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[whitespace] The Rock Show

Local Bands Get Baked

By Mike Connor

IT ALL WENT DOWN at a place called The Cube on Saturday afternoon in Santa Cruz: Rocking, rolling, barbecuing, sea monster worship and plenty of battery licking. All these things had their place at this musical fundraiser for the annual Big Bang music festival coming up in October, where local bands flood a different venue each night for a week, showcasing talent that might otherwise only be seen by the bands' nearest and dearest.

Half Tzar, Amortifera, The Automatones, Josh Alper, Rick Swan, The Snaps and Oliver Brown all played live music throughout the day. And while the music was consistently appealing--in a brain-curdling, head-bobbing kind of way--it's easiest to focus on the acts that did things a bit differently than, well, anything that's ever been done before. Rick Swan held an inspiring rock & roll revival, wherein he blessed us with his thoughts on the parallels between the spirit of rock & roll and the freedom to believe in sea monsters. He stood in buckets of hot and cold water while licking a nine-volt battery and suddenly I understood the spirit of community and rock & roll more vividly than I ever have before. Well, it all totally made sense at the time.

The Snaps were oh-so-pretty with their bubblegum-rockin' falsetto melodies that kept the ladies squealing and hopping around, and they did the Swim. The singer jumped into the drum set at the end of their set; it looked painful. Oliver Brown wrapped up the live music with a typically charming set of ukulele originals, which never fail to turn a roomful of rowdy punks into a smiling, well-behaved bunch of kindergartners sitting Indian-style on the living room floor.

Den mother Hiya Swanhuyser organized a bake sale and raffle to entice the Chuck Taylor-wearing masses to cough up some extra change for the cause. Fortunately, the poor punk-asses were no match for my special edition Patriotic Capitalist American Express gold card, with which I bought five raffle tickets, won their Grand Prize and walked home with 10 CDs and five precious LPs, all made by local bands. Thanks, all! But let this be a lesson to everyone: Never let the guy with Target flip-flops, khaki shorts and his beady, scheming eyes on the prize enter your raffle because he's not planning on leaving empty-handed. Like all terminal preppies, I always play to win.

The Clumsy and the Clothed

Despite past reports of naked moshers frolicking to the Celtic-hillbilly-bluegrass sounds of the Clumsy Lovers, none of the sweat-soaked revelers in the Catalyst atrium shed their clothes last Thursday night. By the looks of things out on the dance floor, though, they all drank their fair share of beer and were certainly inspired to cut a rug as the five-piece band of Canucks raged through versions of "Stir It Up," "Amazing Grace" and "Daddy Sang Bass."

Hair Club for Men

Heavy metal is still alive and thrashing at Kleidon's in downtown San Jose, where S.J. locals Ledbender played on Friday night. In one room, DJs spun the latest in highly produced thrash metal as I discovered the false bottom in my shot glass. Cheap sonsabitches. Meanwhile, Judas Priest (or was it Iron Maiden?) warmed up the crowd in the main room of the bar before Ledbender took the stage and delivered a satisfying set of heavy, crunchy, guitar-hero rock, with the spirit of Black Sabbath somehow lingering about the room.

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From the June 19-26, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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