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New Application: Michelle Hannigan (left, pictured here with Melanie Goldberg, her counterpart in local indie-rock-hero group the Applicators) showed off an experimental band at Stevenson College Nov. 23.

Notes From The Underground

Young Americans:
New bands experiment at Stevenson College show with mixed results

By Matt Koumaras

IT WAS new-band night Nov. 23 at Stevenson College. Quixotic, comprised of former members of Slant 6, played the role of headliners. The quartet spread-eagled tight and loopy rhythms to the old scholastic tarp. The guitarist ate up plenty of dazzling riffs that clung together like a mob pillow to a horse's head. But at times it felt like the songs were just tricked-out, unemotional flash. Hit invariably linked to miss.

A crowd of about 30 individuals performed the slow scenester dirge upfront, which indicated to me there was either a scuffle transpiring for a rare Sleater-Kinney 7 or the music of Cherry Ames was going to be quite excellent. And excellent it was. Each pop-savvy song nourished itself with layers and layers of shining melodies. Their lead guitarist, dressed to the nines in Olivia Newton John aerobics gear, ruled all with fast-action lead lines that were solid gold. The lead singer and rhythm guitarist had a penchant for matching a clever guitar lick with a nifty vocal quip. The bookend guitar riffs jabbed effectively like No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils in an eyeball. I haven't had this much fun in 20 minutes since taking that tea-bagging class at Cabrillo. The band's slow-burning cover of "Suffragette City" was augmented brilliantly with a Mick Ronson-worthy solo and deserves an eternal "wham, bam, thank you, man" from the audience.

Well Dressed Man was an experimental female duo led by Michelle of the Applicators. This project's set clocked in at around 10 minutes and featured trippy, Hendrix-like guitar fondlings and very Commodore 64-like keyboard and pedal effects. They're definitely doing something different--what it is, I'm not really sure yet. But it is a fact widely known that every music critic is crazy about a well-dressed man.

Thee Sexx Loopf was a two-piece drum-and-guitar, Chuck Berry-styled rock unit that ripped through a lot of evil covers. Shred the apparent gimmick open and feast on the precious memory that transports you back in time to a suburban night where a 12-pack of Bud, a beat-up guitar with three strings and a receptive ghetto blaster captured the very essence of rock & roll in a garage.

Book It

Maximum Rock 'N Roll and the Amoeba Collective are putting out Book Your Fuckin' Life #8, a DIY resource Bible, in April. I'm compiling a list of punk bands, so send me some brief info on your band, a phone number or an email address, and I'll submit it for you. Last year's issue only listed four Santa Cruz punk bands, and I kind of have a sneaking suspicion that there might be a fifth hiding out in the trenches. Please make sure you are punk by enclosing a liberty spike of at least 8 1/2 inches in length. The deadline is Jan. 15. I'm also doing a bigger Santa Cruz scene report for a later issue, so send some photos and tapes to me at P.O. Box 7456, Santa Cruz, 95061.

Upcoming

Live Wire, No One, Sneaky Creekans and Branch Out play the Catalyst Thursday; Ms. Blunt, Namu, Li5, Rizzen 1 and Thundernut play a benefit for Free Radio Santa Cruz 96.3FM in the SC Vets Hall basement, also Thursday.

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From the December 1-8, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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