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Rock Hard

[whitespace] Dojo cover Cover Up: Dojo gives its new self-titled record a home-grown spin with blood, sweat and rock & roll.

Dojo spans musical miles with its new DIY effort

DOJO'S NEW SELF-TITLED album is an interesting five-song DIY effort right down to the homemade CDs and tapes--way to cut through the corporate middle man and do it the old-skool way! I mean, why talk to Richie Cunningham when you can head straight to Fonzie's office for a pep talk? This is loud, heavy, off-the-wall stuff. I wasn't quite sure what to make of it at first, but when I consulted my musical guru, my mama said, "It didn't knock me out." It's probably because Dojo crosses more musical miles than Marco Polo.

There are tiny traces of Frank Zappa, the Chili Peppers and early Metallica, but it's really hard to pin the tail on the musical dojo. After soaking in some listens, I changed my opinion--puberty will do that to you.

Frank and Wayne's loud-as-hell guitars convulse majestically on the superb power-thrash number, "Epiclecktick." Dojo's dizzying song structures remind me of what it must feel like to walk the tightrope at the circus with carnies heckling for fresh blood down below. "Never Get Out of the Boat" is demented--I can't quite grasp what vocalist Rob, doing his best Linda Blair impersonation, is ranting about, but he's pretty much convinced me that getting off the boat might not be a good idea.

Lee's massive wall of drums never gets too complicated, and it cannonballs Dojo to great rock heights. This is definitely not your basic paint-by- numbers metal. Dojo intercepts a chunky riff and implants it into your brain like those CIA ID chips that have been tracking you every time you pick up a Metro Santa Cruz. (It's one per customer, buckaroo!). For a copy, write Dojo, 2205 Seventh Ave., Santa Cruz, 95062 or click on their Web site at www.ambush.com/dojo/.

Buddying Up

Somebody take away this moonshine, I'm having Boss Hog visions again. It all started after taking a rocking stroll with Buddy's Riot at Skinny McDoogle's last Saturday. It didn't matter that the band didn't know it was playing the show until a day before (hence, no fliers), or that the second band didn't even bother to show up. Buddy's Riot made the best of the situation (i.e. punk rocked it) and played some great instrumentals.

After a successful show with Hayride to Hell on Thursday, Buddy's Riot played another tight rockabilly set that sounded good whether in a Heineken haze or while sharpening that straight edge. James, the six-string maestro, whipped out some dazzling country-surf fills that would make the Old Man in black proudly do a jig while walking the line. "Trail Life" and a blistering version of the Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" were standouts.

Ezra completely rocked out on the stand-up bass, and his twirls were damn pretty, too. Nate switched from slower-paced Cramps dirges to speedy grooves on drums as easily as finding that new Bad Religion album in the used section at Streetlight. A lot of headbangers bailed on this show after incorrectly thinking they'd be seeing Quiet Riot, but this band was so much better! The prophecy according to Buddy will soon take over the world!


On Thursday, Tribal Disco Noise, Meat Pizza Sandwich and Subtle Oak Complexity play the Aptos Club (21 & up, $1). Also on Thursday, Big Shrimp, Lonely Kings and Soul Aggression play the Catalyst. On Saturday, a cancer benefit at the Mid-County Senior Center (by Nob Hill) takes place featuring the Huxtables, Teen Heroes, Longfellow and Origami Switchblade (7pm, $5).
Matt Koumaras

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From the August 27 - September 2, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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