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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

Pickled Pink:
Slow Gherkin skanks up a sweat for the kids

ONCE AGAIN, Slow Gherkin bedazzled the junior high crowd at Streetlight on Saturday with its formidably huge lineup of horn players and other human accessories. I've always been impressed by the sheer dexterity of the kids at Gherkin's shows, who get to take a break from the de rigueur mosh pit to show off the moves they practice all school year in the peace and quiet of the outfield. When I stressed about a teenager skanking around the power cords, the look on her facesaid, "Oh please, you old fart, I know what I'm doing"--and believe me, these kids do.

Like their twentysomething counterparts who have signed up for swing lessons, legions of kids are fed up with buying into maudlin alienation many don't really feel and aggressive politics many don't really understand. In contrast, their road seems the most honest one available: Dance around a lot--it's fun. Gherkin steers clear of modern punky overtones in its ska, playing instead a very listenable, hyper-cheerful version of the traditional. (Fun celebrity digression: It's too bad Fred Schneider from the B-52's didn't happen by the store Saturday instead of Sunday--he might have been impressed). Check out some of Gherkin's newer stuff--the band flirted with it at the show--on various compilations, including Puro Eskanol, a CD released this year on Aztlan Records, a label promoting the "Latin Ska Underground." (I guess the band sports Latin blood in some of its members, but jeez, who can keep track?) Also featured are Voodoo Glow Skulls and Yeska (Aztlan Records, P.O. Box 347376, SF, 94134).

Zpooky Zine's New Release

With a couple weeks of pre-Halloween preparation, the fifth issue of Welcome to the Nightmare zine has hit the shelves. The psychobilly zine, which remains local despite its international distribution, is still fairly teeny but properly filling out in content and appearance. Bug Boy, one of the editors, finally discovered the beauty of the Web and has not only been downloading scary new fonts but is promoting the zine online. This issue features original art and comics by Paul Van Horn, record and film reviews (you guessed it, the low-grade horror variety) and various silly photos. A detailed tour with Demented Are Go is the main event between the pages, and the most amusing piece in this issue. Pick up an issue as you browse at Halloween Headquarters (335 Union St., SC).

Upcoming

Gherkin plays with Blindspot, the Jamones and Flat Planet at the Gaslighter in Campbell on Sunday (6:30pm, $5). On Tuesday, the What Nots and Ashes & Crumbs play in town (call 423-9498 for details).

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From the Oct. 9-15, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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