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Sky's the Limit

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The Aptos Club gets rocked, while the Vets Hall's weekend show turns up Ghoul-less

THE APTOS CLUB WAS packed last Thursday with some of this area's prettiest faces and the club's usual assortment of characters (so that's who bought all the Billy Ray Cyrus albums). I've only seen Witchhook Sky a couple times before, and despite the band's obvious excellent musicianship, it never moved me. This time, however, it had a grittier punk edge and rocked with maximum gusto. Roland is a stellar front man and conjured up some wicked guitar riffs. If metal with an imagination is your cup of tea, take a sip of Witchhook Sky.

Vincent's Ear, also in the lineup, was music to the wax in my ears. Its adventurous songs launched into genre-defying territories, proving that musical visions can still come true. The band conquered territories others only hint at and the new lineup was razor sharp.

Besides being a guru on something like 42 different instruments, Michael has vocals that were, as the teenyboppers in Raiders jackets at the Capitola Mall say, the bomb. Pete's a bonafide rock & roll messiah on drums and puts the thrills back in fills. The groove-mad "Cheap Hotel" was mesmerizing. Plus you gotta respect a band named after Jan-Michael Vincent. Stop wasting your time on those bootleg Dennis Rodman/Karl Malone nude mud-wrestling videos--check this band out instead.

Ghoul-less

Saturday's Vets Hall show was one of the last Gorehound shows for awhile now that Mari is heading overseas soon. The Species-riff parade, "More Aliens, Less Dudes," rocked in a tricky, Chemical People- instrumental way. Chris was pure David Copperfield on guitar, and his stage charisma was sexier than Claudia Schiffer in a diaper. "Circuit City" made me, at the stroke of midnight, whisper "Gorehound" in the bathroom mirror 33 times. Lee Tom (Tommy Lee to the dyslexic Motley Crue headbangers out there) will gradually inspire all local drummers to switch to bassoon, and Mari's thunderous bass lines made the Gorehounds a glittering prize. (Its new CD will be out in a month.)

Openers The Muggs charmed the crowd with spicy rock dishes fresh out of the Pixies make-and-bake oven. Its loopy riffs never got so fancy that the band undid itself. I still haven't found The Muggs' elusive demo tape (although I did have a dream in which Scott Baio traded it to me for a Beanie Baby). I can only rate the performance by the number of head bobs per song--my head's now dangling at my feet by its nerve endings. Awesome dual vocals from Tracy and Miya, but what else is new? Remember kids--it's Muggs, not drugs.

The Ghoulies' reputation for great live shows held the anxious crowd hostage. At a certain temperature Kepi's sappy-go-lucky vocals can induce one's vomit meter. Luckily, I didn't barf because the Ghoulies never showed up in Santa Cruz--unless it played a brunch set at 10am. The crowd got its money back, but I really felt for the bummed-out promoters. So wherever the Ghoulies ended up Saturday, I'm sure they rocked and sold lots of Lookout merchandise. To console myself, I went home and listened to the first two Ramones albums and was surprised to learn that the Ramones stole all their riffs from the Ghoulies.

Upcoming

Vincent's Ear, Exploding Crustaceans, The Gods Hate Kansas, Undertoad and Subtle Oak Complexity play the Vet's Hall on Wednesday, July 22 (8pm; all ages). On Saturday, PAWNS, the Go-Devils and The Gods Hate Kansas play Skinny's (21 and over, free).
Matt Koumaras

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From the July 23-29, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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