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Almost Unplugged

[whitespace] What-Nots
David Espinoza

This Big: Bass player Brendan and the rest of the What-Nots went all-out July 21 at Callahan's.

The What-Nots take out 'all the rocking parts' and still break strings

By Matt Koumaras

THE NEW WORLD ORDER is stamping out the Santa Cruz music scene with its mandatory vocal-cord removal (at least the minor procedure came with a free scoop of Baskin-Robbins). Now, the Order is pushing for the complete replacement of amps in exchange for Gordon Lightfoot albums. But the military police were nodding in approval as the What-Nots turned their amps down to negative integers at Callahan's July 21. Phil's crafty guitar licks were never as evident as during the rework of "Suck You Dry." Played masterfully at half speed, the song also allowed the dual, carousel-like harmonies to soar. Eden humorously told the packed crowd that the band would "take out all the rocking parts" to keep the music down. "S&M" slithered in a slow and graceful procession that made me shove my hearing aid back in to capture every intricacy. Breaking strings at such tranquil volumes indicates one of two things: it was all choreographed by Paula Abdul (I should have known by Kevin and Brendan's synchronized back flips), or the band was going all out.

T-Mama and the LPs opened and at first glance seemed like the kind of generic dance band you inevitably end up being subjected to at any house party after one sniff too many of Elmer's. However, this offshoot of Meat Pizza Sandwich delivered some serious, tricked-out dance grooves and kinky sexual chants that made the hair on my mullet cut stand at attention. Ryan's delirious funk lines on bass worked full time with benefits. Teresa (T-Mama) and Greg's enthusiastic vocals drenched each question-and-answer-like verse with a soulful sweat.

Tape Review: Dolores

Well-orchestrated numbers that burst of style and emotion abound on this demo. "September" is a glittering prize. Illya's keyboards confidently add texture to its dreamy melody, and the rapierlike guitars are as sharp as that crimped hair you got in the eye at last week's Nelson concert/riot. Jason's forlorn vocals are similar to Suede and Oasis at times, which isn't normally my cup of Celestial Seasonings. This time around, I somehow couldn't help drinking it, and I couldn't help loving it. Such pithy lines as "I'm an hourglass, and you are the sand; you flow right through me" should also capably woo the slippers right off of any coy indie mistress. Three out of four songs got my blood cells boiling with immensely churning bridges and lusciously deliberate gaps of sustain. "Broken Things" offers an infectious, descending guitar line and catchy-as-the-clap backing vocals. The distorted crunch of "Button Down," courtesy of Matt and Jason's ever-resourceful guitars, builds an impressive studio of sound. Dolores plays the Aptos Club Saturday. Email ciccone@cats.ucsc.edu.

Upcoming

Peter McGettigan and Clay Butler host the Streetlight Presents/Club 138 benefit at 8:30pm Friday on Community Television (Ch. 71). The first 30-minute installment showcases the Applicators, Damones and the Low-Down. The Aug. 6 show features the Volunteers, Sick Shift and Nothing Substantial. The very scary Friday the 13th finale concludes with American Steel, Riff Raff and Boy Kicks Girl. Thursday, a benefit show at the SC Vets Hall with Racetraitor, Juda, Up in Arms, Unit #6, the Anasazi and Fantabulous starts at 6pm ($6, all ages); Diversion plays Free Radio SC 96.3FM 4­7pm Tuesday.

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From the July 28-August 4, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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