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[whitespace] Three's Company

By Mike Connor

THREE LOCAL HIP-HOP acts made history on Friday night, drawing a good 500 or so kids out to the Catalyst all by themselves, for the first time ever. Local promoter extraordinaire Flex has been faithfully booking local hip-hop acts throughout the summer, but this was their first stand-alone show at the Catalyst ... and it rocked. Sayre, Coley Cole, Ashkeyz and DJ Silly Kid of the Lost and Found Generation opened up with a clean, aggressive set, rocking out with the superfreaky "Guns to Ink" and winding up with the venomous "Music for Frat Boys to Dance To" from the One Side Away EP. Next up was Genelec and Memphis Reigns, who (along with DJ-ology) killed it Friday night with explosive performances of "Sunwheel," "Elephantightus" and an R-rated version of "Chicken Soup," plus a freestyle jam lamenting the suckage of the Lakers, among other things. When they left the stage, their fans wanted more, but it was Duce Company's turn and, oh yeah, they killed it, too. Prolific, Omen and Natalie got off to a good start with "Duce Comp Parlay," but when they dropped the circus insanity of "Right Here," the crowd just blew up into a sea of bouncing heads and hands up high in the air. Bob came out, rapped and did his Irish jig, and then the Moonies stormed the stage for some supergroup action, and they helped close out the show with beatboxing and an a capella encore, but in a near party-crashing moment, Rob Rush botched a back-flip onstage and nearly landed on his freakin' head. As a gymnast, I recommend wall sits and calf-raises to pump up those jumpers, because I don't ever want to see that happen again.

Hip-Hop vs. Rock

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Santa Cruz hip-hop and indie rock duked it out for some unknowable title that I guess would be something like "Genre of local music that actually gets to play out once in a while," because there is undoubtedly a shortage of spots for kids to rock, roll, rap or otherwise just get jiggy at. But Valerie and Lia of Sweet-Ass Productions put together a veritable variety show at the 418 Project, featuring the heroic dual guitar anthems of Sweat It Out, the (brace yourself for lengthy epithet) crunchy, chugging guitars, hardcore pop melodies and Pet Benetar-ish and Chris Cornel-ish vocals of the Vicious Cycle, and the furious flows of the Talk Sick M.D. Sweet Ass Productions is planning to put together shows of local underground music once a month; aspiring bands should call 421.9722 to see about getting on the bill.

The Hate Mail That Delivers

Having never seen them live before, I didn't realize that the Hate Mail Express are the real deal: screaming, jangly, hyperlibidinous, rip-roaring garage rock. They ripped it up in a caustic celebration of lo-fi catharsis, turning us all into a miniature congregation of screaming believers. In the same evening, One Fine Day infected us with a plague of poppy emo goodness, ukulele maestro Oliver Brown worked his eternally appealing whimsical magic, and a rootsy, back-porch country rockin' trio called The Devil Makes Three nearly stole my music-loving soul. Hell, if Pete Bernhard (steel guitar), Cooper McBean (acoustic guitar) and Lucia Turino (upright bass) keep up their evil down-home ways, we may all wind up in the flames of the whiskey-drenched hereafter.

Upcoming

San Francisco-based DJ Jenö is coming to the 418 Project on Nov. 16, 9pm-2am, bringing with him his big SF club sound. Hammurabi, Rick Preston and Rob Monroy round out the bill. Tickets are $12.

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From the November 13-20, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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