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[whitespace] More Bang for Three Bucks

By Mike Connor

THE NOT-QUITE-WORLD-FAMOUS third annual Big Bang Lo-Fi Indie Music Festival continues its rampage through the untamed nooks and crannies of Santa Cruz this week, with two successful shows already under its studded belt at presstime. As of Wednesday, Sept. 25, there are still three $3 shows in well-known venues left to see.

Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 418 Project: Ramonesy meow meows Here Kitty Kitty headline, accompanied by SC's new boy-girl power trio Star 69, who cite Jane's Addiction and Björk as their respective boy-girl vocal influences. Also performing is Scabies bassist Corey's new emo band Marker, the Redlights of Mergatroid and heavy emotional rockers Time Spent Driving.

Thursday, Sept. 26 at Rio Theatre: Experimental ambient electronica gurus Run_return headline Thursday's show, along with melancholy rock trio Invisible, the Comfy Chairs and rapatron, who specialize in old-school '80s rap atop schizoid laptop drum 'n' bass beats. Run_return is releasing its new self-titled album of soulful electronica, heavy on the synthesizers, vibraphones, acoustic guitars, drum machines and mellow technological blipping noises. In the same vein as the Roots of Orchis and IQU, Run_return continues to make chill music at its finest. RR's particular brand of songs sounds like odes to those soul-searching early morning drives home after a long night's trip, ranging from the massage-table muscle relaxer of "Infection Spread" to the serene breakbeat Zen of "wake-up haze."

Sunday, Sept. 29 at Needle Exchange: In a distant surreality, I dreamed about a post-punk, Bleach-era grrl band called Lipstick, where Fiona Apple was the lead singer, but at the same time it was Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, which was strange, yet unsettlingly exciting. They'll be playing with Grief Counsel, Melanie & Alessandra and Hellafine.

Check out Sir Ukulele extraordinaire Oliver Brown's website for updates at www.kingturtle.com/bigbang/bigbang2002.html.

Dear Jon Spencer

By the time you read this letter, I'll be gone. I know you tried your hardest last Thursday night at the Catalyst; you even wore your shiny leather pants that you know I love so much. And you know it drives me crazy when you strut around the stage like a hunka burnin' love, screaming "BLUES EXPLOSION!" and whipping your sweaty hair at the me in the crowd. And don't think I haven't noticed how you've cleaned up your act since the days of Pussy Galore, so much so that I can actually listen to your new album Plastic Fang without constantly telling myself, "it's art, it's art, it's art ... " Even the glaring absence of R.L. Burnside is forgivable. You've tried so hard, Jon, and I love you for that. You're a real howlin' wolf now, and I'll always love you, but it's not you, it's me. You might as well know that I've fallen in love with another band. I wandered in a bit late on your opening three-piece garage band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and (did I mention I love you?) in less than 10 minutes, sweetie, Karen O blew my mind and left me for dead. Jon, she flailed and giggled and screamed; she panted and shook her tight butt, suspenders hanging, sloppy boy hair sticking to her face. Abrupt and jangly Devo-ish licks, and crunchy blues riffs sans bass accompaniment kept their sound crisp and hollow, leaving plenty of room for explosive drums and O's urgent, shaky-voiced "aw aw aw yeah" ad libs. I heard more than one woman say she wanted a piece of O's action, so I've got my work cut out for me, Jon. Go find someone else to fling your sweat on, 'cause I'm gone, and I'm taking Plastic Fang with me.

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From the September 25-October 2, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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