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Notes From the Underground

Your Place or Mine?
Picking up the venue slack, hometown (and touring) bands stay at homes

LAST WEDNESDAY EVENING, ceremonious last-minute phone calls shot out to those who'd signed the Santa Cruz Music Co-op's list of possible participants, informing us of a performance the next afternoon. The band was Set Vector, a trio from Portland, on the last stop of a convoluted U.S. tour. They were happy to play--not surprisingly, since their last show was somewhere in the Deep South with a lot of miles in between.

In the not-so-crowded living room, Set Vector innocently misled the crowd by playing tortured pop with one of their roadies on guitar, but when the "real band" launched into its set, it was anything but the rack. Twisting, twitching, shrieking hardcore--slightly reminiscent in its pissed complexity to Born Against­he group thundered out a short and scattered set with all the lunatic energy of good hardcore, but without either machismo or artistic pretensions.

With another big thumbing of the nose at our paranoid local venues, the house party solution continued Friday across town where several bands, mostly in their experimental stages, rocked another living room. Unfortunately, the men in blue beat me there and shut the teeming party down by ticketing parked cars, among other honorable methods.

On Saturday, yet another living room was trampled by five local bands and their fans and somehow managed to escape the cops' attention throughout the evening. New local band 33 1/3 opened up with weird greaser-tinged pop songs about girls, which left me cold. No Motive has been around for a while, but has kept to themselves for some reason, though the young ska-punk outfit showed actual talent and professional tightness with catchy Rudiments-style guitar hooks, instrumental lapses for flavor, and songs varying from the typical "don't talk shit about me, man" content to the socially critical in "Globalism."

Meat Pizza Sandwich is a fairly recent project that has been playing in obscure Central Coast venues but very little here in town. They were a lighthearted segue into the tipsier tail-end of the show, when Soda Pop Fuck You and Buddys Riot (who scampered off to record the next day) played joyful sets despite misplacing band members, breaking strings and such.

The whole weekend was a tribute to that most Darwinian of underground music statutes--when there is no place to play, local bands adapt or perish.
Arwen Curry

Meanwhile . . .

And, of course, let's not forget the other two house parties. With a new drummer and singer, what was once merely Schlep and is now the epic Superschlep rattled an Eastside garage on Saturday, while what was once the lowly Whistle Pigs and now are the massive Woolly Mammoth shook Lower Ocean. Yeah, I figure if we keep the cops scurrying around constantly, they can't possibly shut down all the shows.
Michael Mechanic


Cup Check, Lost Cause, the Undecided and Superschlep play at the premiere of a skate video, Salad Days, at the Vet's Hall (all ages, 8:30pm, $5, 5 percent of profits benefit the proposed skate park).
Michael Mechanic

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From the December 12-18, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz

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Copyright © 1996 Metro Publishing, Inc.

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