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Ten Gallons of Talent: Of all the reggae singers out there, Eek-A-Mouse is the hattiest.

A Parade of Regulars

The good thing about the bands coming through town on a regular basis is that there's a reason for their continuing popularity--most would make excellent companions.

By no means a stranger to our town, the things we like to smoke and what goes on in our cave trains, Eek-A-Mouse is practically a local by now. If he lived in Santa Cruz, I'd totally take him mountain biking during the full moon, even though various burrs and small woodland creatures would surely stick to the tight crushed velvet pants he wore at the Catalyst show last Friday. Then we'd go to the beach, smoke ganja and dance around a drum circle with reggae-loving hippies. In the firelight, we'd all return his gap-toothed smile as he serenaded us with his rich, Jamaican-accented voice and funny falsetto sing-jay antics while his frilly black see-through blouse blows gently in the midnight ocean breeze.

Les Yeux Noirs, on the other hand, could set up in my kitchen and play melancholy Gypsy songs at suppertime. When it comes time to do the dishes, they could strike up a kinetic klezmer tune with frenzied violin solos and dizzying four-part harmonies, and we'd dash our dishes on the floor, then prance upon the broken chunks with reckless mirth and heartfelt abandon. During dessert, the cimbalom player Marian Miu could recreate the astounding solo he performed last Tuesday night at Henfling's. Then he'd employ the same hand-eye coordination to kick my ass at Playstation, occasionally letting me win so as not to spoil a beautiful Romanian evening.

Let's All Play the Drums Though We Don't Know How

There's a semilegendary band (born in the '70s Tokyo underground) coming to town that has never played in the States before, but if all the hype in The Wire and Sleazenation turns out to be true, SC may soon know the meaning of experimental Japanese nursery-school psychedelia. Eight out of 10 hippies agree that there's really no need to make fun of drum circles, but what about savvy Japanese avant-garde noisestrumentalists (and Hebrew lovers) Maher Shalal Hash Baz? Should they really be exempt from ridicule when they employ amateur percussionists, sometimes even just pulling random people off the streets to lay down the drum tracks for their recordings? Possibly, considering that husband and wife Tori and Reiko Kudo intentionally make imperfection a central theme in their music, believing in the very Zen idea that "imperfect things convey the perfectness which is so far unattainable ..." Invoking names like the Shaggs, Syd Barrett and Roland Kirk in the fawning reviews from the press, MSHB will bring their flawed and pretty little symphonies to the Cube on Friday, Sept. 12. Cinematic instrumental abstractionists the Curtains (featuring members of Deerhoof and Open City) from SF also perform. Send an email to [email protected] for more info.

Mike Connor

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From the September 10-17, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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