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Bee Very Afraid

Swarm does hard rock right

By Sarah Quelland

AS A MUSIC LOVER, few things are as gratifying as watching a band onstage that knows what it's doing. That's why Swarm has become one of my favorite bands. Since their days as thrashers in Death Angel, these guys have been bringing high-energy, arena-caliber hard rock to clubs all over the Bay Area.

Last Friday (March 15), the San Francisco four-piece returned to the Cactus Club for the first time in years to play main support for Spike 1000. This is a band that can jam for hours on end and often does. They can bust into their old Death Angel catalog and cover KISS, AC/DC and even Björk.

For this short, opening set, they stuck with their staples playing songs from their Devour EP, including "Dark Western," a sleazy tale of a one-night stand on which frontman Mark Osegueda narrates: "Like bleach on black he's on her/ He has a drink in each his hands/ Make mine a tall and hers a double/ Prince Charming's got his plans." Swarm also played an old Death Angel tune and a newer song titled "Water to Wine," which it debuted in the South Bay at last year's SoFA Festival.

Full of sexy strut and swagger, these vets are so cool they tear it up with a smile. Guitarist Rob Cavastany, bassist Michael Isaiah and drummer Andy Galeon are in full command of their instruments and Osegueda's rock & roll vocals seem to soar forever. It's an incredible show they put on, and watching them live in a small club is like being privy to some wonderful secret--but it makes you realize that there really is no justice in this industry. Despite their history and connections, they're still toiling away on the club circuit. Swarm plays again this Friday (March 22) at the Pine St. Bar & Grill in Livermore. Visit www.swarminfo.com for more dates.

ALL THE NEWS: A new live music venue called the 127 has opened up at 127 N. Sunnyvale Ave. in Sunnyvale. The next show there will be held this Saturday (March 23) with 3rd Crow and Polar. Visit www.the127.com for more info. ... The Icon Nightclub celebrates its one-year anniversary this Friday (March 22) with Chris Clouse (5-7pm), Notorious (7-9pm), King Raffi (10pm-midnight) and Chris Fenton (midnight-closing), plus drink specials all night. On Saturday (March 23), the Palo Alto club hosts a live taping of a commercial set to air during MTV's Total Request Live. ... Movement holds a CD-release party this Friday (March 22) at the Cactus with Implant, Fighting Jacks, Rivals and 2 Steps Behind. ... NOFX, Rancid and the Real McKenzies have a three night run at Slim's April 28-30. They're joined by US Bombs Sunday and by the Distillers Monday-Tuesday. ... Ego-rock band Creed just announced dates with Default and 12 Stones May 16 at the Compaq Center and May 18 at the Oakland Arena. ... The Pound is holding a listening party for the group's new CD this Friday (March 22) in conjunction with the live lineup which includes Karate High School, Tenfold, Key to Arson, Element of Surprise, Revolution Smile and 7th Standard. ... Poison brings its annual glam rock outing to Shoreline Amphitheatre on June 6 with Cinderella, Winger and Faster Pussycat in tow. Tickets are a bargain at $15 general admission and up to $25 for reserved seating. ... Bands interested in participating in Nadine's Wild Weekend in San Francisco Aug. 22-24 apply online at www.nadineswildweekend.com.

PLAN AHEAD: The Hitch and American Waste, March 21 at the Lido; Los Bastardos de Amor, Picnic and Underminers, March 21 at the Cactus (early 5pm show); Lisa Dewey & the Lotus Life, March 21 at Big Lil's Cabaret; Keeping Ellis, Pocket for Corduroy, Miracle Cholsuke, OBCD and For the Design, March 22 at the Los Gatos Outhouse; Ones and Zeros, Sift, Trip Device, Soul Ascending, Sora, Starch, Revivall and O Four D, March 23 at the Cactus; Lords of the Manor, Maelstrom, Funebre and San Resina, March 23 at the Cardiff Lounge in Campbell; Movement, Karate High School, Utopian Pipedream and Soul Aggression, March 23 at Gaslighter's Music Hall in Gilroy; Tenfold, Divided and Element of Surprise, March 24 at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell; Finch, theSTART and Moth, March 27 at the Cactus; Hell's Belles, the Skirts and the Feathers, March 28 at the Usual; And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, April 8 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco; Lucinda Williams, April 18-20 at the Fillmore in San Francisco; Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, April 21 at Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz; Godflesh, April 25 at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco; Spike 1000 and Ones and Zeros, May 2 at the Usual; Get Up Kids, June 6 at the Fillmore.

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From the March 21-27, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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