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A flight of Teletubbies drew me to Verstehen's powerhouse show at Callahan's; 'Spill' zine overflows

By Matt Koumaras

DEAR PENTHOUSE: I've always been kind of a loner. I've heard sordid stories about the band Verstehen but never thought this kind of thing would happen to me. I've seen scary graffiti scrawled about them at massage parlors during my stint with the Lakers. But a SWAT team of Teletubbies telepathically forced me via the Ouija board to check out Verstehen last Friday at Callahan's. I explained to the band members that it was my first time seeing them in hopes that they would be easy on me. Mike, their powerhouse of a drummer, told me to lean back and let the good times roll. They began to construct long, well-sculpted barbs of hard rock, engorged with originality, that turned this musical child into a man. Brian's primal bass sounds hurt at first, but soon incredible hardcore grooves dug in deep and kept me screaming for more. Sean's possessed yelps compelled me to look in my mug of Sea Monkeys and notice that they were swimming in what appeared to be half pit, half orgy. This was a knob-turning, supersized rush that jabbed sweaty downbeats into every orifice. As I smoke a cigarette and relax in my futon, I turn to the team of Teletubbies at my feet and ask, "Was it good for you?"

Gruesome opened and played tight and trancy instrumentals that twisted into mesmerizing moods. They kind of reminded me of a cross between the Meat Puppets, Victim's Family and the Gorehounds. Scott's heroic guitar licks made me grow a Viking helmet and want to get physical with a Nordic Track. The rhythm section, consisting of Maia on drums and John on bass, made good on every driving promise with skillful control. Coming from a guy who used to cheat off a cousin of one of the members of Good Riddance during U.S. history class, I can assure you this was hardcore.

Spill Booming Verse: The poetry and prose in 'Spill' can be found at all the finer coffee joints around town.

Zine Seen

Spill: This fine smorgasbord of poems and short stories from crafty local writers is living proof that caffeine and Xanax do wonderful things. The more I read from William Taylor Jr. the more I'm convinced he could take any Scantron test and make it spawn new life. J.J. McCabe's "Loneliness Is Heavier Than Stone" story is full of stylish humor. Aimee's "Magdelena" shows why the poets in the dead poets society remain dead: because they can't rival the booming verse created here. If you don't to check this out, may every Mrs. Butterworth bottle cackle at you when you cry over spilled milk again at the breakfast table. You can find this Spill at the finer coffee joints around town. They're also looking for contributions, so put your muse to use by writing: SPILL, c/o Aimee, 209 Weeks Ave., Santa Cruz, 95060.


Thursday, Slow Gherkin plays an Above the Line benefit at Palookaville; also Thursday, Papa Roach, Loadstar and No One play the Catalyst; Vincent's Ear, Chaos Lounge and the Strange tackle the Catalyst on Friday; also Friday, Fiend Master Freak, Step and Buster play Callahan's; Saturday, Riff Raff and Hayride to Hell show up at the Aptos Club; also Saturday, look for Jet Lag, Thumbs Down and Too Bad for Eugene at Palookaville; also Saturday, the Applicators reunite to take over the world--look for fliers.

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From the March 15-22, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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