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Notes From the Underground

D.I.Y. Diplomats
Locals rock yuppieville and Gilman punk-politics fest

Fury 66 hit the road on Thursday to open for A.F.I. at the Cubberley Community Theater in Palo Alto, which is better suited for children's plays than punk shows--the floors slant in neat rows of bolted-down seats and awkward aisle spaces. The audience itself was overwhelmingly juvenile, with the exception of several rows of bewildered, yet patiently smiling, chaperones seated in the back. Three-piece Vintage 46 opened with a well-executed but redundant set, replete with many Rancid-isms that were difficult to ignore. Fury singer Joe Clements managed to pull some of the kids out of their passive, TV-watching slouch and up to the narrow strip of space in front of the stage to jump around, but the energy was soon tainted by a few big drunk jocks who began extracting theater seats and throwing them on stage.

While the Fury guys took this with weary grace, Roach, guitarist for the Groovie Ghoulies, wasn't so forgiving after getting hit with a big piece of wood and metal. Incensed, the band stopped cranking out their Ramonesey feel-good hits and Roach ordered the culprit to come up and explain himself. Unable to verbalize, he could only respond by shrugging his shoulders, picking up the seat and throwing it down again, at which point he was quickly escorted off stage by a bouncer.

As far as I could tell, A.F.I.'s set went without incident. Their show at the Vet's Hall Basement on Friday was fun, from what I could see through my bifocals and hear through my hearing aid in the old folks' corner behind the stage, where I dragged my weary bones after some kid's skull cracked open my lip during Mock's set. The sound was up and down all night, with A.F.I. falling into the nadir (look it up, kid--it's on the SAT!). Despite the lack of a guitar mic and other problems, they had the kids in a frenzy like small, bloodthirsty sharks, thrashing around to mile-a-minute guitar lines and Davey's snotty, high-pitched vocals. It must be observed that not only has Davey lost his curled forehead spike, but the whole band was sporting new sneakers and generally looking less grimy. Oh well--they still rock and the new hair is still pretty cool.

On to more important things--SC's Black Label opened on Saturday at 924 Gilman's weekend-long, do-it-yourself festival, where all day there were speakers, tables and discussions focusing on independent bands, labels, zines and businesses and their significance to the punk community. Finally, in an environment sculpted around ideas more probing than the geometry of a mosh-pit, young and old seemed to come together. Former Fifteen frontman Jeff Ott shot indoor hoops with one kid while representatives from Free Radio Berkeley and local zine writers peddled their merchandise. The importance of this communicative space can't be dismissed, and I'm glad we were so well-represented.


Youth Brigade plays at the Vet's Hall basement on Saturday with Screw 32, Tilt, New York's Latex Generation and locals the Willies and Static (all ages, 8pm, $7/$6).
Arwen Curry

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From the August 1-7, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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