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Showtime With Apollo

By Mike Connor

Homeboy Apollo was out with his chariot a-blazin' this last weekend; the Greek god of the sun and music paved my weekend's path with an epic bouquet of sun and song, leaving me no choice but to wax poetic of my good fortune, which I will now attempt to convey in a series of hastily realized sonnets and other such malarkey heretofore unattempted by this particular music critic. Let us start with ArnoCorps (www.arnocorps.com), whose intensely physical performance included an arm-wrestling match (ArnoCorps' only female member schooled a drunken heckler) and lead singer Holzfeuer repeatedly tackling bassist Toten Adler into the audience at the Aptos Club's Battle of the Bands. And now the sonnet, to be read with an Austrian accent:

ArnoCorps, you make me feel pumped.
Before I met you, I was a choirboy, lost--
Without biceps, nor war paint, nor manly Austrian accent.
You came stomping into my life with stogies, combat boots,
And a thirst for the action/adventure lifestyle--
Unleashing an all-out HCPR audio assault that put Satan himself in his place ("End of Days"), put Dillon to shame ("Predator"), and put the fear of God back into Sarah Conner ("Terminator")--nobody but you, ArnoCorps!
Stick around--you complete me.

While Friday night's hip-hop show at the Vets Hall was a bit shallow in attendance, the freestyle flows of Pushing Destinations, the weirdly creepy (yet characteristically tight) monster hip-hop of Thunderhut and the semi-organic stylings of the Greans crew made the evening worthwhile. Did I mention Eva, the cutest breakdancer of all time, busting out the moves? And then there was Bicasso:

Bicasso--poet, provocateur, Living Legend / With your soulful R&B goddess Mama Earth /And your smooth, jazzy guitarist David Goodlet / You make me think, and shake my ass.

Voilà! Onto the White Album Live! at the Rio on Friday and Saturday, easily one of the most memorable events in local music history. Granted, the show was only last night as I write this, but the astounding caliber of musicianship and the lively multimedia presentation (including choreographed dance, dramatic lighting and entertaining visuals) blew many a mind at both sold-out shows. One young audience member summed it up nicely when he said, "They brought the album to life for me ... in a way that not even the Beatles could do." Kudos to everyone involved, and a special pat on the saintly back of Rio owner Lawrence Bedford, who won $3,500 from the Santa Cruz Guitar Company and then put it up for re-raffle so somebody else could have the durn thing. Who does that? See www.guitarsnotguns.org.

Expendables Haiku interlude:
Expendables rocked / On Saturday afternoon / Live, at Pleasure Point

And finally, the inspiration for this entire column comes from the New Music Works Avant Garden Party. Set back in the hills behind Cabrillo College at the beautiful estate of Rob and Sunny Fish, there was plenty of food on hand from a few of our town's most brilliant chefs. It was an experience that strikes me as unique even by Santa Cruzian standards--as if performances like Dan Wyman's darkly exploratory Striations (performed by William Trimble and Dan Wyman) and Emmanuel Deruty's hauntingly delicate excerpts from his operetta Without Our selves (performed by Aimee Page, Iwalani Faulkner and Matthew Embry) weren't enough, the Santa Clara Aquamaids upped the surreal factor into the hallucinogenic dimension with a stellar synchronized swimming ballet. There were plenty of other standout performances, including the dueling violins of Cynthia Baehr and Timb Harris playing Maria Newman's Appalachian Duets, and the world premiere of Phil Collins' arrangement of Lou Harrison's Tandy's Tango, which was punctuated by a gutsy impromptu dance performance by Tandy Beal, for whom the song was written and named. Bravo, Tandy! May your courage spread.

I'd like to personally thank all the performers, chefs and organizers for all their hard work on this inspiring event, but I figure it's just easier to write it here.

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From the June 4-11, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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