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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

Basement Banned:
Third Street kids pack up their things and move on

HAVING REIGNED AS SC'S MOST RELIABLE and consistent "unofficial" venue now for the span of hundreds of shows, Third Street's Basement hosts its last few this month. The various musical connections claimed by the residents and their friends (colleagues?) brought great music to the little space, making it a recognized pit stop for monumental groups that, because of their style, were hard-pressed to find another venue in town.

Usually, local bands without the renown but sharing the same stylistic dilemma tacked themselves on the bill. This was a rare opportunity for locals to be heard and play with the best in the country. Such well-loved bands as the US Bombs, Fifteen, The Warmers, A Minor Forest and Tanner, to name only a few, were mixed and matched with bands like Staple, Buddys Riot, Junk Sick Dawn, The What Nots, Oliver Brown and many other locals in shows that have, with a few periods of lapse, been played several times a month with astonishing regularity for over a year.

In addition to making their basement into an underground venue, with no compensation except the satisfaction of filling a gaping hole in the fabric of the music scene, the kids at Third Street have supported SC's underground in other ways--by renting out the space cheaply for bands to practice, loaning equipment for shows and generally staying active despite the inevitable hassles that come along with thousands of punk rockers and other weirdos tromping in and out of one's backyard.

The Basement's shows have always been strict in some ways--no alcohol, no hanging out in the street, etc. Although the sound-proofing was installed with obvious attention, neighbors still have on occasion been sensitive to the disturbance. Despite the precautions, it was only a matter of time--and this time the annoyed neighbor in question placed a call directly to the house's owners.

You can stay, came the phone call, but with raised rent and no further access to the basement. When pressed, the landlord admitted that the new agreement had something to do with "those little things you do down there." So the residents, compelled to resign from their self-appointed positions, are packing up their things and moving on to a less frustrating position in the local scene.

And whose phone will ring with the entreaties of touring bands? Probably, for lack of alternatives, the same phone--"This number is no longer in service. Please check the number and try your call again."

Upcoming

On Saturday, check out a free show at a new venue, The Point (formerly Skinny McDoogle's) with Spaceboy and Superschlep at 9:30pm. Also on Saturday, Junk Sick Dawn, Buddys Riot, Puke and possibly Ashes & Crumbs play at a house in Davenport (call 423-9498 for details). On Monday, April 21, The VSS play on KZSC at 8:30pm. Shows continue this month at the Basement, so watch for details and come pay your respects.

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From the April 17-23, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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