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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Double Your Pleasure:
Dishing up two scoops of local ooh-la-la

Two local bands bent my ear last Friday in downtown San Jose's SoFA District. I listed the organic rap/rock combo Willies Conception in my Class of '96 column, and the band didn't let me down. The Usual was packed with Willie heads and folks disappointed with the Charlie Hunter show across the street at the Agenda Lounge (the absence of saxophonist David Ellis and drummer Jay Lane being the main beef).

Willies Conception has improved considerably with key players on congas, saxophone, and drums, and a DJ who needed a bit more in the PA all night. The emcees, Tim Kahihikolo and Brian Rubio, delivered some fine verbalistics, showing off a distinct style instead of aping their favorite rappers. Look for Willies Conception opening for Fishbone at Cactus at the end of March.

Across the street, another band was kicking up dance-floor dust. I had already witnessed Monkey mania at the Los Gatos Teen Center, and written it off as a fluke. The band, however, rocked it again at Cactus Club with more of that deep Studio One/Trojan ska sound. A sincere respect for traditional ska is the band's talisman against hyphens (ska-core, ska-metal, ska-salsa). With a tightening and strengthening of the four-piece horn section, Monkey could go places.

Tighe One On

The rumor that formidable booker Gary Tighe is setting up shows at the Usual rang true. Among his recent bookings are Dick Dale and Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band (dates to be announced soon). This is the guy who's worked miracles at the Catalyst for years, bringing the likes of Coolio, Dinosaur Jr. and Pearl Jam to Santa Cruz. Pray for similar miracles in San Jose.

Ink Spotting

Red #9 has traveled far from taking the piss out of punk pret-a-porter on its seven-inch single, "Fashion Punk." On its latest long player, No Hope?, the band sets the periscope on disaffected youth and offers mirrors, questions and supportive shoulders. No Hope? is a simplistic but often brilliant excoriation--whether attacking slackers on "No Sympathy" or confronting the Buchanan army on the title track. The band's airy peers clogging Esprit outlets get the ink stain on the peppery "Don't Care" and "Better Than Me." Musically, the rumbling punk-pop sound flutters with melodic one-string guitar runs. Michelle M.'s sharp, piercing voice is sparkling, in tune and cuts like a envelope flap. For years, Red #9 has been a San Jose secret. No Hope? is bound to remedy that problem.

Break a Leg

Gavin's Bay Area talent-spotting festival, SFO3, is set for July 18-21. To receive information on how to submit your music, call 415/495-3200. ... Diamante Negro Records, which released the excellent Funhouse compilation, is looking for local punk bands that recorded in the '80s for an upcoming compilation. The label also is looking for former members of the band Boss Hoss. Contact the label at P.O. Box 641312, San Jose, 95164 or at DiNeg@aol.com. ... Plan B is still kicking ass and taking names Sundays at the Cactus. According to organizer Aiko, the regular rotation of DJs now includes DJ Chaos, DJ Worldwise and King Solomon. Live acts continue to pop up and blaze the mic like a joint.

A correction: That Spacehog show is set for April 14 at the Cactus, not the Edge.

Hit That Perfect Beat

Former Bronski Beat/Communards wailer Jimmy Somerville will perform at the Edge on March 8. It's free if you're 21 or over and get there before 10pm. Echobelly plays on March 25.

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From the Mar. 7-13, 1996 issue of Metro

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