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[whitespace] 2 Days in the Life

Friday, Oct. 18, 10pm: I wake up in a daze, confused by the darkness. Switch the light on and sit squinting in my bed, when the phone rings.

An old friend from Chicago, haven't talked to him in almost a year. He wants to know what I think about enemas. I deny any knowledge of the procedure.

I cut my hair and head to the Dredg show at the Catalyst, lots of stylish unkempt rockers there looking good. Real good. The opening band, Divided, is good enough to fool me into thinking they're the headliners--high-drama minor-chord rock. The singer's a lanky guy with a patch of spiky black hair on the top of his head; he's deep into his stage persona. He hits the ground, swings the mic stand around and jumps up and down. His voice is radio-caliber. He's good. Real good.

I head over to the Vets Hall to catch the Yohimbe Brothers. A small, miscellaneous group of people groove subtly in place, and there's Vernon Reid in African garb. He's soloing now--a thousand high-pitched notes scatter like stars from the Big Bang. I think of aimless noise-jazz, and feel relieved when they settle into a funky jam, DJ Logic getting freaky on the cut. Yohimbe root: the natural Viagra. Bonerific.

Then it's back to Dredg, their moody and technical, hard-rocking ballads. The drummer makes the band--he's full of refreshing, unexpected beats. The singer stops to play the slide guitar, working the mic handle up and down the strings. Some of the women are dancing; dudes nod their heads. Impressive, but moody. The ride home is fast and refreshing.

Saturday, Oct. 19, 10:30pm: Back at the Catalyst before the Expendables show, I step on somebody's foot; my housemate and I follow her upstairs for a drink with her friends. Lucky.

Back downstairs, a wall of 23 women dances onstage with the Expendables. The guys flash shit-eating grins; I'm happy for them--the show is sold out and the crowd is energized. Upstairs above the stage, I get a closer look at them. They sound great--so much like Sublime ... and it's always impressive to watch a drummer sing. A woman walking up the stairs almost stumbles into me. "I need a rest stop ..." She puts her head on my shoulder for a few moments, then suddenly jerks upright and walks away.

On the way out, I try to convince the merch girl to give me a free CD, to no avail.

Pizza, Red Room, home.

--Mike Connor

Southern Fried

You might be a redneck if you loved seeing sexy women eating, throwing and rubbing themselves down with fried chicken onstage at the Southern Culture on the Skids show at the Catalyst Thursday night. These all-volunteer lovelies were afraid neither of grease nor of go-go dancing, which they also engaged in at the urging of the band. What could have enticed these theoretically upstanding Santa Cruz women to give themselves over to the siren song of salacious sleaze? Friends, we all know where to point the finger: rock music! Specifically the seductive guitar riffs and thumping bass lines of Southern Culture, who are clearly out to enflame and corrupt our fine citizenry with songs about the "Eight Piece Box" and "Banana Pudding." Well, it may all seem like fun and games now, but will your sons and daughters enjoy their pudding cups in Hell when their trailer's a-rockin' and the devil comes knockin'? And will they recognize that Southern Culture is not just a great rockabilly band, in the fine white-trash tradition of the Cramps, but a versatile rock outfit that can switch from the twangy reverb of "Camel Walk" to tiki lounge to a Cars-like pop sound at the drop of a 20-piece bucket?

--Steve Palopoli

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From the October 23-30, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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