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[whitespace] ConcussionBoarding's Cool: Concussion teeters on the edge with bits of skate culture, bodily fluids and rock & roll.

Skateboarding, music and shtick gets a glance in local zine

PUT DOWN THAT Lee Quarnstrom "I Hate Skateboarding Bums, Pt. 114" and sink your broken jaws into this! It's Concussion--the "El Niño" issue. What we've got here is a brash and daring zine that manages to maintain the perfect balance between skating, music and zaniness. It knocks the husky-boy shorts off Thrasher.

My favorite skating piece is "Skinned Alive--The Concussion Downhill," a sick DIY X-Games that took place up at UCSC. The skaters endure more bodily damage than the time-warped hero from Army of Darkness--brilliant stuff, almost a visual haiku.

The whole gamut of skate parks is covered here, as is surfing at "Mavericks," and there's a killer interview with lowbrow artist, Coop. The interview with David Lee Roth is more disturbing than watching the "Hot for Teacher" video in which the preteen Van Halen rebels against the school.

How many small U.S. zines review European skating and music? Davoud's Czech story is amusing, and the photo of his oozing bile is unforgettable--I'll let you know when I decide if that's a good thing. It also has photos from the "Santa Cruz Still Sucks" show featuring P.A.W.N.S, Reliance, Riff Raff and more.

And my bladder is still hating me from the hilarious Party of Five drinking game: "Rule 1: Drink whenever someone cries; Rule 2: Drink when someone doesn't finish a complete sentence."

Concussion is tons more fun than watching Steve Young trying to count the digits on his hand after another helmet-to-helmet collision. For a copy, send $2 to Concussion, P.O. Box 1024, Santa Cruz, 95061.

All Mixed Up

A diverse lineup stirred things up nicely at last Wednesday's low-key Vets Hall show. It's a noble idea to shake up musical styles and start from scratch every once in awhile. You might end up liking a grindcore band that you would have avoided at all costs if it wasn't for a hodgepodge bill. It happened to me last winter at the All/Backstreet Boys/Color Me Badd show--now All's one of my favorite bands.

Openers Subtle Oak Complexity featured exceptionally nimble bass, just perfect vocals and a drummer who's a dead ringer for the Muppets' Animal. This mild-mannered band embarked upon an Unrest-styled indie pop set that unexpectedly seized musical moments of simple grandeur. Subtle Oak Complexity was a desperate dose of Viagra, and things started moving in me that haven't budged in years.

The Gods Hate Kansas is a new punk outfit from the East Bay that rocked with a Screw 32-twist. It had a great finale with the Pink Lincolns' cover--I kept begging for a Kansas cover, but the gods must hate me, too. The band's run-of-the-mill tuneage didn't do much for me, but it's still a newborn and could conquer the punk-rock domain in time.

Vincent's Ear made the brutal six-mile trek up from Aptos and played another gargantuan rock set. Its trippy, artistic excursions seemed to puzzle the audience initially, but allegiances swung full circle as Vincent's Ear's emotional set started to smoke.

The perverted Exploding Crustaceans excreted blood, soup and Select Soda as they steered strangely into Iron Maiden country, but you've got to somewhat admire a band that brings its own deodorant with it on stage.


Millencolin, Lost Cause and Brand New Unit play the Vets Hall on July 29 ($8, all ages); Spaceboy and Riff Raff are at the Aptos Club on Thursday (9pm, 21 and up, $1); Subtle Oak Complexity and Fighter D play the Pacific Grove Youth Center on Friday (16th & Laurel, all ages).
Matt Koumaras

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From the July 30-Aug. 5, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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