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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

The Show Must Go On and On and On:
Local bands and imports assert themselves once again

AFTER WHAT HAS SEEMED like a long local drought, last weekend was a veritable flood of bands and mayhem that left half the folks I know limping and exhausted, but in high spirits. For a fleeting moment, SC was a bountiful haven of peace, plenty and punk rock.

To be carefully monitored is a subgroup of local bands associated with the Gorehounds, which, while not playing as such on Friday, inflicted noise on scores of scrambled-eggplant-munching students at the Whole Earth in the form of The Distractions and The Exploding Crustaceans. The Distractions, with Gorehounds' Lee Tom on drums, puzzled me by constructing pop melodies over disturbingly familiar anthems, calling Danny Elfman to mind.

The Crustaceans were very loud and impressive, though the pitter-patter of fleeing Tevas indicated this opinion wasn't unanimous. Hardcore ballads, punctuated with a volley of dramatic stops and restarts, ran through the set, with the occasional tight pop song a la Descendents.

Fans interested in the Gorehound Illuminatus should also watch for The Damones, who talked a lot of smack on KZSC Monday night.

The UCSC show ended at 8 p.m., but the action was not so swiftly daunted. The next stop was a party where the Bay Area's American Steel attempted to finish up its set without constantly de-tuning its guitars on the foreheads of kids in the front row. There are some drawbacks to playing in living rooms, but the show was a salvation to starved SC pop-punk fans who soaked up the Crimpshrine-y melodies like thirsty weeds.

Afterward on the Westside, kids strained the floorboards of a much larger living room while Soda Pop Fuck You played for a hoard of fuzzy-headed surfers.

On Saturday, yet another carpet was rendered unspeakable after one long night of chaos with local punk band Puke, plus Loaded, The Ranters and Chemical Imbalance. Several hours and quarts of bodily fluids later, tired punks and skins wandered back to their respective cities. Once again, the show was a success--the bands rocked and stumbled, an epic territorial battle was avoided and no one mouthed off to the cops.

Sunday night, the Asti was packed, and the energy seemed to have persisted through the long weekend. Meat Pizza Sandwich started off, followed by a much-lauded set by The Muggs, and Soda Pop celebrated its first birthday with a bang before last call, when everyone went home to sleep the whole thing off.

Upcoming

On Thursday, Agent Orange plays with D.I., Riff Raff and Superschlep at the Vet's Hall (8pm, $11, all ages). On Friday, The Muggs, The Huckstables and The Damones play the Whole Earth (5pm, free) and The Skeletones play the Catalyst. On Saturday, Screw 32 and Fury 66 play (probably) at the Vet's Hall. Also Saturday, Junk Sick Dawn, D.I.M. and Men in Black play at Merrill, UCSC. Sunday, The What Nots, Buddies Riot, Dilligaf and Ashes & Crumbs play a Free Radio benefit at the Vet's Hall (7pm, $5, all ages). On Tuesday, The Need and Ashes & Crumbs play in town (look for fliers).

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From the April 10-16, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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