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Notes From the Underground

Might is Wright:
NoMeansNo stamps a great first impression on SC

Last Thursday at Palookaville, It. opened up one of the highest-intensity shows Santa Cruz has seen in a while. The local trio cranked out a long opening set--a barrage of heavy, Ramones-influenced tunes. Up next, Spaceboy hurdled through a solid 40 minutes of complex guitar riffs and tight, funky drumming. Singer Clifford brought a variety of musical influences to bear as he snarled out microphone-swallowing, Ministry-like vocals and shuddered and thrashed his way through the set with Iggy Pop/James Brown hybrid stage antics.

D.O.A. offered a rousing old-school set. Frontman Joe Keithley showed everyone just how "punk" he really was by donning a hockey mask and wielding a chainsaw, which he revved into the microphone to enhance the band's grinding guitar. He also released enough toxic fumes to nearly asphyxiate the security guys.

NoMeansNo's first Santa Cruz appearance, however, summarily eclipsed the openers. The lengthy set by the Wright Brothers and pals included invigorated old favorites such as "Now" and "We're Bad" interspersed with tracks from their latest, Worldhood of the World (As Such), and was punctuated by characteristically heavy, mind-bogglingly speedy guitar/bass and tortured vocals. Following their encore, I was dazed and smiling, and couldn't help hoping that this show will mark the final end of a long musical dry spell.
Debbie Solomon

Punk En Español

I have to differ with Debbie on D.O.A. I found them contrived and totally uninspiring, although NoMeansNo was fantastic. Local band It. sounded great and Spaceboy was the best I've ever heard them--tight, intense, and as convoluted as the whole human experience.

Local bands were absent, though, at Voodoo Glow Skulls' Palookaville gig on Sunday. The band kicked the crowd's collective ass with a barrage of energetic ska and punk, drawing from both VGS records, including favorites like "Insubordination," "Sin Berguensa" and "Dogpile." They performed the Firme stuff in English, but singer Frank Casillas says they're planning another tour where all the new stuff will be in Spanish. Casillas went off on the whole immigration thing before launching into "La Migra." "We all feel people should be able to go wherever they fuckin' want, and so should you!" he announced.

Despite a tangible attitude and shit-faced singer, Red Aunts were really impressive. They cranked out some pretty original-sounding hard rock/punk music with lots of transitions and tempo changes that went far beyond my expectations. Blink-182, however, was basically more of the generic power-pop that passes for punk these days and the Independents were little more than a mediocre '70s metal band playing tame ska.
Michael Mechanic

Upcoming

There's a film at UCSC on Friday that might interest y'all. Half-Cocked is about a girl who hijacks a van and takes her friends on a tour of the South's underground scene. It stars members of Rodan, ex-Nation of Ulysses, Ruby Falls, Crain and the Grifters (Kresge Town Hall, 8pm, $5). On Sunday, Jenny Piccolo, Q-Factor, Leadfoot Broadcast and Instant Girl play at the Basement (all ages, 7pm).
Michael Mechanic

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From the April 18-24, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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