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Notes From the Underground

L Yeah!:
Halloween binge keeps music fans very, very busy

I ALMOST ASKED Slow Gherkin singer James Rickman out on a date, he looked so hot in his tight blue sequined dress. Yeah, the pickle boys, mostly in drag, played a rousing, energetic show at Palookaville on Sunday night. Gherkin has been doing great, playing all over the place and teaming up with some damn good bands. Rickman twice thanked openers the Independents and "The Soda Pop Fuck You's." He meant to say, Soda Pop Fuck You, an irreverent local ska band that did a great job opening, despite a few jitters. SPFU is fast gaining a following. They got the crowd dancing and even had a bunch of groupies up front singing the lyrics.

The Independents, who, unfortunately, didn't bring their pal Joey Ramone, are one funny band, but I hope they don't start a trend. I mean, ska-punk is one thing, but ska-metal? Their singer is Ozzy all the way, from the heavy leather and long black-and-blond hair down to the devilish grin. Their bass player looks like a "modern rock dude," but wears this face-mask thing that compels me to call him "the gimp."

Some bona-fide rock-star prima donnas played the Vet's Hall on Saturday. "Some bands get towels; what the hell are these?!" complained members of L7, waving some washcloths that had been left backstage for them. That shit wouldn't fly at a punk show, but hey, they're huge and they rock, so they can do what they want. The house wasn't filled to capacity, but the sound, for once, was awesome thanks to a massive system. L7 mixed in newer stuff with favorites like "Shove," "Fast and Frightening," and a Faith No More cover, "American Society." If it wasn't for the few 250-pound assholes who insisted on being drunk and aggressive, the whole thing would have been thoroughly enjoyable.

When support band D-Generation trounced in, decked in late-'70s New York glam-punk regalia, complete with the wicked hairdos, I was hoping for a sound like the Stitches or maybe US Bombs, but, alas, they were all glitz and relatively little substance--or, as my friend put it, "kinda lite." Spaceboy, who is anything but, sounded real good through the fat sound system. Earlier in the afternoon, all-female noise trio TNT rocked hard at one house party, dashed off to play another, and still made the L7 show. A lucky few also witnessed the debut of the Four-Letter Words, a raw new female-dominated punk band fronted by none other than young Arwen Curry. And too bad for those who missed a killer Halloween party with the Muggs, the What-Nots and Buddys Riot, while Fiendmaster Freak played across town (I guess they're still together after all).


Check out the Bouncing Souls and Screw 32 with 22 Jacks and Buddys Riot at the Vet's Hall on Wednesday (Nov. 6). On Sunday, the Groovie Ghoulies shake it up in Santa Cruz with Shove, Angora and Tampi Station (look for fliers). On Monday, Cars Get Crushed (SF) plays with Bare Minimum, Scenic Vermont and Saints Andrea (seek out, and ye shall find, fliers).
Michael Mechanic

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From the November 7-13, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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