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Notes From the Underground

Tanner Unplugged:
Trio salvages raided show with a rare, intimate set

The What-Nots opened up what turned out to be a very special show Sunday night at the Basement. Junk Sick Dawn came on second with a short set of unclassifiable scream-ridden tunes. Singer/guitarist Tait Reed obviously graduated from Guitar 101 at some precocious age and is now approaching some three-letter degree. Vessel sounded like funk on Valium, threatening soulful monotony more than once with songs like "Creeper." Toned, creative bass by Masyn Ching gave substance to a rhythmic but scattered set. Then again, how Zen can you feel knowing several of Santa Cruz's finest are hovering outside, waiting for the kill?

Police intervention played a substantial role in the evening's events, cutting Vessel's set short and sparking an impromptu brainstorming session among the Tanner fans. After considering the alternatives, the San Diego trio decided to continue with a near-acoustic, slowed-down set (drummer Chris Prescott used pencils as sticks). Recognizing their regular level of chaos, the performance was both a subtle betrayal of their signature sound and a rare opportunity to understand it. The ex-Fishwifers took the situation with humor, toning down their powerful songs reluctantly but harmoniously, aided by the support of some faithful followers. Although the lyrics, with no microphone, were virtually unrecognizable, Gar Wood's astral guitar and Prescott's drumming managed to bring out a comically mellow side of this normally seismic band. Maybe if you're lucky you'll hear this in an elevator somewhere someday far in the future. (AC)

Missing Links

Arwen missed the What-Nots, but I was duly impressed with their set on Sunday. This local foursome caught my attention immediately with a tight, dynamic, energetic sound that's pretty much unique in SC. Singer/guitarist Eden has a great set of lungs, and co-vocalist Phil adds to the good harmonies. They're tough to classify, and that says a lot in itself. Check 'em out. You won't be sorry.(MM)

Clay Wheels

Low-budge videographers Bill and Clay have taken top honors in the Bay Area Cable Excellence Awards, in which their local public access show competed against programming from all over North Cali. B&C combine warped humor with strange toys they find in rubbish bins for a hilarious show that rips on pop culture in all its forms. The Bill and Clay Show--cablecast every Friday (8pm) on Community TV Channel 71--uses stop-time animation, political (often violent) puppetry, bizarre sketches and local bands. The winning entry in the "Entertainment" category included drunk-driving G.I. Joes, hand puppets, a "Hemp Hair Club For Men" commercial and a live segment with ex-local band the Champs. "I'm sure that category had a lot of competition, but the show is great!" says CTV Director Laura Greenfield. "They're really creative. They deserve it." (MM)


On Saturday, Ex-ignota, My Excrement, Q-factor and possibly Jenny Piccolo play at the Basement (all ages, 7:30pm). Also on Saturday, Fury 66 play Los Gatos Teen Center (all ages, 7:30pm) with the Willies and Betty's Love Child. On Sunday, locals Seventeen Queen and Nuzzle play at Emi's (21 plus, 10pm).

This week's NFU was written by Arwen Curry (AC) and Michael Mechanic

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From the May 16-22, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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