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[whitespace] Making a List

The best music of 1999 points the way to the big concerts and releases of 2000

By Sarah Quelland

WRITERS AND CRITICS, having a field day with the hype about the end of the year, the end of the decade, the end of the century and the end of the millennium, are busy compiling lists upon lists of the Top 5, 10, 25, 100, 1,000 artists of the year, the decade, the century and, surely, the millennium. But faced with the daunting challenge of naming the best of the period, I prefer to focus on the achievements of local bands.

This year has seen a host of local groups playing every week at the Cactus Club and the Usual, and opening for national acts at the Edge. All-ages shows have been gaining momentum with bands playing at the Gaslighter's Music Hall in Gilroy and the Gaslighter Theatre in Campbell, the Chemical Free Zone in Campbell and Youth Music Foundation shows at the YWCA in Palo Alto, as well as teens-only shows at the Fishbowl in Sunnyvale.

With so much musical ambition in the South Bay, it's with difficulty, and a certain degree of humility, that I name the top five local bands to watch in the coming year. Based on their sense of music, style, image and commercial appeal, they are Remoter, Stunt Monkey, Spitkiss, Triple Seven and Broken Vision. That said, two honorable mentions are more underground in nature: True to Form and Boy Kicks Girl, both of which performed at the Dysfunctional Family Xmas on Dec. 25.

Best album presents another problem. Do you follow the charts or judge by what you like? Taking both into consideration, I find that my favorite five albums of the year include both chart-climbing nationals and lesser-known bands that deserve more attention: Korn's Issues, Lit's A Place in the Sun, Smash Mouth's Astro Lounge, Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile and the Road Kings' self-titled debut on Surfdog Records.

The past decade has been rich with concerts, some admittedly much better than others. Looking back at the most memorable concerts held in the Bay Area that I managed to catch over the last 10 years, my Top 10 are Marilyn Manson's two-night stop at the Warfield to support Antichrist Superstar; a then-fledgling Korn when it opened for Danzig at the Warfield; the Rolling Stones "No Security" tour at the San Jose Arena; No Doubt's warm-up show at the Edge; the Cult at the Warfield; German pyromaniacs Rammstein at the Cow Palace on the first Family Values tour; Rage Against the Machine's explosive performance at the Tibetan Freedom Festival; rock & roll bad boys Mötley Crüe at the Flint Center; country legend Willie Nelson's afternoon performance at Villa Montalvo; and though I'll probably lose any cool points I've gained over the last year, I have to say Latin pop sensation Ricky Martin at the San Jose Arena. With all the flashy dancers, mechanics, lights and props, Martin put on an elaborate spectacle that pleased all ages.

Things to look forward to in the early part of the next year include big-name tours like TLC and Christina Aguilera, Jan. 8 at the Oakland Arena; Reba McEntire, Jan. 28 at the San Jose Arena; Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Feb. 4 at the San Jose Arena and Feb. 7 at the Oakland Arena; Cher with mambo king Lou Bega, Feb. 5 at the San Jose Arena; the Judds with both Naomi and Wynonna, Mar. 3 at the San Jose Arena and Mar. 4 at the Oakland Arena; and Korn, Mar. 3 at the Oakland Arena. Upcoming releases include Papa Roach's debut on DreamWorks said to be titled Infest; the Deftones' latest, The White Pony; Marilyn Manson's In the Valley of the Shadow of Death; a new one from the Cult tentatively titled Straight Ahead Rock, as well as releases from No Doubt, Lard, Sonic Youth, Goldie, the Melvins, Pavement, the Cure, and Henry Rollins; and two songs by Madonna on the soundtrack to her forthcoming film, The Next Best Thing.

PLAN AHEAD: M.I.R.V., Dec. 30 at Slim's in San Francisco; Dance Hall Crashers and Groovie Ghoulies, Jan. 7, 2000 at Palookaville; Stitch, dredg, Down2None and Local Oddity, Jan. 8 at the Gaslighter's Music Hall in Gilroy; Papa Roach, Broken Vision, dredg and Downstream, Jan 15, at the Cactus Club; The Mr. T Experience, Jan. 15 at Slim's; The Kids in the Hall, Jan. 15-16 at the Warfield; Guster and the Chums, Jan. 20 at the Edge; Stitch, True to Form and DIELAB, Jan. 21 at the Chemical Free Zone in Campbell; Imperial Teen and Trackstar, Jan. 21 at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco; Sno-Core with System of a Down, Puya, Mr. Bungle and Incubus, Jan. 22 at the Warfield; Misfits, Jan. 23 at the Edge; Royal Crown Revue, Jan. 27 at Bimbo's in San Francisco; the Hi-Fives, Jan. 29 at the Gilman in Berkeley.

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From the December 30, 1999-January 5, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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

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