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[whitespace] Hey Ho, Let's Go-Go
Hometown honeys the Donnas teased and pleased at the Edge last week

By Sarah Quelland

THERE SEEMS TO BE AT LEAST two schools of thought when it comes to the Donnas. Some say their rocketing success is well-deserved; others regard them as an overrated girl band. Something like sweet-tart punk-rock candy, the Donnas could be described as the Go-Gos meet the Ramones. Brash, tough and very sassy, these girls (all of whom hover around age 20) are actively sharpening their musical skill and developing their own trademark sound. The band's latest album, Get Skintight (on Lookout! Records), sounds much less like the Ramones than American Teenage Rock n Roll Machine did, largely because the Donnas themselves wrote all the songs. Darren Rafelli wrote all the songs on the band's self-titled debut and collaborated with the girls on Rock n Roll Machine, but now the Donnas are standing on their own merit, writing songs on their own terms. Hailing from Palo Alto, the quartet played its hometown last Thursday (Aug. 12) at the Edge with poppy punk bands Groovie Ghoulies, Stunt Monkey and Softball. There was a good turnout at the club and a number of enthusiastic guys rocking out to the Donnas' trashy tunes, kicking off with "Skintight" from Get Skintight. So it's disappointing that the Donnas' live show doesn't live up to their kickass reputation. There's a certain awkwardness and hesitancy to their performance. It's as if they're not quite sure they belong up there in the spotlight. There's never the feeling that the Donnas claim their crowd or own their stage. But that will likely change in time. With so many angry, bitter female performers out there, the Donnas are a breath of fresh air with their playful, hedonistic, bad girl, party-your-ass-off rock & roll. Influenced by bands like Ratt and Poison, the Donnas' glam-rock and metal influences come screaming through in the new material. They even do a raucous cover of Mötley Crüe's "Too Fast for Love." Tearing through "Hyperactive," "Get You Alone" and all the rest, the Donnas closed out their show with "Zero" before heading back out for an encore of "Rock n Roll Machine," which kicked off with the intro to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust."

Cottonhead gave its farewell performance at the Cactus Club last Sunday (Aug. 15) (with Sugarbomb, Goodluck Gorsky and the Buenas), and the intimate but enthusiastic crowd couldn't get enough of the band. Audience members got onstage and sang, there was dancing and after every "last song" was a call for "one more," as friends and fans of the longstanding band gave them a heroes' send-off. Hopefully a reunion show isn't out of the question.

Santa Clara University's college radio station, KSCU (103.3FM, the Underground Sound), throws its second listener-appreciation party Aug. 21, 6-11pm, and Aug. 22, 5-10pm, at Channel One located at 763 The Alameda in San Jose. On Saturday, 10 in the Swear Jar (a new band comprised of the bulk of what used to be IBOPA), Oranger, Bunkbed and others will perform. On Sunday, catch Boy Kicks Girl, Stunt Monkey, Softball and others. The event is free, but donations are encouraged and will be used to assist the nonprofit station's operations. Call 408/551-1872 for updates.

Local punk band OuttaLine releases its self-titled CD this Friday (Aug. 20) at the Cactus Club. The first 25 people who buy a ticket are promised a free copy of the disc, so get there early to catch opening acts HBA, Thumbs Down and Sloe.

Smash Mouth has a gig lined up at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz this Monday (Aug. 23) with 22 Jacks and Fuse. Word is the guys have a secret show (or possibly shows, if you believe the rumors) coming up in downtown San Jose some time within the next month.

Agenda has a scorcher of a show coming up Wednesday (Aug. 25). Call them the bad boys of rockabilly-punk, the Road Kings roll in from Texas to support their self-titled debut album (found on Surfdog Records). If this sexy trio is as good live as it is recorded, this is a show not to be missed.

Fear Factory, Static X and Dope have a show coming up Sept. 2 at the Maritime Hall in San Francisco. Tickets are $15 and available through BASS.

PLAN AHEAD: Remoter, Crash Landon and Vim, Aug. 21 at Cactus; Ministry and L7, Aug. 22 at the Warfield in San Francisco; Mr. Big, the Recruits and Empty, Aug. 26 at the Edge; Tom Petty, Aug. 27 at Shoreline Amphitheatre, Salmon Aug. 27 at Cactus and Aug. 28 at Gaslighter's Music Hall in Gilroy; Imperial Teen, RetroMotive and Stunt Monkey, Aug 28 at Cactus; Bryan Kelley with Scott E. Moore, Aug. 28 at Espresso Garden and Cafe; Stepchild, Aug. 28 at the Quarter Note in Sunnyvale.

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From the August 19-25, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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