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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Ruffian Rockers:
Concert gets better, etiquette gets worse at annual KOME concert

AH, THE ANNUAL KOME Almost Acoustic Christmas Concert--an evening of rock and revelry and getting stepped on and run into by kids half my size. It's like Chuck E. Cheese, or Playland at McDonald's. I was 11 when I went to see my first concert, and I don't remember acting like an out-of-control hellion. Where were the parents? The day-care mentality doesn't work the same way at rock shows. Anyway, KOME curtailed the short-attention-span theater mood of past concerts. The bands played longer, more fulfilling sets. The number of acts stopped at five, leaving bands an extended chance to win over an audience and play their big hit(s).

Everclear is suited for the Christmas concert. Clad in black, the Nirvana-inspired rockers buzzed through 45 hearty minutes, climaxing with the hits "Santa Monica," "Heroin Girl" and "Heartspark Dollarsign," all glistening with a radiant dual-guitar tone. The buzz wore off when the Sneaker Pimps went on. It was like watching Mazzy Star with beats--dark and inviting as a lump of coal. Predictably, the return of Green Day galvanized everyone. It was never a dull moment. After the impressionist trip-hop of the Pimps, Green Day had all the subtlety of a car wreck. Entering to the prerecorded strains of Devo's "Whip It," the East Bay punk poppers quickly cleared consciences and nasal passages with "Welcome to Paradise."

"You know what I fucking hate, it's these big shows like ENIT, H.O.R.D.E and Lollapalooza where they expect you to get cultured," said guitarist/vocalist Billie Joe Armstrong. "Culture? I don't want culture! I want to get fucking ripped and see bands that fucking rock." "Geek Stink Breath," "Nice Guys Finish Last" and "Hitching a Ride" followed. Bassist Mike Dirnt mugged incessantly and executed near-perfect Eddie Van Halen split-legged jumps. Drummer Tre Cool replaced sticks by tossing spent ones against the backdrop behind him. Billie Joe, believe it or not, exhibited some restraint, and dare it be said, maturity. He reserved his snotty facade for between-song rants. The biggest surprise was a cover of Operation Ivy's "Knowledge." Billie Joe pulled up a fan to finish the song on guitar and made him stage dive. As soon as the fan hit the pit, Green Day pulled out "Basket Case," sending the crowd into a frenzy. It reminded me of a U2 concert back at the Cow Palace, when Bono brought a kid onstage during a song and taught him to play three chords. Then again, Bono didn't make the kid go out the hard way.

Green Day appeared to be the main course, since less than half the crowd stuck around to watch the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. It was a short set of scruffy Bosstones numbers, the highlights being "Someday I Suppose," "The Impression That I Get" and "Where'd You Go." With such a small crowd, why did selected numskulls think lead vocalist Dicky Barrett had a target painted on his suit? It boggles the mind that someone would throw a smashed soda cup or other garbage at a performer. It would be a lot easier just to walk out. Barrett chastened the crowd for its behavior, and I will, too. Parents: teach kids the basics of rock-concert etiquette. Tossing flotsam at a performer = bad. Plowing through a crowd to get to the pit = bad. Rocking out without infringing on the well-being of others = good! Duh!

Days on the Green

Green Day opens a four-day run at the Fillmore on Sunday (Dec. 14). D Generation opens. Blues-hopper G. Love and Special Sauce perform at the Edge on Tuesday (Dec. 16).

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From the Dec. 11-17, 1997 issue of Metro.

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