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Notes From the Underground

Secret Sounds:
Bands resort to private venues in these clubless days

Seeking out shows last weekend was like a top-secret stealth mission with varied success. Johnny Law quickly busted an underground L.I.F.E. show Thursday night before the band ever got to play, but Sick Shift did a short set and it was cool to see Detestation and Obliterator, two Portland bands that play a breed of fast, political crust-core that's a rarity here.

The Rudiments never showed at Friday's Grey Zone show at Jade Street, and the Goodfellas had to cancel due to a family emergency. I missed Karp on Saturday, but heard the show was explosive. New Jersey hardcore band Ensign also rocked on Sunday, no doubt elated to play their first show on tour after a series of automotive disasters.

Some great bands came through and local participation was in full force, but playing in private spaces requires way too much secrecy, which shuts a lot of people out. After the demise of the Basement, locals are still jeopardizing their security to donate time, money, equipment and space, but the intimacy has a price.
Arwen Curry

Night of the Missing Venues

I tried to set up a show this week for Tanner, a killer band from San Diego, that has been playing with the likes of Rocket From the Crypt, Jawbreaker and Red Aunts, but it wasn't easy. The only venues that allow young people are too big for a small show. The halls around town are too expensive to rent, unless you're expecting a huge crowd. The city requires insurance, which costs $300 to $400. And then there's uniformed security and city admission taxes, nickel, dime, nickel, dime--broke.

Now let's say you want to avoid this municipal money machine and set up a free show in some house or warehouse--provided you can find one on a Monday night at short notice. Well, the city has an answer to that--which, for some reason, they call their "finest."

All that remains in SC are a few revolving houses and a couple of stores, which will hopefully stay a step ahead of the fuzz. The city has cracked down on the German Hall, the Viking's Hall (by extension) and even the Portuguese Hall, which has been having shows since before I was a glint in my mama's eye.

We found a place for Tanner, but barely so. Maybe local bands should get together and rent a collective performance space so they can actually perform--you know, like bands are supposed to do.

I will, however, give the city credit for giving up the Civic for Friday's benefit show (8pm, all ages), where As Yet Untitled will play with the Belligerents, Triple A and Jetlag. All proceeds go toward the SC Youth Center Organization, so do the kidz a favor and go check it out.
Michael Mechanic


Spaceboy plays at UCSC's Whole Earth Cafe on Thursday with Saturn's Flea Collar (including former members of Victim's Family) and One-Eyed Gullied Prophesy (5pm, all ages). Dammit Jim! and Battery Park play on Saturday at Don Quixote's in Felton (9pm). On Sunday, Locus plays at Emi's with Vincen't Ear (21 plus. 9:30pm)
Michael Mechanic

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From the July 18-24, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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