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Stuart's Exhibition

[whitespace] Songwriter Stuart Davis grinds fine at Stanford Coffee House

By Sarah Quelland

LAST FRIDAY night (May 21), Stuart Davis, who moved from Minnesota to Palo Alto last year, gave a solo acoustic performance at the Stanford Coffee House. The self-described master of apocalyptic punk folk is the most exceptional songwriter I've come across, and I've waited months for him to play locally. Taking the carpeted stage area in sock feet, he entertained the small gathering with his profound lyrics, witty remarks, adept guitar work and appealing voice. His extremely peculiar sense of humor is showcased in songs like "Progress," a satire written from the perspective of the Unabomber, "Atavistic Viking," a violent narrative describing awakening ancestral ties, and a new song titled "Immanence," on which he observes, "Sex is proof the Holy Ghost crawls around in stuff that's gross." Davis harnesses his provocative intellect with compelling lyrics that are sarcastic, serious, political, spiritual and comical, sometimes all at once. While lyrics to songs like "Stephen's Exhibition" ("My painter friend is Stephen; I'm screwing his wife, Mia/No, it doesn't bother him; in fact, it's his idea/You common people try to pass it off as sick behavior/But it's how he gets inspired--I'm doing him a favor") attract instant attention, it's Davis' broad yet distinctive scope and skilled, unaffected performances that make him so engaging. He has made a name for himself in other parts of the country, but he's yet to build a following here. With luck, that will change very soon.

Salmon's reunion has been the talk of the town since word spread that Gilroy's heavy-funk-metal-hip-hop outfit is back in action. In light of that news, Salmon's drummer, Pat Ruiz, has decided not to continue with melodic-rock band Plush so he can concentrate his energy on the band he helped shape. Salmon will take the stage June 3 at the Edge in Palo Alto in support of its friends Videodrone (formerly Cradle of Thorns), with Swarm opening. The band's big welcome-back gig won't happen until June 26 at the Cactus Club with Willie's Conception, Hydrovibe and NinePastNine opening. According to Plush singer/songwriter Michael Parker, there are absolutely no hard feelings between the two bands. Plush will announce its new drummer at the Usual June 1, when it opens for Vegas de Milo.

Slowly but surely, local country singer and Red Bruin Recordings founder Fred McCarty is making a name for himself on a national level. Just this month, the title track of his CD Till I Get Home hit No. 1 on The Nashville Trackers' Top 50 Independent Country chart, making it his third single released for national radio airplay. ... Palo Alto's own teen punk sensation the Donnas are lined up for a gig June 10 at Bimbo's in San Francisco with the Groovie Ghoulies, Smugglers and the Cuts.

PLAN AHEAD: Etienne De Rocher, May 27 at the Stanford Coffee House; Tales From the Birdbath and Pezz, May 27 at Radio Free Records; AFI, May 28-29 at Slim's in San Francisco; Insolence, May 29 at the Quarter Note in Sunnyvale; Kao Tao, May 30 at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell; Blondie and the Marvelous 3, May 30 at the Warfield in San Francisco; Papa Roach and Korpus Kristy, May 30 at the Cocodrie in San Francisco; Asylum Street Spankers, June 2 at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto and June 3 at Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz; Leisure, June 3 at the Cactus Club; Groovie Ghoulies, June 4 at the Cactus Club; Chicken Coupe DeVille, June 5 at Agenda Lounge; Guinness Fleadh, June 5 at the Polo Field in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

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From the May 27-June 2, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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