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Thank Goodness for Babelfish

THE Itals got mellow at Moe's, doing the contemporary roots-reggae thing with gusto and great vocal harmonies. In light of all the criticism that Michelle Shocked has faced for her (sorta) newfound religion, I couldn't help but listen to the Rastafarian proselytizing with brand new ears. Having no particularly strong belief that Jah Rastafari is the Ruler of all Creation e'rwhere, I always did feel kind of weird praising Him at reggae shows, but like most people, I never miss a chance to hoot, holler, and give thanks for the bountiful blessings of the universe. Finally, I've found a way to be one with the Rastas, thanks to the trusty Babelfish translator embedded in my inner ear. When they say, "Praise to Jah, the one and only Ruler of all Creation seated in Mount Zion," what I hear is, "Praise to this funny feeling inside me that, like a feather on my tummy, makes me feel giddy like a schoolgirl." One Love.

Unfrozen Patriotic Cold-War-Era Music Critic

Nearly 20 years after falling into an icy crevasse while hunting dirtbag commie scum, scientists discovered the Patriotic Cold-War-Era Music Critic, thawed him out and sent him to the Red Elvises show at Moe's Alley. Here is his official report on this telling sociological experiment, printed here verbatim: "I'm just a patriotic cold-war era music critic; your tolerance of Russian commie pigs frightens me, because of course they hate freedom, democracy and rock & roll. I am shocked and dismayed that Americans are allowing themselves to be exposed to this insidious propaganda. Obviously the pinko trio has been forced to play music from a very young age by the same oppressive government that created great Olympic athletes, because they were all considerably proficient on bass, guitar and drums. On the surface, they seem like fun-loving guys expressing pent-up joy after being liberated from the yolk of Communism, but when I found myself wanting to jump out of my seat and writhe ecstatically with the Russian trio while they sang "I Want to See You Belly Dance," I ran out of the room to avoid further brainwashing. We must nuke Mother Russia to Kingdom Come immediately."

Twenty years from now, scientists plan to repeat the experiment with a cryogenically frozen Republican and a band called the Burque'd Belafantes.

--Mike Connor

The Jazz That Goes Boom

Attention Tigre and Bunny: if you still like the boom, Scott Amendola is your man. This guy is one of the best drummers I have seen in any genre ever. I mean, who really thinks about drums that much--they make the pretty-pretty thump-thump and everything, but unless Rikki Rockett is spinning above the crowd with fireworks shooting out of his sticks, I'm not necessarily thinking too much about them, you know?

When Amendola's playing, though, you often can't think about anything else. He is so fluid and inventive and freakin' surprising on every song. So now with this solo project of his, the confoundingly named Scott Amendola Band, he can hang out on his little Drum Kit Central Command and whack away while the band members riff on his beats, and Friday night at the Kuumbwa it was working out pretty well. Personally, some of my favorite work of Amendola's has been as a foil playing off guitarists Charlie Hunter and Will Bernard, so I have to say I probably got the most out of the time he spent knocking around groovy rock melodies with always-trippy guitarist Nels Cline. Plus, it's hard to have any more fun watching the drums than checking out Amendola with that gigantic grin--when he really gets into it, he gets this kind of crazed Mephistophelian look that is so fuckin' adorable. Dude is rad.

--Steve Palopoli

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From the September 11-18, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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