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Sweaty Kings

NOBODY SWEATS like the Lonely Kings' Jake Desrochers, but don't go thinking he's just got overactive sweat glands or something. He's working hard for your money, and on Friday night at the Catalyst, Jake, Jason, Jon and Jonas rocked that Catalyst to its knobby little knees with a hailstorm of aggressive and metallic melodic rock. After a brief bit of banter about some of the apathetic crowds they've encountered while on tour out there in the world, Desrochers showed some love for the hometown SC fans, who of course adore the Kings, and they showed their appreciation of their lords like any loyal subjects should: they moshed like upright epileptics. The Kings exploded out of the gates (and here you thought they'd open with "More than Words") with a flood of feel-good intensity, sounding raw and tight despite recent changes in the lineup. O.G. Lonely Kings drummer Jason Wilkinson is back on drums, now that Jon Barrysmith has resigned from the band, and Jon from Jetlag is holding down the rumbling basslines now that Jess Darling has also left. Desrochers stubbornly refused to let the Kings die. "I'm really bummed we lost a couple guys again, but we got one original King back, and at this point I'm just stoked to still be a band. It might seem desperate or lame to carry on after all of these changes, it's just I love rock and roll and the Lonely Kings too much to let it go." There was really nothing desperate or lame about the show, though. They sounded like they're ready to rock out all the way to Europe and back again.

Big, Big Soul

With no less than three horns and two backup female vocalists, plus a keyboard player, bassist, guitarist, drummer, percussionist and lead singer, Soul Majestic remained tight and irie, and they sounded huge in little ole' Moe's Alley last Monday. But did they sound big enough for Kevin, who, towering as he did over the crowd, was clearly the band's biggest fan of the night? When I asked him, he stopped dancing and looked wayyyyy down at me, blonde dreads framing a slightly confused and amused expression on his face. "Sure man, whatever." So there you have it. Big people bending down low to show love and support for a standout local reggae outfit. They drew an impressive turnout for a Monday night, a following which will only grow as word of mouth does its thing.

--Mike Connor

Stand By and Be Counted

Like any fine swine, KPIG's live-music show Please Stand By has only gotten better with age. I should know, I was in the studio for the very first one, and man, was host "Sleepy" John Sandidge driving poor Arden crazy back then with all his technical screw-ups.

Wait, what am I saying, he's still driving poor Arden crazy with all of his technical screw-ups.

OK, seriously though, Sunday marked the 200th show for the PSB crew, and they did it up in style in the KPIG parking lot with a live audience and everything. Iris DeMent showed up fresh from the Sarah Elizabeth Campbell benefit the night before and played my favorite song of hers, "Wasteland of the Free," which is indescribably exquisite in the way it sticks it to overpaid CEOs, religious hypocrites, sold-out politicians and all the other shit we Americans have to put with. Can we just send all the Nashville hat acts packing once and for all now that DeMent has reminded us what country music is really supposed to be about? Bringin' down the Man, baby!

Anyway, also showing up to celebrate from the Campbell benefit were Amy Rigby and local Sherry Austin, who I hadn't heard before but who is quite a songwriter. There were at least a dozen other musicians who came to fete the show live, including Professor Milo, Makana, Reckless Kelly and Eliza Gilkyson. Just a great afternoon all around. Congrats to Sleepy, all the PSB folks and KPIG for putting the rest of the commercial-radio world to shame with a live music show that matters. Here's to 200 more.

--Steve Palopoli

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From the August 28-September 4, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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