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Wing Tip: San Jose's Feathers play the Mediterrean Feb. 22.

Tickle Me Feathers

Ladies and Gentlemen, a new kind of mafia is coming to town. The four-chicks-rocking-out-full-tilt kind. They are the Feathers, and though they may not carry violin cases or bust up kneecaps just for kicks (I've seen them break a drumstick or two, though), have no illusions about these four girls from San Jose--they will rock your world. They've got quite the local following over yonder hill, and at the coaxing of some loyal fans living in SC, they've decided to test the waters (so to speak--I make funny, hehe). The Feathers have been called "a thinking woman's L7," which goes a long way in explaining why I never got L7, not being much of a thinking woman myself. But where L7 gets lost in a wall of distorted sound, the Feathers keep their tunes stripped down and feisty like the bad girls should. They may not be as bad as the other band on the bill this evening--The Highway Murderers--who (lucky for us) reportedly only murder highways ... hence the name. Both bands are playing at the Mediterranean on Feb 22 , so come on out and make God Feather, Feather Tuscadero, Tardan Feather and Feather Faucet feel welcome, and then be sure to stick around for a dose of the bloodthirsty sonic doom of the Highway Murderers.

Zorn to Pieces

Having virtually no experience with this genre of music, and feeling exactly like a fish out of water would if it were having an out-of-body experience being me attempting to write this review, I will now attempt to express what I heard at New Music Works' concert of music by avant-garde composer John Zorn. Well, most of it; I missed William Winant's solo percussion performance of Gris Gris, but the rest was so certifiably strange, I'm still reeling in the line. I have no choice but to close my eyes and dive right into Shibboleth, which comes back to mind as a series of disparate sounds and images: muted instruments; strings softly plucked; seeds falling on the floor; a deck of cards, dealt and shuffled; heavy, thumping drums looming over pregnant silence ... but what does it all mean? That I should have paid more attention in music class? Well, yes, and possibly that I have a shorter attention span than even the cartoonish compositions of Zorn require. Then they bust out with Rugby and suddenly I know exactly what's going on, because if there's one thing I know something about, it's when dudes are rocking out. It was an improvisational "game piece" with a prompter in the middle pointing excitedly and flashing cue cards at the musicians. They played distorted guitar and violin, computer-powered blasts of weirdness and got down and dirty with a theremin. The piece was startling and invigorating, as if a church choir suddenly broke into "Come On Feel the Noise" in the middle of service. Too bad it wasn't the kicker at the end of the show, because the energy provoked an excited response from the audience, considerably more than the last piece, Duras (as in Marguerite), could have, as it was decidedly pensive and subdued, and more intricate than space allows me to explain.

Mike Connor

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From the February 19-26, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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