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Dependable, Not Expendable: Oh please, mister record company man, don't take away the most popular band in town.

Their Way Out

It's hard to say what's keeping the Expendables from taking over the surf rock world. Is there some hot new trend capturing the kids' imaginations that has nothing to do with reggae, hard rock, surfing, girls and smoking ganja? If there is, a Catalyst-load of young Santa Cruzans don't seem to care, judging by the way they behaved at yet another sold-out Expendables show the week before Christmas, crowding up to the stage, singing all the words to the songs and moshing their brains out.

To all the crazy kids who populated said mosh pits, I'd like to pass on the following tip from mosh pit veteran Janet Blaser, who would like to suggest that you Mosh in a Circle. That crisscrossing shit is just plain dangerous, and while we know you like to live dangerously, and that head injuries seem totally cool, let me just tell you that stupid moshing leads to brain damage leads to more stupid moshing leads to more brain damage and so on, and nobody's going to respect how brave and burly you are when you think 2 plus 2 equals Jello through a straw.

But getting back to the show--the crowd didn't even seem to care that guitarist Raul Bianchi's guitar wasn't working half the time. Vocalist/guitarist Geoff Weers managed to fill in the gap while Bianchi tried to work out his technical difficulties, but once he did, it became immediately obvious how utterly essential are Bianchi's accents and butt-rock solos to the Expendables' sound. What wasn't immediately obvious was why the Expendables seemed to be on their best behavior, but rumors abound that there was at least one scout in the audience who was taking in the love, watching how the Expendables are a near perfect reflection of their huge local fan base. Wouldn't it be ironic, then, that the very perfection of that ineffable relationship between a band and their loyal fans would be their ticket out of town? Judging by their song "My Way Out," the Expendables are ready to venture out of this town onto bigger and better things. Thinking about all this, a perfect tear formed in my eye, which I wiped on my girlfriend's shirt. OK, so it was beer splattered on me from the drunk chick dancing in front of me, but still ...

Goddess, Omnipresent

Everyone's favorite local all-goddess Brazilian drumming troupe Goddess of Funk keep getting tighter and tighter, probably because they've been playing more gigs lately than most bands rehearse. Regular gigs, protest gigs, Burning Man decompression gigs, wedding gigs, Halloween gigs, Christmas party gigs--they're doing it all, while expanding their repertoire from all percussion to a funk, soul, Latin and hip-hop-infused combo, featuring keyboards, Spanish guitar and even some jazzy trumpeting, layered with empowerment chants, but always dominated by gigantic pounding rhythms which summon the awesome dancing elephants of the soul to come forth and stampede.

Mike Connor

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From the December 29, 2004-January 5, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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