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Almost Punk?

I've said it before but I'll say it again: strange things are afoot at the Mediterranean these days. It's like some kind of punk-rock revival happening over there, with people sporting "Fuck Henry Rollins" shirts as if they were hanging out at 924 Gilman. What's going on at this dinky little club in Aptos? Despite rumors that Foreigner would headline last Saturday evening, and that Carlos Santana might show up to say hi to his brother Manuel, nothing of the sort happened. Local West Memphis 3 heroine Nikki Persnickety produced another show to benefit the WM3, inviting Bright Black Sky, The Itch, Los Dryheavers and The Fleshies to stir up that little cauldron of punk fans.

Bright Black Sky got off to a bit of a rocky start because of what looked to be some faulty wiring to the bass guitar, but they quickly fixed the problem and went on to rock through a surprisingly polished set--surprising because it was their first time playing out. Evil, gurgling bass lines anchored down some complex punk rock, which was only marred by anony-screaming vocals that are too often the de facto style for punk bands. Tons of potential though.

Aaron from the Itch, on the other hand, somehow manages to inject his whiny screams with loads of charisma, and almost enough punk to grow on. Top 40 hits like "Find Your Way Home" and "Let's Get Drunk" put these guys in the same school of punk as your mom, who actually wound up puking and passed out behind a dumpster mere blocks from the club.

Has anybody else noticed that Los Dryheavers put on a great fucking show every time they play? They've got so much oi-boy-gone-borracho-Latino energy going for them, and tatted-up style to spare. Somewhere in the vomit-drenched hereafter, there is a stadium-size dive bar waiting for these guys to rock on for eternity with all the dregs of humanity too depraved for an afterlife in hell.

The Fleshies wrapped up the evening with a weirdly confrontational set of deliriously twisted shit. In response to a random jeer for the band to get started, lead singer Johnny No Moniker intoned, with his back to the room: "We will--don't you worry your pretty little heads." Then they erupted into a furious charge of seething pathos, connecting with some source of disturbed ugliness that tried to take over the Med. A mosh pit erupted, culminating in a surreal moment when a diminutive Johnny was bouncing off the lead singer of the Highway Murderers, whose pants were nearly down to his ankles. Broken glass from earlier mosh pits still littered the floor, but Johnny rolled around in it like it was cocoa butter, soothing wounds that cut to the bone. He was rolling in the pit and running to the back of the club; he was screaming in my face jumping up onto the bar as if the floor had turned to lava, doing whatever he could to make a disturbing spectacle of himself. I praised the Lords of Acid that I'd left mine at home that night, because I'd have lost my shit for good if I'd thought it was real. In the light of day, I know that the bogeyman only exists in movies to steal money from the poor ... right?

Angry Amputee

Regarding their last show at the Med, after which I wrote about Angry Amputees bassist Dalty surviving falling amps unscathed, Dalty responded thusly: "Hey Mike, I saw the article on our show in Metro Santa Cruz from the other night. Thanks for the high props, man. I have to set the record straight here, though. Those PA speakers that fell actually smashed right into the side of my head and right shoulder like a Mack truck, almost knocking me over and making me see stars. I got seriously belted by that shit. People were right there picking it back up off of me and dropped it again, making it fall back into place on my head, then they bounced off of me and fell behind me, knocking Stacey's equipment over completely. In the madness of all the confusion and head pain I realized the only thing it had done to my guitar was turn the volume knob down. So I cranked it back up and powered through the rest of the set bleeding and bruised. I was sore for a few days there, but that's what punk rock's all about, man! So there you have it. The real deal. Cheers, Dalty."

Mike Connor

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From the August 20-27, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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