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[whitespace] Sneaky Creekans

Sneaky as ever, the Creekans put street style to work on their new album

By David Espinoza

THERE'S SOMETHING exceptional about a band that can put on a great show on a sidewalk as well as on a stage, and it shows with local ska boys Sneaky Creekans. Sure, the sextet now commands a sizable following, rivaled only by the likes of Slow Gherkin. But before that, thanks to the band's sense of spontaneity and a slow-to-act police force, the Creekans (from Boulder Creek) took many lessons in street musicianship 101, and the hard work has paid off with their second full-length album, For the Time Being.

Aside from a flat rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" (slightly better though than Pennywise's version many years back), the Creekans serve up a 12-course meal of anthemic ska/punk treats superior to anything they've done before.

Tenor-sax man Paul Demorest and alto-sax man Josh O'Brien (replaced by Matt Lease when Josh moved to San Diego) help give the recording a polished appeal, especially on "ucb," the instrumental opening track. Lyrically, Creekan mastermind Nate Lieby is really in his element when he's singing about his band, from its run-in with an unfriendly town on "Soccer 99" (where is Lodoga anyway?) to "Daily, Nightly, Never."

The Creekans are, of course, capable of more genres than simply ska-- there are elements of metal and even hip-hop in some of their tunes, but ska beats just seem to come more naturally. On the final track, "Evil," the Creekans boldly inject metal rap into the mix during the chorus--whether it works depends on whether you prefer 311 over Slow Gherkin. One thing's for sure: the Creekans end For the Time Being with a bang.

Speaking of "bangs," Santa Cruz's low-fi indie music festival, the Big Bang (part II), will begin on Thursday (Sept. 27) with Oliver Brown, the Automatones and Absent Referent at the 418 Project. From there, one little fire of low-fi rock & roll will break out at a different venue for 11 nights, ending on Oct. 7 at an undisclosed location with Run-Return, Uprock Rhizome and OKR. All shows are all ages; see the story and schedule on page 11 or check out www.7thsign/~bigbang.

Goth to Go

To say Santa Cruz's goth scene is alive and kickin' would be a contradiction within the goth vernacular, but then again, "dead and withering" just doesn't have that nice ring to it. Either way, pale-faced, black-clothed Sisters of Mercy and Dead Can Dance fans have been coming out in droves for six months now for Dominion, a monthly dance party at the Santa Cruz Vets Hall.

Whether Dominion is to blame for the chilly summer we've had in Santa Cruz (ozone-depleting SUVs would be my second guess) is beside the point. Dominion celebrates its six-month anniversary this Saturday (Sept. 29) with special surprises, as well as industrial and goth CD/record spinning via DJs Neko, Gobo and Greg. Call 454.0478 for more info.

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From the September 26-October 3, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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