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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Only the Lonely:
Lonely Kings check their heads in Aptos, while the Saturn Cafe hosts live tunes

I WAS BRACING myself for a letdown a la 7-Eleven's Triple Gulp last Thursday at the Aptos Club because I had heard too many good things about the Lonely Kings. As openers, though, the Lonely Kings proved all the hype was true and punched through a dynamite set that had both Gray Davis and Dan Lungren hopping on the dance floor screaming, "Monarchy in the U.S.A!" The Kings showed off melodic and dynamic wizardry along the lines of Good Riddance. Jake had more crunching guitar checks than the L.A. Kings after too many Sudafeds. The rhythm section ruled, too. "Prophet See" was like the forgotten steaks left on the grill overnight at Black Angus--well done. Tomorrow, when you play war with your friends, the rules have changed--the Kings now take the aces.

Lost Cause then erupted into a brutal set of punk proportions. Lead singer Shane has that pissed-off vocal power down to a science. Not even a penny on the tracks could prevent the group's songs from crushing you like a runaway locomotive. Lost Cause played tight and rebellious music, and if that doesn't make you want to run around the house blindfolded with a Ginsu knife, then nothing will.

Lodestar celebrated the release of its new CD at the show. This trio played fast, melodic rock with congested vocals that for all intrinsic purposes could have been NOFX. I bet all-ages crowds would wig out over the band's smooth material. The guitars, when they weren't being drowned out by the vocals, were red hot.

Panty Raid

You say D.I.Y., I say D.I. chai as the Saturn Cafe embraced live music last Tuesday. The Panties, self-proclaimed "queens of professionalism," downsized the Ramones and zipped through four (five--if you count the one it restarted) raw tunes that reminded me of the strange feelings I get when my barber shaves the back of my neck with an electric razor--it all ended too soon. Watching Melanie thrash on drums and belt out cat calls gave me an audio Melvin that reached my aorta. Marv Alpert was spotted gnawing on band merchandise during "Panty Raid." Michelle, blessed with the superstar chromosome, provided quirky vocal squeals and decadent guitar leads--plus any musician who wears wrist-bands is "in the know."

Subtle Oak Complexity played another dreamy set that made Marsha, Jan and Indie Brady weak at the knees. The flood of effects that Tony and Justin exported out of their guitars created their own kind of Pleasantville. Mike pounds the drums as hard as anyone in town. I was hoping Subtle Oak would cover the Oak Ridge Boys' "Elvira" since it was almost Halloween but no dice. You don't always have to go 120mph or play at 300 decibels to wow a crowd--the levels were just right and the songs sounded great.

Upcoming

On Friday (Nov. 6), the Damones, the What-Nots and the Volunteers will play Skinny's. On Saturday (Nov. 7), up at UCSC's Pizza Junction, there will be a live broadcast benefit for KZSC featuring The Gods Hate Kansas, Subtle Oak Complexity, the Lonely Kings and more (9pm; 460-2667); also on Saturday, Origami Switchblade, Angora, Aggro and Toby Wong play at the Musician's Warehouse in San Jose (on Quimby Road). On Sunday, Concussion Magazine hosts a benefit at Moe's Alley with Herbert, Dojo and the Damones.
By Matt Koumaras

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From the November 5-11, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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