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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Tweaked
Not a Downer: Thumbs Down's five-track album, 'Tweaked,'
is a step in the right direction.

Thumbs Up:
A spiffy album by Thumbs Down, plus shows happen--and don't--around town

YOU WILL STILL be OK in the morning if you don't sound like Lagwagon, look like Rancid or smell like G.G. Allin, especially if you create music as originally and adeptly as Thumbs Down. There's not a dud among the five tracks on the album Tweaked. Garret's raspy vocals almost have a Billy Bragg feel to them on the rocking "Champion," an ode to a childhood hero. "Anymore" has some clever tempo changes and slick guitar work. Danny's drum fills are part of a long highlight reel on "Softly Spoken." My only complaint is that Garret and Joe's guitars could have been cranked up a bit louder in the mix, but that won't stop me from asking all hitchhikers to universally put their thumbs down to pay respects to this band. Every day we wake up and make decisions that affect the rest of our life--some of them are right and some of them wrong. Buying this CD is a step in the right direction.

Sunday Lineup

I missed No Motiv at the Vets Hall last Sunday, but with a name that sounds like a cheesy, neon line of roller blades, it had to be good. But I did catch The Great Divide. Luke valiantly handled his guitar and trumpet (yes, you heard me correctly) like emo light sabers and delivered some cool vocals packed with gusto. Tim's flowing bass capades sounded terrific and survived long after some technical glitches with an unruly amp. Jalal is revitalized and back making sweet noise on the drums. The fact that the Divide relies on just three primary instruments makes its musicianship stand out all the more brilliantly.

88 Fingers Louie played uninspired hardcore that had my friend Louis vindictively pointing one finger right back at this group. These Chicago lads proved that along with the Bears and the Blackhawks, bad things do come in threes. I put on my Walkman after the third song and rebelliously listened to Sitar Power II.

Headliners Fury 66 were super for lack of a better word. The band brought to the table the thick overdrive monster sound of old Agnostic Front and matched it with the vocal sensibilities of SNFU's Chi Pig. Rye and Jeff's metallic crunches slashed the audience in half, instantly doubling the size of the pit (although it then consisted of midgets). Mickey's acrobatics on bass were like CPR. Joe's passionate vocals enabled him to become Santa Cruz's honorary pied piper of punk, compelling everyone to move around like snakes digesting jumping beans.

Upcoming

On Friday, the Volunteers, Green Meens Go and Inedible Orphuses rock Skinny McDoogles. On Tuesday, the What-Nots, Federation X and Rocks play the Aptos Club.
Matt Koumaras

Blackout

For those who happened to be some of the many at the sold-out Black Crowes show last Saturday night at the Catalyst, the word blackout now takes on a whole new bittersweet meaning. Yes, the Black Crowes and all their fans fell victim to El Niño's frigid little sister, La Niña, and all her ferocious winds. The show was canceled after close to a two-hour power outage that left fans, the band and the Cat staff milling about restlessly in the dark. Staffers and the Crowes tentatively rescheduled the show for Dec. 7, but the oh-so-glamorous life of the rock star prevailed, and the Crowes found themselves tied up in L.A. with interviews. Alas, the show was a no-go, so those with tickets should go back to the place of purchase for a refund, or, if you have a voucher or questions on how to get your cash back, call the Cat at 423-1338. According to the Catalyst's Gary Tighe, the Black Crowes hope to find their way back to Santa Cruz early next year.
Karen Reardanz

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From the December 9-16, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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