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[whitespace] Seeing Stars

Santa Cruz band Sin in Space whirls with possibility

By Sarah Quelland

LOOKING BACK, I'm not sure if it's me or the band that's been elusive, but I've been waiting a long time to see a Santa Cruz rock group called Sin in Space perform again. I caught one of the band's early shows at a small coffee house in Soquel so long ago I can't remember. After a few changes in lineup and some very steady gigging, Sin in Space has become one of the most significant Santa Cruz bands, playing regularly everywhere from the Catalyst to Callahan's to the Jury Room (where it will perform on March 31 with Lisa Dewey and Penny Harlot).

I kept hoping to see the group migrate to this side of the hill, but since that hasn't happened yet, I made it a priority to catch its show last Thursday (March 22) at the Catalyst with the Huxtables, Pollen and Rod. Whatever my expectations were, the band trumped them. I was impressed with its futuristic college-rock sound. The Pixies comparison is an obvious but legitimate one. Primary songwriter, singer and guitarist Cassidy Meijer seems to conjure up the spirit of Black Francis himself at times, and guitarist Kirsten Rigg's Kim Deal-like backup vocals add to the similarities. Still, as its name suggests, Sin in Space has a stellar outer-space vibe and borrows lightly from '60s heroes like the Doors and the Beatles. One song about a junkie titled "Goner" even has a surf-rock flavor. Though seemingly shy and soft-spoken offstage, frontman Meijer commands attention when he's performing, singing with passion and intensity. Apparently, one of the band's most popular songs is titled "Space Heater," and on it, Meijer muses, "There's a place we used to hang when our love was doing better, people danced, and I would sing ... /Now the place has gone dry, guess we emptied out the cup, and the only time you call me is to say how I fucked up." Though Sin in Space likely identifies with the indie crowd, the band's lucid, full-bodied style eases it away from that genre. Unfortunately, the band doesn't have any music available for sale yet.

Bay Area musicians are holding an all-ages benefit for the West Memphis Three on March 31 at the Pound in San Francisco. The WM3 are three young men (Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley) who were arrested and convicted for allegedly killing three young boys in Arkansas in 1993. Echols is on death row, and Baldwin and Misskelley are serving life sentences with no chance of parole. Their situation was the subject of Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger's 1996 documentary Paradise Lost, which offers evidence that these three men were not given a fair trial and are, in fact, innocent. The music community has rallied around the WM3 because prosecutors based their case on the type of music they listened to and the kind of clothes they wore, rather than on any hard, physical evidence connecting the men to the murders. A benefit CD featuring high-profile artists like Tom Waits, Steve Earle, Joe Strummer and John Doe was released last year on Aces and Eights Records. Doors for this benefit open at 3pm next Saturday. The follow-up documentary, Revelations: Paradise Lost Revisited, will screen shortly afterward. The music starts at 6pm with Zen Guerrilla, Red Meat, the Supersuckers' Eddie Spaghetti and Ron Heathman, Three Years Down, Hotbox, the Crosstops, Salem Lights, Bottles and Skulls, Fracas and New Grenada performing. Jello Biafra will host the event. To read an account of the case visit www.WM3.org.

OzzFest 2001 will stop at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View on June 29 with Black Sabbath, Papa Roach, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Linkin Park and many more. The OzzFest-Second Stage Live compilation was just released. ... It looks like Papa Roach may be performing at the Warfield on May 8 with Fear Factory and Alien Ant Farm. ... Tonight (March 29), Metro and Fuel present the West Coast premiere of Adalberto Alvaraz y Su Son at the Usual. Tickets are $20. Doors are at 8pm.

PLAN AHEAD: the Orange Peels, March 29 at Slim's in San Francisco; Reaction 31, Divided and others, March 30 at the Cactus Club; Creamsickle, Neon Lobster, American Waste and Zero Hour, March 31 at the Usual; the Influents, Debris and Scolding Romeo, March 31 at Scooter's Pizza in Fremont; the Benjamins, Under a Dying Sun, Contender and Short Round, March 31 at the Fishbowl in Sunnyvale; Dance Hall Crashers, March 31 at Slim's; Lords of the Manor, Whiskey Sunday, Sky High, E.M.P. and Leisure, April 1 at the Cactus; and Gary & Babs Happy Hour, April 2 at the Cactus.

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From the March 29-April 4, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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