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[whitespace] Mics on Saturn

The Microphones spent the weekend playing everywhere from Seabright beach to the Saturn Cafe

By David Espinoza

THE OLYMPIA BAND EXCHANGE program completed its month-long stint in Santa Cruz with the Microphones underneath a teepee-tent thing inside the Saturn Cafe, Tuesday (July 31). It must be great to be in a small-scale experimental/low-fi/indie project (small-scale meaning one or two musicians), as touring can get expensive. Makes me wonder how '70s bands like Chicago or the Doobie Brothers were ever able to tour let alone write any decent tunes (the latter is questionable).

As it goes, purveyor of pretty fuzz-noise Phil Elvrum (a.k.a. the Microphones) spent the weekend playing at various spots in Santa Cruz, including Seabright beach. At Tuesday night's final show, Elvrum presumably played an acoustic guitar (you couldn't see inside the teepee-tent) with the words "Blizzard of Negativity" written outside the tent; it was as if Saturn Cafe was the outback and Elvrum was a hermit waiting out the storm. Perhaps it was the people who were the storm, or the plates of mint 'n' chip mud pie--either way, no one seemed to mind Elvrum's decision to remain under the teepee-tent.

HiM's New Features

Speaking of cheesy '70s bands with huge horn sections and avant-garde esoteric noisemakers, experimental modern-jazz crew HiM return to Santa Cruz on Wednesday (Aug. 22) at the 418 Project with New York émigrés Run Return. Consisting of a rotating lineup of musicians, including Dug Scoharin, Fred Erskine, Sean Meadows, Carlo Cennamo and Jon Theadore, the Chicago-based quintet works saxophones, trumpets, congas, drums and bass into a strange brew of instrumental jams that go on and on like the Energizer bunny. The guys have a new album out called New Features, and like last year's Our Point of Departure it is a journey that can be meandering at times but never contrived.

Gherkin Time

Time to call up the folks and tell 'em you can't make the dinner with Aunt Paulina to discuss her trip to the world's largest ball of beetle dung--you've got plans. It is rock & roll with sax-nastiness for the young 'uns on Saturday (Aug. 18) at the Rio Theater with Slow Gherkin, Sneeky ("just love us") Creekans, the Gadjits and Suburban Legends. Local crew the Creekans will be releasing a brand-new album (recorded in Ben Lomond at Faultline Audio).

What does it say about a town that it has a band of local all-star musicians dedicated to the legalization of hemp? It says we rock, and so will the Santa Cruz Hemp All-Stars when they return to Palookaville Sunday (Aug. 19) for a follow-up to their improv Hemp Expo gig in May. The crew is made up of sax-master John Whooley (Estradasphere), guitar-genius Jason Concepcion (Netwerk Electric), keyboardist Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits), bassist David Murphy and percussionist Jeffree Lerner and drummer Zach Velmer from Sound Tribe Sector 9.

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From the August 8-15, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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