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[whitespace] Facets of Crystal

Smoke and lighting effects obscured the humans at Crystal Method show

By David Espinoza

IF RAVE MUSIC is the disco of the '90s, what would the Crystal Method's '70s equivalent be? The question was appropriately left unanswered as the dynamic duo of electronica made cyborg mayhem at Palookaville on Saturday (July 28). Since it was sponsored by M2, MTV's brother channel that actually plays music videos instead of moronic shows marketed toward impressionable teens (not that the videos are much better), you could tell the show was going to be a huge production with loads of lighting and sound equipment on- and offstage.

The presentation was incredibly high-tech for such a small venue but fitting for a stylish color-happy audience--if there was any question as to what kind of demographic the Crystal Method appeals to, it can be summed up with one fella whose T-shirt read, "I read your email."

Openers Uberzone offered some fine static bass beats so heavy they made the skin on my face ripple. By the time the Crystal Method came onstage, around 25 minutes to midnight, the capacity audience was revved up and ready to dance. To their credit, bionic DJ knob-tweedlers Scott Kirkland and Ken Jordan seemed to really get off on their music, energetically moving as much as their demanding gadgets would allow them.

Of course, the composers aren't really meant to stand out during an electronica concert, and the show was all about the smoke machines, the frenetic and dazzling lighting effects that could give Jim Carrey an aneurysm, the inescapable pulsating rhythms and sounds. In all, there's a certain irony to the visceral, almost tribal nature of raves, where all the technology in the world brings everything right back to the campfire.

Audiocrush, Lonely Kings and More

They say variety is the spice of life, but who would have thought a punk show would be the place to find it? Low and behold, Good Riddance's sold-out gig at Palookaville Sunday (July 29) featured a explosive mixed bag of openers that touched all the right places in punkism today. Local emo-core newcomers Audiocrush are definitely the band to watch this year, with ex-Fury 66 vocalist Joe Clements and vocalist Jen Roye leading the charge. While the songs are still rough around the edges, Ms. Roye makes up for it with a fingerpicking technique seldom seen in the band's genre. The crew also includes Troy Cope on bass and original Good Riddance drummer Rich McDermott. The band has another show scheduled Aug. 18 at the 418 Project and an album due later this year off the newly formed Lorelei Records.

In contrast to Audiocrush's emo-soaked despair, melodic power-punk desperadoes the Lonely Kings punched a hole through the hovering wall of low-fi sorrow. With a new record due out in October, the trio remains one of Santa Cruz's more polished crews, not only for Jake Desrochers' stellar guitar work but for his glorious voice as well.

Following the Lonely Kings were hard-core thrash dudes Death by Stereo. I'm guessing these five homeboys are from L.A., since they enjoy posturing and palm-muting metal guitar hooks. Watching their limp-Mohawked lead singer, growl, cough and scream into the mic, all the while leaping from one part of the stage to the other, one would think Mr. Bungle's Mike Patton would dig this band.

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From the August 1-8, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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