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Notes From the Underground

Picks of the Litter:
Screw 32, Bouncing Souls, Wynonas, Half Empty stand out from the pack

Reliance sounded like a watered-down Lag Wagon at the SC Hotel last Wednesday, but Screw 32 more than made up for the slow (yet fast) start with an exhilarating set that proved how good they are in the flesh. Singer Andrew (hailed on the band's sticker as "a Giant Pussy," a takeoff on pro wrestler Andre the Giant's posse) jumped around to the group's older stuff, plus several newer songs, including one from an upcoming split 7-inch with Fury 66. New drummer Mark, who used to play with Samiam, did a great job keeping up with the guitars. Hopefully he'll stick around.

New Jersey's Bouncing Souls maintained the energy with their tight old-school sound that temporarily killed the stench (pardon the pun) of formulaic pop floating in the air. Frontman Greg stoked the crowd with old favorites when he wasn't busy stage-diving. Renowned producer Thom Wilson, who lives in Aptos and produced the Souls latest, Maniacal Laughter, showed up to check 'em out. I'm sure he wasn't disappointed. When Ten Foot Pole came on, though, many uninspired audience members ditched to the bar, leaving a pit full of young men who resembled pint-size Henry Rollinses.

On another tangent, the Wynona Riders singer Skip should probably be locked up to preserve the safety of the populace. One minute he's skanking to the Juicyfruit jingle, the next he's writhing on the floor howling Gothic gloom. Headlining Friday's show at the Capitola Community Center, the Riders were so relaxed and together that they earned my impromptu title "The Rubber Band."

Berkeley's the Leftovers opened with a trashy, diluted SoCal sound, confusing hordes of kids who turned up to bash each other around during Diversion's set. Rachel of Half Empty bashed them back a bit, teasing, "You know, there's a lot of testosterone in here considering about only ten of us have reached puberty." Ouch. Though they're actually from San Francisco, Half Empty has a classic East Bay look and sound, with lyrics that put the intelligence back in punk.
Arwen Curry

No Más SC Hotel?

A new restaurant is going in at SC Hotel and the word on the street is that they're going to stop having shows soon, although the staff is playing dumb. We'd better get on the D.I.Y. trip--and fast--if this scene is going to keep flourishing.
Michael Mechanic

Upcoming

Nomeansno, D.O.A., Spaceboy and It. play Palookaville on Thursday (see Playing Around calendar). Gorehounds and Starlite Desperation Show play the Basement on Friday with King Tut and the Surf Maggots (all ages, 7pm). On Sunday, Voodoo Glow Skulls, Red Aunts, Blink-182 and the Independents play Palookaville (see Playing Around calendar). Sunday's Ignite, Eleven Thirty-Four, .Staple. and Straightface show won't be at SC Hotel. Look for fliers. On Sunday, Good Riddance, Fury 66, the Willies and the Cavities play at 924 Gilman St. in Berkeley (8pm).
Michael Mechanic

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From the April 11-17, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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