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Bikini Trumps Guitar

When it comes to the sacred and the profane in Brazilian culture, I must admit a preference for the latter. Not that I'm exactly sure what that is, but if the Mistura Brasileira V: The Sacred and the Profane show was any indication, then I'll take a heaping helping of both, please. The MC representing the Berkeley-based troupe repeatedly adjourned her announcements with the phrase, "Let's go back to Brazil." Now I've never been there, but if I had to guess what it's like from this performance, I'd say it's full of heart-pounding rhythms, flamboyant costumes, cute dancing children, shirtless men and a wild proliferation of unbelievably beautiful women gyrating seductively with practically nothing on except ornate headdresses, bras and butt floss. Ouch! It's as if the nonprofit organization Brazart that presented the show is actually a covert recruiting company trying to populate Brazil with American men. But we won't be swayed, will we, fellas? We must band together and resist this sinful temptation! As a group, we can beat these Brazilians at their own game. We will out-dance them, out-sacred them and out-profane them with a titillating tour-de-force. Granted, their children's dance troupe Barboletas can already move more skillfully than most of us can ever hope to. And yes, their percussionists pound out stirring, complex rhythms that elude our sense of time, mysteriously devoid as they are of any recognizable rock & roll backbeat. But look: a lot of us play guitar, right, guys? A little Iron Butterfly, huh? Yes--20 overweight American guys rocking out in tight jeans and T-shirts hamming it up with MTV guitar faces on the stage and awwww screw it, I'm going to Brazil.

Hip-Hop Backslide

The cold, hard fact of the matter is that most of the hip-hop fans in Santa Cruz are students, and sooner or later, most of them end up leaving town. For local hip-hop crews, it's like a fan base in a tub with no way to plug the drain. Even with a strong local lineup featuring this town's most popular hip-hop acts, including The Moonies, Lost and Found Generation and Duce Company, the turnout was still painfully shallow. Standout performances by Ashkeyz from L&F and Cumulus and Rob Rush proved that even in the face of a paltry crowd in the Catalyst pit, local hip-hop still has some tricks up its sleeve. Don't be surprised when they regroup and rally the troops yet again.

Mike Connor

B-Double-E-Double-R-U ... Er, Maybe Not

There are a lot of crazy rumors floating around about KPIG right now, and guess what? They're all true. We'll get to the others soon enough, but this week we're taking on the rumor that Todd Snider has pulled out of the KPIG Humbug Hoedown. Verdict: true! (Did I mention they're all true?) So what happened to our beloved Toddster? Well, it seems he got pretty frighteningly sick from abdominal pains back on Nov. 9, and doctors found a combination of drugs in his system that they quickly diagnosed as "if you don't get your ass into rehab, you're totally fucked." (Note: Not actual quote.) So he did, and bully for him. A message on his website (www.toddsnider.com) about the whole thing says: "As many of you know, Todd has always taken drugs and drank pretty hard. He often jokes about this. What many of you don't know is how serious this has been and how long it has gone on. Privately, Todd has talked for years of wanting to quit, so maybe this is a blessing. He is doing well and getting stronger everyday."

In the meantime, does this mean that thou shalt not hoedown? Nay! Ticket refunds are of course available, but here at the Rock Show we say humbug to that, for stepping up to the plate is Dave Alvin, who recently put on what was easily one of the best shows--if not the best show--of the year. This time he's coming back armed with his eight-piece band The Guilty Men, giving those of you who caught his acoustic show a chance to see him rockin' like Dokken. Well, OK, not exactly like Dokken. Thank God. But you see what I'm getting at. The Mother Truckers open the Dec. 6 Catalyst show; call 831.479.9421 for tickets.

Steve Palopoli

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From the November 26-December 3, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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