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Side projects galore fill in the secret family trees of local bands from Sin in Space to the Expendables

By David Espinoza

AFTER GOING to local punk and indie shows for a couple of years, certain things become apparent. For example, a few well-placed flyers at Saturn Café and Streetlight Records will do more for your gig than, say, taping them to your nekkid body and doing a "Take a flyer, please" striptease; Good Riddance will always be the definitive los quesos grandes for many aspiring musicians; and lastly, being in one band is never enough.

Recent statistics taken by the Institute for This and That show that band-polygamy is rampant among individual Santa Cruz musicians, who, on average, play in 52 different bands at any given time. The alarming rate of multiple-band affiliations of course has yet to compare with the infamous Guided by Voices family tree, which among other things, traces the connection between Sonic Youth and the ancient Egyptians, but that could change any day now!

Past easily solved family-tree mysteries have included Sin in Space with Spike & Princess and the Smocks, and the What-Nots-Slow Gherkin-Huxtables trilateral connection. Sources say that such shady connections can also be made between local p-rock newcomers No One and the Expendables. During the Catalyst's Thursday night showcase on Nov. 30, the two local acts curiously played back-to-back sets in which there were striking similarities between the musicians.

With his baseball cap fitted backward and a relatively menacing scowl, No One lead singer Adam Patterson mustered as much teenage angst as he could for the small crowd. His vocal skills were better put to use when he reappeared behind the drum set to back up the Expendables and guitarist Geoff Weers. The four-member No One has potential, especially when its bassist is allowed to throw in some solo riffs, and the AFI-influenced summoning-of-the-thunder drumbeats ring out.

However, the crowd's clear favorite of the two brother bands had to be the Expendables, who offer Sublime, I mean Long Beach Dub Allstars ska-reggae-punk. Instead of keyboards or extra percussion, the Expendables pack the rhythm section with three guitarists who really get the dance floor bopping. Though their singing lacks the gritty soul of departed Sublime frontman Bradley Nowell (Long Beach Dubsters really don't cut it either), the Expendables' simple harmonizing is still a lot of fun. The injections of pit-skanking, Operation Ivy-styled punk beats and occasional surf-guitar tunes keep the Expendables from going stale. Local reggae titans Dub Congress better watch out, these kids are coming on up.

Invalid Input

Last week, this column alluded to a secret non-Americana folk scene in Santa Cruz. This week, we shall continue to expose these rebels of conformity--well, sort of. You can hardly sum up Free Radio Santa Cruz DJ and What Is Art co-conspirator Matthew Emery as folk. A piano instructor, singer/songwriter, guitarist and performer (it's possible he also dances), Emery's project Clatterbox has just put out a special multimedia tape experience called Jesus Goes to Hell (Heaven and Earth) that's sure to piss off some folks for the holidays.

The effort isn't what you'd think, though. It is not a punk-core rant about religion or a Dr. Demento-inspired wacky trip but a highly experimental satire that might fit Adbusters' definition of Culture Jamming.

We're Looking for Local Bands

For those about to rock, we salute you; for those about to record a demo, we'd appreciate it if you sent us a copy. Send us your demo tape or CD, and you'll receive a month's supply of good Karma--and maybe some encouraging press. Mail your best shot to Metro Santa Cruz, 115 Cooper St., Santa Cruz 95060.

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From the December 6-13, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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