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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

Robert Scheer

Stairway to Heaven: Nancy LeVan and Jeremy Lutes, Dresden's core performers, carry a torch song for dream pop at Kuumbwa on Friday night.

Aural Fixation:
Out-of-this-world Dresden offers a luxurious sonic boom for Santa Cruz music fans

ANYONE WHO KNOWS ANYTHING about the local music scene is bound to have come across Dresden at least once or twice. This five-piece band evokes strong emotions in show-goers across the board, bringing out deeply rooted passions in those enamored of the band's sound. Ethereal in its composition and dramatic in its delivery, Dresden conjures a '40s cafe, dancing in a smoky club somewhere in war-torn Europe. But there's a distinctively modern edge to the music Nancy LeVan, Jeremy Lutes, Jim Norris, Bill Walker and Yasuhiro Baba make. It's not a copy of an era gone by, it doesn't rehash old school sounds--Dresden may nod its head to the dreamy music of yesterday, but it turns it upside down with Celtic influences, electronic manipulation and pop sensibilities.

Twice as good as anything streaming out of the major record companies or plugging up the airwaves, Dresden sounds heavenly on record but really reaches its full potential when it takes the stage.

At Kuumbwa on Friday, Dresden showcases those talents. Nancy LeVan is a show-stopper, with her silky voice and dreamlike movements--she's tall, willowy and sways like a lithe, limber dancer. The rest of the band is exquisite as well, creating a lush sonic landscape that will leave you floating out of the show.

See Dresden soon--you'll be able to say you knew them when.

Dresden plays Friday (8pm) at Kuumbwa, 320-2 Cedar St., SC. Tickets cost $8. For more info, call 423-9044.

Music for the Soul

Throw off the oppressive restraints of race, class and gender (a Santa Cruz motto, you know), and listen to thought-provoking, free-spirited live music. The Ugly Mugs, Donovan Balogh, Clatterbox and Brian Kenney gather to perform original songs that stem from that visceral spot in the brain that makes cutting-edge musicians in this town so darn introspective.

The press info the Work in Progress folks sent out is a little convoluted, and while this Night Howler is not 100 percent sure what those promotion folks are talking 'bout, I did manage to filter out that this show should be charged with a political electricity. Even though the release is peppered with coded mentions of CIA operatives, class dynamics and disengaging oneself from all that university life teaches, there's an underlying element of intensity and wit that promises to supercharge at least one or two batteries in the audience.

This musical extravaganza takes place on Friday at 8:30pm at What Is Art?, 2044 N. Pacific Ave., SC. It'll cost you $3-$5 (sliding scale) to get in. Any questions? Call 427-4587.


The Green Lounge (a music and DJ frenzy) happens again at Atelier on Monday. ... The Cabrillo College Dance Department presents a two-night concert Dec. 12-13 at the Cabrillo Theater. ... Susie Bright, Earl Jackson, Harry Benshoff and others gather for a Common Ground panel discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in film and the community at MAH on Dec. 12.

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From the Dec. 4-10, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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