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Finger Lickin' Good, Y'all

Like The Colonel's secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, the variety of quality music here in Santa Cruz last week yielded a scrumptious feast for the ears. And even though that opening line sucks Chicken McBungholes, I'm sticking to my guns muthafucka, because it'll totally make sense by the end of this bit. If you're the type of person who gets irritated by fast-food metaphors for music on principle alone, give me a psychic high-five, yeah!

But getting back to the tasty sounds (yes, I suffer from synesthesia) from the weekend, Duce Company had plenty to offer on Friday night at the Catalyst. It's a shame there weren't more kids there to see (hear/taste?) it. Only about a hundred people came to the show, which is strange given that they usually draw crowds in excess of 500 when they headline at the Catalyst. On the plus side, there was plenty of room to get yer freak on, or just shake it--which many people did--or even bust out an interpretive dance piece, which (unfortunately) no one was inspired to do. I dig Duce Comp for the positively infectious vibe, a diverse sound that mixes hip-hop with soul, funk and mellow jazz, plus plenty of R&B vocals from Natalie, who my friends couldn't stop comparing to Nellie Furtado. It was hard, though--little group of Funyuns that we were--to keep the three crews onstage (Duce Company, The Moonies and Modest Monster) hyped up with our screams and shouts. A hundred people at the Catalyst sound like so many monks after they've sworn themselves to silence, yet still belch profusely from all the beer they drink. But hopefully the new albums on the horizon from all three crews will whet the kids' appetite for more local hip-hop. The math is simple: bigger crowds equal bigger fun, people. Wheeee!

Sizzler

Blank Angus beef served up in easy-to-swallow chunks--that's my synesthetic interpretation of the GhosTown band's simple, glossy take on the country ballad. Like the Eagles before they checked into the Hotel California, the band was rockin', clean and tighter than a pair of leather pants. Everyone knows that scorpions always come in two's, but judging by this group of cowboys, so do pairs of leather pants, cowboy hats and big, bristly mustaches, which we rode on into the sunset like so many ranch hands, spanking that bucking bronco of a band with every clap of applause. And then it was on to the Catalyst, where the author of Mr. Belvedere's theme song, Leon Redbone, revived some golden age jazz and ragtime favorites like "My Blue Heaven," "Shine On Harvest Moon" and "Polly Wolly Doodle" in his trademark lazy, drunken baritone. He also has a penchant for Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton tunes, which he played with class, sitting cross-legged with his guitar, between a muted trumpet player and a piano man, both decked out in vintage suits. And besides his ever-present sunglasses and fedora, Redbone looked just like Col. freaking Sanders. Clotheswise, anyway.

Mike Connor

True Lies

I am so worked up I haven't slept since I saw ArnoCorps at the Aptos Club Saturday. It's not the band's fault--I mean, not only did they rock my ass, commando-style, but their emphasis on the importance of physical fitness inspired me to get to bed right after the show to prepare for an entire day of training for the Mr. Universe contest on Sunday. But check this out: I get home and there's this action movie on cable starring some jerk named "Arnold Schwarzenegger," and it's called Total Recall. Well, I happen to remember that's the name of one of the ArnoCorps songs I really like--kind of a Misfits-type punk vibe with this great story about a guy who has to go to Mars to figure out what his true identity is. Well, you're not gonna believe this shit: after a while I realize that's also the plot of the movie. So I do some checking and it turns out this guy Schwarzen-whatever has been ripping off ArnoCorps songs for years! From what I can figure, he makes movies based on their songs, and doesn't even give them credit! Even the titles of his movies are the same as the original songs: "Terminator," "Predator "End of Days" and so on. To be fair, both Schwarzenegger and ArnoCorps are from Austria, so maybe they know each other from there and they have some kind of a thing worked out. But I'm worried that the band is getting a raw deal. And if I know ArnoCorps, this girly actor guy is going to be a running man when the band gets wind of this. I'm going to break the news to them when they play the Aptos Club again May 31, and you should check 'em out, too.

Steve Palopoli

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From the May 7-14, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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