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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Alphabet Soup: IBOPA performs at an all-ages show Friday at the Milpitas Community Center.

Saturday Weird:
Freaks, stunt monkeys and Christian raves

STRANGE NIGHT for music, last Saturday. With Billy Graham, Steven Curtis Chapman and Anointed playing for free at the San Jose Arena, a less-than-capacity crowd stepped over to the Phoenix for a word-of-mouth "Christian rave." What sets a Christian rave apart from secular ones? No drugs, no alcohol, no bad acid, no acid at all. The only ODs in the house were Jesus-fueled. Vendors sold stickers bearing slogans like "Insured by Jesus" (what is the deductible?) and cheesy anti-abortion propaganda.

Down the street, a paunchy Rick James swung through his set at the Usual while the Odd Numbers and Stunt Monkey did their thing at Cactus. Stunt Monkey was an interesting find; the three-piece pop charmers led by guitarist/vocalist Aram Sarkassian attracted a sizable crowd. The group echoes the Young Fresh Fellows and even Joe "King" Carrasco in its wiliness. It performed the happiest song about suicide since Queen's "Don't Try Suicide."

Sounds of Silence

Last Thursday, Santa Cruz initiated a three-day punk-rock explosion at the Santa Cruz Vets Hall with K. Records' Karp, the Young Pioneers, Angora and the Pee Chees (who tore it up earlier in the month at the CMJ Music Marathon; see page 31). Karp was mind-numbingly loud. Imagine enough firepower to ring true in the Edge or Cactus packed into a concrete basement. Karp set off a ringing that followed me around for two days. Anybody else notice the recent trend? Traveling punk and indie bands are playing Santa Cruz and Stanford while skipping over San Jose. Witness the recent visits by the Crabs, the Lookers and Karp, bands that deserve to be heard in the valley. Because there is no all-ages space around here, these bands drive by without even waving.

Local pop has been jumping off lately. The Orange Peels, Cottonhead, the Concubines and Lunchbox all have new material. Cottonhead's Pop Deluxe (Saint Kilda) battles cynicism with happy-face guitar-rock anthems "Wanna Make You Happy" and "Smile." The Orange Peels' Square (Minty Fresh) culls tracks from past tapes ("All the World Could Pass Me By," "Something Strange Happens"). The Concubines hold Frank Black in high regard on Overdose of Love (Leather Crotchbat), while Lunchbox's self-titled release surfs a wave of distortion and crafts devilishly addictive tomes to love ("Up to You"), loss ("Fight or Flight") and everything in-between ("TV Tray").

More News

Waves Smokehouse and Saloon is supplementing its regular diet of reggae with blues, jazz and even dance music. ... An all-ages show takes place Friday (Oct. 3) at the Milpitas Community Center with the Plumbers, IBOPA, Blind Spot, Slow Gherkin and the Hippos. Tickets are $1. Doors open at 6:30pm; show starts at 7. ... The Hippos, Redd Devlin, Sandwich Mafia, Headboard and Novacain also perform at Campbell's Gaslighter on Sunday (Oct. 5) at 4pm.

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From the Oct. 2-8, 1997 issue of Metro.

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