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Notes From the Underground

[whitespace] Louder Space:
Two impressed takes on IUMA's local music extravaganza

It was Friday the 13th, and some of Santa Cruz's scariest noise bands took over Palookaville for the IUMA benefit. The Ugly Mugs kicked things off with a theatrical bang--I expected some Tonya Harding-esque punks to butcher Muggs tunes, but no dice. These guys were a competent prog-rock band with some bizarre performance art to boot. Unfortunately my ears are still bleeding from Astron's aggro, Rocket from the Crypt-styled anthems. Pretty technical stuff that didn't do too much for me (but then again, I've been into Yanni's The Florida Death Metal Years lately). Mock has always reminded me of a pissed-off Buzzcocks. Every song is as catchy as herpes, and the new sound system at Palookaville really did Mock justice. These guys have ruled Santa Cruz punkdom for over a decade. A Herbert live show has always been a hit-or-miss proposition for me. I'm now on life-support at Dominican--Herbert hit me hard this time. Very loud and very good, and you've got to love the Ozzy-like vocals. Steve, the band's drummer, is one thrashing bundle of id. Spaceboy, those primordial beasts of thunder, nailed everything tight. A huge wall of fuzz in all crazy directions spawned glorious results. Clifford showed the audience how this punk-rock thing is done with an awesome vocal assault. Plus Jade, the ever-maniacal genius on drums, pukes at 99 percent of the band's shows--would NOFX blow chunks for you?
Matt Koumaras

Louder Space Part Deux

A thrilling turnout at Palookaville last Friday literally spotlighted veteran rockers who leave town to get their kicks. Mock started the show and kept the pace high until the audience really settled down and got stony. Then Herbert crashed in with a combination of hard-hitting jams and banshee vocals that brought images of Dee Snyder's eye shadow screaming to mind, but the band got rid of the finery and got straight down to business. The evening climaxed with a fine display of lights and an extravagance with the fog machine that left me nearly blinded by imaginary smoke. Vaporized like an asthma patient but still faintly outlined, Spaceboy rocked with its signature technical intrigue, stopping only to punctuate the trip with a defiant "We love where we live!" and angry warnings to look sharp, or the government will take away our pot (and, I assume, other nice things as well). It's reassuring to see that heavy-handed indie music hasn't been entirely abandoned to the whims of new-school straight-edge orthodoxy--someone's still willing to play around with it. I just think they should have shared the fog machine with the opening bands. It's only fair.
Arwen Curry


On Saturday, P.A.W.N.S., Exploding Crustaceans and the Plebians play the Point. On Sunday, Dilligaf, Junk Sick Dawn and Political Silence play at the Vets Hall downtown for Free Radio Santa Cruz.

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From the February 19-25, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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