest from those set in their crotchety ways and open-minded younger kids. Though the lesser-known bands have trouble filling the big venues, they still come through town often and deserve support. Some locals head over the hill for shows. Pirate Cat Records, at its new location in downtown SJ, hosts matinee hardcore shows on Sunday afternoons with the likes of Dystopia, Apeface and others. Here in town, the house parties still flourish. Sometimes you have to work for your punk rock, but it will be dearer in the end.
Arwen Curry


J Church plays a free show at noon on Friday at Stanford University's White Plaza. On Friday, in addition to the needle exchange benefit, there's a veritable Vet's Hall punk fest with AFI, Fury 66, Riff Raff, Jughead's Revenge and The Force (see "Playing Around" pages). On Tuesday, Exploding Crustaceans play live on KZSC-88.1FM on Reverend Brady's Rock and Roll Revue, which begins at 8:30pm.
Michael Mechanic

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From the January 30-February 5, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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