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Kings for a Night


Matt Koumaras

Royal Rockers: The Lonely Kings anoint the masses in the mosh pit.

'What if?' the Lonely Kings held a CD-release party at the Catalyst?

By Matt Koumaras

LAST FRIDAY at the Catalyst, the Lonely Kings celebrated their long-awaited debut on Fearless Records with a CD-release party. Entering through the sea of mist courtesy of a very Judas Priest-like fog machine, the band unleashed a flurry of soon-to-be new hits off What If? mixed with some old standards. They were tighter than ever, hunkering down on machine-gun melodies and rhythms like a punk-savvy Kingston Trio.

Jake's full-throttle guitar leads anointed the masses in the makeshift pit with a royal scepter. By the time Jake broke into the isolated speeded-up strums of "True Grit," Satan stopped talking about his new pyramid scheme and began to lambada (he did the NC-17 forbidden version). Jesse's ambitious bass roamed through an impressive range of styles that tied in snugly with Jason's kick-start snare. The carpal-breaking tom work Jason pounded through on his custom-made Santa Cruz kit had me coughing up secondhand smoke.

The Lonely Kings delivered the same urgency as Samian by having over-the-top vocals that never abandon melody fused with moody guitar breakdowns that build up to a dramatic free fall. When Jake apologized for the show's cost being $6, he explained, "We're playing for you for an hour, so that's just about minimum wage." It was a humorous, yet razor-sharp perspective that seemed as sincere as it gets.


Tape Head

Relik, demo tape. This is a pretty neat tape from a younger local punk band that offers songs saturated with crass fun. Matt's gritty vocals on "The New Beginning" sound like they could have come from the Pogues' rotting canines. And just when you think you've got a firm grasp on every pop-punk lead in history, Matt's guitar churns out a line that slips through your fingers. The unexpected arpeggios at the end of "Rhetoric" are the best prize behind any door--nice vocal harmonies too without a hint of the wimp factor.

The Clash-styled reggae beats leading to the blitzkrieg thrash during "Bed of Syringes" are more invigorating than watching rats performing stunts with cheese at the Xcrement Games. The driving three-chord progression in "Homicide" reminds me of the Dwarves' "Drugstore." Rob's bass on "Not a Chance" is a wild ride full of bumps and bruises. This tape is a nice turnabout from the generic punk most new bands seem to have signed a two-year lease to play. Jacques Cousteau never had a chance to discover this tape under the sea, but if he did, he'd undoubtedly point out that Relik is old school. Contact the band at [email protected].

Showcase Your Band

Local hardcore, grind and emo bands are being sought out by Toughguy Vs. Preacher Love Records for a record compilation. The label is seeking demos, CDs, vinyls, videos--basically anything that will adequately showcase the style of your band. Their first 7-incher scheduled is a split featuring Juda and Fantabulous. For info, email [email protected] or [email protected]


Thursday (July 8), the Huxtables go acoustic with IBOPA and Bobby Ebola and the Children McNuggets at the Actors' Theatre (1001 Center St., Santa Cruz); Sunday, Riff Raff, HBA and SWRV play the Capitola Theater (7pm, all ages); Monday, Estradasphere and a very famous special guest (no kidding) play Palookaville. Tuesday, Slow Gherkin is on the Idle Hands show on Free Radio Santa Cruz (96.3), 4-7pm.

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From the July 7-14, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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