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Bottled At The Source Of Handsomeness

Three important lessons were learned at the Catalyst on Friday. Let's take them in ascending order of importance. First, the Catalyst has its own brand of bottled water. I did not know this. Where is that bottled? I pray it's not at the trough. Ew.

Secondly, HANDSOME BOY MODELING SCHOOL is capable of inciting very bad behavior. I attended this concert with a menagerie of mostly mild-mannered compadres. Everything was going swimmingly until I returned from the trough and was shocked to see one of my best friends, a formerly even-keeled special ed resource specialist, shaking her moneymaker up on stage in a catwalk competition. CHEST ROCKWELL has met his match in SHORTY MARCELLA, one-time teacher, now Handsome Boy graduate and superstar. She even got a Hennessey out of the deal.

Finally, an all-star cast on a record is not contractually obligated to attend every concert. While I knew that it was unlikely that KOOL KEITH would show up along with JOHN OATES, I expected to see more MCs at this show. Staring at bad DR. KATZ style animations while the best rhymes from So . . . How's Your Girl go by does not make for an entertaining and interactive show. Though CASUAL showed up and dropped in a few, the majority of the night was on tape, and frankly, the sound quality is better in my Honda Civic than up on that stage.

Wait, I lied, there's one more thing: keyboard players are not allowed to play air guitar on stage, no matter how powerful the groove is. If you want to chime in, play the keyboard in front of you or kindly ask for the guitar, don't air guitar it. This ain't a STEVE MILLER show. Very un-handsome.

Kenny G. Vs. Kenny G.

KENNY GARRETT quoted "Acknowledgement" from A Love Supreme in almost every sax solo that he took last Monday night. That doesn't matter though, because it's one of the best tunes ever written. Didn't recognize the majority of the songs that Garrett and his quartet busted out, but there were some potential new favorite tunes in the batch, including that eight-bar blues at the end of the first set and the sliding fifths motif that closed the second one. Loved Kenny's style of jazz, expository and free at times, but not really to the point of self-indulgence or needless virtuosity. He came onstage with everything turned up to 11, but took time later in the night to do two really gentle tunes on the soprano sax, accompanied only by pianist CARLOS MCKINNEY. His beautiful handling of the soprano only makes me hate KENNY G that much more for ruining it for the rest of humanity.

But all is not lost. Last week, mad props were dispensed in these august pages about MICHAEL VATCHER and his drum-set skills. Scratch that. A new level of awesome has been reached in the playing of RONALD BRUNER. I need a thesaurus to come up with new words for bloody $%*&^ amazing. Hip-hop, free jazz, gabber, it doesn't matter, he can play it all. It is beyond comprehension the number of ways that he knows how to slice up a bar of music. Frankly, the entire quartet was like that, finding creative and exhilarating ways to explore even the simplest of musical materials. No wonder this show was standing room only; this is a band for the ages.

Fight The Upcoming Machines

Fellow LUDDITES beware! There is a new hideous industrial trend in our fair town. Let it be forthwith proclaimed that the second Sunday of each month has been given over to electronic heathenry. Our HOLY SABBATH is being profaned through the use of transistor-based trickery. Each musician will posture and pose as if s/he was capable of producing many layers of sound simultaneously through an insidious process termed LOOPING. God-fearing denizens are forthwith warned to avoid that den of inequity named THE ATTIC each SECOND SUNDAY beginning at 7pm. You have been warned fair citizens. Resist the machines!

Peter Koht

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From the April 6-13, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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