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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Herbert
Head of the Cast: Herbert fronted a cast of locals at the Moe's Alley 'Concussion' show last Sunday.

The Big '80s:
The '80s get rehashed at Palookaville, plus a roundup of shows around town

HOWARD JONES' experiments in reggae at Palookaville last week were as excruciating as waking up next to Ernest Borgnine's toothless smile. I kept my hand on my face so that no one could see my Hojo tattoo. The Peroxided One turned into a lobotomized Shakespeare with the poignant revelation that "Love Is a Good Thing"--Michael Bolton couldn't have said it better or as many times. "What is Love?" and "No One Is to Blame" were cheesy fun until he milked them for what seemed like a decade-long prison sentence.

Meanwhile, Men at Work's Colin Hay and Greg Ham are industry meal tickets. Colin's "Happy-Go-Aussie" vocals spoke the language, and his minions devoured their Vegemite sandwiches. A 30-something pit, consisting of Romy and Michelle extras, took shape during the flute intro to "Down Under." Greg could pick up a broken Pez dispenser in the street and make a top-10 hit out of it. The group sauntered through impressive cargo like "It's a Mistake," "Real Life," "Who Can It Be Now" and the triumphant closer, "Be Good, Johnny." This was Men at Work's best show in Santa Cruz this whole year.

Volunteer Drive

The Volunteers crushed Skinny's last Friday with a super-warp-drive-styled set. It knocked the asbestos out of the ceiling with crashing guitars and catchy snap-crackle-pop choruses. The band's Bean matched up an impersonation of Keith Richards doing the lambada with some Chuck Berry stunts--they proved hilarious.

The What-Nots remain SC's musical Edisons, constantly reinventing how rock should be done. Eden and crew got the unorthodox yet melodic chord structures to submit to their every whim. From "Samba" to the tear-jerking "Too Much of Everythin'," they continue to surprise me.

After clearing out the house after just one toxic cover of Kiss' "Hard Luck Woman," the Damones had people asking for their money back--when the show was free! But its "act" didn't sound half bad from across the street.

Moe 'Em Down

Herbert rock and rolled all night and left the crowd in a daze at the Concussion Magazine benefit at Moe's Alley last Sunday. Talk about bestial riffs! Mike has the elemental hooks that kill. Paul's driving bass work and Steve's usual drum mastery proved just as divine. Mat must have gotten some evil implants in his vocal chords to sound so demonically fine.

Meanwhile Rob, Dojo's freaky vocalist, almost got overpowered by effects, but managed to deliver quite a theatrical performance. Frank led a furious charge of the metal brigade with some tribal guitar healings. Dojo thrives on such tired gimmicks as trucker sunglasses, tight tank tops and Members Only jackets. I'm sure there are more entertaining acts out there, but I can't think of one right now.

Upcoming

On Thursday, Spaceboy, Acid King and Time play the Aptos Club. On Friday the 13th at the Catalyst, it's Riff Raff's CD release party with the Lonely Kings and Lodestar. Also on Friday, Herbert, Lost Goat and High on Fire play the Aptos Club, while Oliver Brown and Donovan play the Pizza Coop at UCSC.
--Matt Koumaras

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From the November 12-18, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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