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Notes From the Underground

Hell, Billy!
Redroom's roots rock & roll rumble

I haven't determined the difference between "psychobilly" and rockabilly, but San Jo's Hayride to Hell does both well. That roots rock & roll sound so indelibly etched into my generation is now huge in England and it's creeping back here again, too. There's nothing like a crooner slapping hard on a stand-up bass to facilitate a dance or a rumble, for that matter. Just ask any of Hayride's classic-car drivin', pompadour-sportin', hard-drinkin' fans, and stay the hell out of their small but treacherous pit.

Riff Raff was as good as I've ever seen 'em. They played super tight, had some good new songs, and frontman/songwriter Troy looked more composed than usual, a mixture of confidence and beer. Back from Berkeley, Say Uncle just ripped. If you've never seen them in a small place, do so. Unique and interesting beats from the trap man, and lead guitarist Todd Grant attacks his ax like a complete psycho. They just put out a 7-inch on Sour Note Records that's worth getting.

Between sets, I went to the Vet's Hall to see Creature. They've also been tinkering with some new stuff that I like a lot, although the sound at the high-ceilinged VH was limiting, as usual. Creature plays again March 24 at SC Hotel with Interration and new local band Black Label.
Michael Mechanic

Stage Grabbers

The honor students were absent at the Agent Orange Vet's Hall gig last Saturday night. How do I figure? Well, the stage-divers failed to remember that people have to be there to hold them up, but I guess it wouldn't be punk in that case. The show followed an all-day surf competition sponsored by Budweiser, King of (crappy) Beers. They funneled people in 10-at-a-time, which prevented me from seeing Schlep. When I got inside, local band Lost Cause was going at it. Although they didn't have a problem getting people agitated and running around, they stuck too close to the basics to get me interested. The most awkward part of the show came when Maurice, the Grabbers guitarist, was jumping around, lost it and landed on his back. He stuck it out like a pro, though. The band's set was great and showcased its shuffle-punk style. Agent Orange was equally impressive and ripped up several surf instrumentals through a set that climaxed with Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" and the guitarist spitting fire like Gene Simmons.


"Grind-lounge" duo the U?mees play with Good Old #157 at the Redroom on Thursday (21 and over, 10pm). On Friday, Mock, the Cavities and Reliance play with D.I. at the Vet's Hall (8pm, all ages). Woodpecker plays with Schlep and Auto at the Redroom on Saturday (21 and over, 10pm). Herbert and Dajima do Emi's on Sunday (21 and over, 10pm).

Help Wanted

We need a young female writer to contribute local live show and record reviews for this column. Must be dependable and have writing experience. Contact Michael at 457-9000.
Michael Mechanic

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From the March 7-13, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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