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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Boy Wonder:
Beck is anything but a loser at the Warfield

IAN HUNTER once stated that you're never alone with a schizophrenic. Watching fans embrace Beck's playful pop-psychotic blending of Bob Dylan folk tunes and hip-hop rhymes last Thursday at the Warfield, I figure maybe we all can get along after all. Beck showed off the fluid moves of a Tom Jones wacked on cough syrup--a narcoleptic body shocked into flamboyancy.

Dressed in his '60s accountant suit and flanked by pulsing disco lights, Beck delivered on his repeated predictions of "funking it up" with energetic doses of b-boy boogie. In the span of 90 minutes, Beck flexed, popped, locked, beat-boxed, up-rocked and floor-rocked. He good-footed, did the Bird and whipped his guitar around his body like heavy-metal embarrassments Cinderella used to on "Shake Me."

When he strapped his guitar on for a five-song acoustic set, which he introduced as "slow jam time," the songs flowed naturally from the heart. The audience returned the love with the chorus of complex adjectives that color "Truckdrivin' Neighbors Downstairs." The harmonica solo that opened "Jack Ass" was reputable as anything proffered by Little John Chrisley. "Where It's At" slammed folks back into the dancing mood with its catchy chorus and jeep beats. "Disko Box" was remixed with samples from Boogie Down Production's "South Bronx," creating a seamless fit.

After soaring on an energetic "Beer Can," Beck returned in a white fringe outfit and sang a stirring Philly soul ballad before catapulting into the sonic street pastiche of "High 5 (Rockin' the Catskills)." The silliness progressed as Beck lead the crowd in a call-and-response of designer labels, before breaking it down Shabba Doo style. By this time, the crowd had been so sideswiped by Beck's performance that nobody noticed the absence of "Loser." Nobody cared; it would have been a cheesy bow to convention, a standard Beck has no desire of patronizing. Beck will reappear this winter at Live 105's Christmas party along with the Butthole Surfers.

Sidewalks Rumors

Perennial K Records artist Some Velvet Sidewalk performs at the San Jose State University Student Union Amphitheater on Oct. 30. Come watch the indie-pop nrrrds internalize their glee. ... Rumors are piling over the Bridge School benefit. Will the Who show up Sunday afternoon? Will Eddie Vedder repay the favor? ... For those who miss getting their modern-rock groove on (a la F/X Saturday nights), King Raffi is resurrecting the modern-rock dance night at the Usual on Friday nights.

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From the October 17-23, 1996 issue of Metro

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