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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

The Wild, Wild West:
New spaces, new bands are celebrated at a Westside mini-festival

THE FRESH BREATH OF SPRING is contagious. While Mother Nature and young lovers are doing their things, new local music developments are already fulfilling their promises. Streetlight Records should open its doors on July 1, and the suspenseful exuberance of the staff is evidence enough that this is one project determined to succeed. Already the buzz among under-represented factions is heard in town--a psychobilly section, at last? A decent selection of oi? A store to carry the Born Against members' latest unpredictable endeavor on vinyl?

As crucial as procuring the material, as every true believer knows, is securing a place to gossip about it--to exchange viable information and ostensibly meaningless trivia, fliers, zines and records.

Saturday, an indie joie de vivre took over at the 320A house, where the residents, with the aid of several bands and supporters, planned a miniature but grandiose festival of underground local rock. It was especially encouraging to see that the Basement's "managers" and patrons--rather than disappearing after the demise of their domestic venue--finally had a chance to display their own talents.

The What Nots started off with a dazzling, harmonic set--the strange, Nomeansno-evoking tinges of off-beat guitar and drums sent a shiver through the precision of its songs. Kelly, who at Third Street had been forced to oversee technical difficulties, seemed elated to take the stage next, playing guitar and singing backup for the Olympia-style Rally 200. Its set was rough around the edges but offered a determined sweetness that recalled the aspirations of a precocious preschooler to master the art of finger-painting.

Moralyson's set, up next, was its last--a requiem for the artful indie band that would be more of a shame if it wasn't clear that all the members would soon move their talents elsewhere. Guitarist Mag took to the drums again, as he is sometimes wont to do, for Two Taps Left, a new band whose musical complications suffer only from the lack of a vocalist. When it announced at the start of the set that it was currently "auditioning," four members of the audience tried out their singing styles on stage.

While a couple of the scheduled bands were unable to show, it was an afternoon to celebrate the projects, side projects and future projects of our local musicians while we wait for a supportive music store and a good venue for that fundamental, exciting exchange that keeps a community alive.


On Friday, The What Nots play with The Moxies at UCSC's Whole Earth Restaurant (5pm), and Los Hooligans play at UCSC's College 8 (all ages, free). Also on Friday, Jenny Piccolo, Sheherazade and Project Hate play at 320A (6pm, donations appreciated). On Monday, the house hosts Nuzzle, Sparkmaker and Nullset (6pm, gas money for bands). On Tuesday, May 20, Junk Sick Dawn plays on KZSC (88.1 FM, 9pm).

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From the May 15-21, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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