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Notes From the Underground

Anarchy in the VH:
Tedious hors d'oeuvres almost spoils the main course at FRSC benefit

Musical disaster was narrowly avoided at the Free Radio Santa Cruz benefit last Sunday. Showgoers entered the Vet's Hall with plenty of co-conspirator spirit and a few donation bucks at the door, but supernaturally bad planning brought out one tedious acoustic band after another and left very little time for the acts on the bill. The last and worst of the long parade of folkies--sporting a flute and a Casio--got their 15 minutes in a rain of name-calling by the less patient crowd members.

Bread and Thunder, filling in for an under-the-weather Head Case-O-Matic, finally took the stage more than three hours after the show began. Bassist Sara Weiner was near the breaking point at the start of the set, but after a few songs the quivers of rage dissipated as the band revived an audience paralyzed with boredom.Jamie "Kid" Peterson looked docile enough until she got behind the drums, where she powered into the band's signature brand of cacophonic timing that leaves you begging for a catchy tune until you realize that's not the point. Classic punk riffs mutated quickly into slow, displaced chords as singer/guitarist Mindy Ingalls crammed pages of lyrics into the space of seconds. Overall, it was their best show yet despite a rushed sound check and bass-heavy amplification.

Headliners Soda Pop Fuck You suffered from technical problems, which muffled already fairly unoriginal ska lines and turned the vocals into a painful corruption of the Avengers. At that point, however, the kids had sat through one too many freedom-fighting ballad and were just grateful for the opportunity to jump around.
Arwen Curry

Tape Review: Diversion

Another self-titled demo from these young fellas, and they've taken a big step up in sound quality since their first release. This tape draws heavily on the Santa Cruz surf-punk sound--perhaps a bit too much. Still, it's a pretty fun and high-energy album that speaks to the prime concerns of their generation (one not yet labeled) with songs like "Let Me Go (to the Boardwalk Show)," "My School Sucks," "Channel Surfing" and other gems. I liked "Baby," where they launch from a sappy oldies-style number into the ingredients of mosh. The oldies bit is kinda funny, since the granddad of guitarist Chris and drummer Mike René wrote "Rockin' Robin" (and is probably rollin' over just about now). Diversion plays an all-ages show on Friday night at the Jade Street Park Community Center in Capitola (4400 Jade St., off 41st Avenue, $4, 8pm) with Wynona Riders, SF's Half Empty and Berkeley's the Leftovers.
Michael Mechanic

Upcoming

Local bands .Staple. and Black Label play with Pinhead Circus and Coathanger Kids on Thursday at the Basement (all ages, 7pm). Also on Thursday, Second Gunmen the U?Mees and Rumble Gun play at the Redroom (21 plus, 10pm). On Friday, a lounge-style act called the Spivies does a few Redroom sets (21 plus, 10pm).
Michael Mechanic

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From the April 4-10, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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