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Livin' in a Teenage Paradise

If you haven't happened upon the Catalyst's 18-and-over Fat Tuesdays dance party in the Atrium yet, you're missing quite the spectacle. It's an unlikely winner, really--a hundred or more teenage kids shelling out 10 bucks on a school night to listen to the DJ equivalent of KDON? Ah, but no car could possibly fit the number of gyrating bodies within its confines, and the volume is much more than even the bumpin'est ride could handle. Most importantly, though, there's an elevated stage in the Atrium that the ladies can't seem to get enough of, giving the entire room (and possibly some imaginary MTV's The Grind cameras) an unobstructed view of their enthusiastic undulations. It's a win-win-win situation: fun for the dancers, fun to watch for the 21-and-over crowd (who get in for free), and fun cannon fodder for the emo/indie rock kids at a house show across town.

Oh So Mötley

Without a doubt, Ozomatli puts on one of the best live shows there is, period. Their music is absolutely, impossibly danceable. They've also got excellent political values, an amazing rapport with their audiences (they like to get off the stage and play right in the middle of it all), and to top it all off, they rocked out with Twisted Sister's rebellious anthem "We're Not Gonna Take It" and Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" at the end of the show. Fantastic.

The Songwriting Must Go On

In the startling conclusion of last Tuesday night's episode at the songwriters' showcase at Zelda's, Lani Trock walked away with the evenings' top honors with a couple of stirring ballads, followed closely by the Stevie Wonderesque stylings of Brennan Johnston, who stole the show with a "Saturday in the Park" jag. Ann Whittington also made a strong showing, as did the emo rock duo Van Vliet/Luevano; watching them perform made me feel like I was catching Connor Oberst perform at a talent show in a Before They Were Stars kind of show. The artist formally known as Buck also struck a nerve, but what else would we expect from an old pro? Aspiring songwriters, get down to Zelda's this Tuesday and show us what you've got.

One Love

Thanks to Archer and Free Energy for coming out to perform for the Aviel Vargas benefit helping to raise money for a memorial bench at the harbor mouth. For the gracious souls who weren't able to make it to the show, you can still send donations, payable to "Avie's Bench," to Sarah Mangan at 4520 Arana Creek Way, 95065.


Agent Orange plays a huge show at the Mediterranean on Friday, Dec. 19, with Lost Cause, Splitting Seconds and Vicious Cycle. Celtic songstresses Cherish the Ladies perform at the Kuumbwa on Saturday, Dec. 20.

Mike Connor

Petty Booka Rules

The Japanese have long taken American cultural signifiers and put their own wicked twist on them, rendering them cooler and infinitely more interesting. Whether it's design, fashion, video games, monster movies, electronics, cuisine, DJs, outfielders or automobiles, there is a hyperstylized feel to many of the exports coming out of Japan, but all are imbued with a deep respect for purity. Think Toshiro Mifune, Beat Takeshi, Shonen Knife and DJ Krush.

Then there's Petty Booka--a Japanese girl group that might be able to survive the surface novelty if the American public allows. The duo--Petty and Booka--perform chipper ukulele versions of pop, punk, country and Hawaiian songs, which they'll share with us on Monday, Dec. 22, at 7pm in the Broadway Playhouse (831.426.5787). The phrase that often leaves the lips of people who see Petty Booka for the first time is "They're so cute." Dressed in cowboy hats and fringed vests, the girls are cute, sure, but they're no Sailor Moon dolls to cuddle and take home. Petty Booka possess a deep affinity for the musical forms of Nashville, Waikiki and Austin.

Todd Inoue

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From the December 17-24, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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