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Pedal to the Metal

[whitespace] Live Wire
Wire Train: Live Wire gets on board the metal train
with its new CD, 'Near Is the End.'

Metal rears its head on Live Wire's 'Near Is the End'

By Matt Koumaras

HEY, KIDS--now that you need an ID to get into an R-rated movie (don't fret, I'll still sell you that copy of Krippendorf's Tribe II), why not slip into the full-metal jacket of Live Wire's Near Is the End CD. This precocious trio sounds like Metallica, Stryper and Diversion all being thrown in the washer and coming up with very clean and sturdy rock epics. Marc's guitar is a supernatural amoeba that constantly breaks off into more interesting hybrid forms. His chimerical fret excursions continually leap without looking over asp-filled pits with the slightest of ease.

"Which Way to Hell" drops impressive Puritanical metal debris from the sky on us heathens. Andrew's complex drum breaks became so monumentally feverish that I had to take my temperature in a couple of different ways to verify the power. Somebody'd better call the fire department because we have teenage musical arsonists on "Burning Room." Marc's guitar overdubs stir quite the fiery straw, while bassist Jeff whips out some lofty golden lines with creamy stuff in the middle on the punky "Twinkie Burger." The robotic vocals rubbed me wrong, but there's little doubt that that will improve as Doctor Puberty makes a house call.

I sincerely hope the extensive rock-star list of what instruments and equipment they use on the CD sleeve was meant as a joke. I wouldn't be surprised if this band's music leads a rebellion against the Santa Cruz feudalist state in the year 2011.

Contact Live Wire at [email protected] or write to Live Wire, P.O. Box 745, Soquel, CA 95073

First-Class Trip

Burlacticus Undertow slammed down a serious funk hammer on the fingers of the gods last Friday at Skinny McDoogle's. "Surf Spy" made it impossible not to shimmy, and I wanted to get out my trench coat and attaché case and find amazing riffs coast to coast. The fabulously intricate, reverbed-out guitar leads ripped a hole in every tide. Plus I'd like to add its chorus to my all-time favorite list--you can't beat the inane genius of "Surf Spy/Nice guy/Drinks chai/Eats Thai."

The lead guitarist, donning a bathrobe and Birkenstocks (a potential supermodel for the Faux Pas fashion line), cranked out smooth and rapid guitar leads that flowed like rats water-sliding in a Bronx gutter.

The interplay between the guitarists on "My Neighbors, the Cops" had the crowd swearing in disbelief. "I haven't heard that much cursing since listening to King Tut's gangster rap album." Rich, the band's exuberant Robert Plant-looking lead singer, grooved to orbs of deliciously exaggerated fury and roared out sweaty "Huhs!" that would make James Brown get down.

The manic freight-train ending to Paul Simon's "Kodachrome" was bound for glory. The drummer made his drum kit cry with industrial-sized enthusiasm on "Spank Therapy." And yes, the Undertow's fembot team implored me to dress up in a chicken suit, pour Wesson Oil over my wings and barbecue my emotions. The band's set traveled down a winding road during the later numbers, but I recommend that everyone bring Samsonite luggage the next time this band plays because it's a first-class trip.


On Friday, June 18, the Odd Numbers, the Great Divide, the Gods Hate Kansas, Volunteers and Messy Hairs are at the Santa Cruz Vets Hall (a/a, 8pm, $7). Also on Friday, the Blue Blazers and Junk Sick Dawn play at Skinny's. On Sunday, the Need, Crushstory, California Lightning and the Sea Scouts are at Radio Free Records, 2626 Union Ave, San Jose (a/a, free, 8pm).

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From the June 16-23, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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