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[whitespace] Diversion
Full Frontal Metal: On its new self-titled CD, Diversion plays hard and loud with supernatural guitar lines and wicked time changes.

Notes From The Underground

Won't Wash Away:
T.S.O.L. left an indelible impression at SC Vets Hall show

By Matt Koumaras

DESPITE A HIGH meat-to-head ratio resulting in a scuffle, T.S.O.L. played an incredible show Sept. 24 at the SC Vets Hall. The original lineup chiseled its way through a set stocked with hits ("Wash Away," "Superficial Love," "World War III") leading up to its piece de necrophiliac resistance, "Code Blue." The guitars cranked out luscious riff after riff with heavy reverb. Jack Grisham, a dead ringer for Russell Crowe of L.A. Confidential fame, had the crowd singing their Marlboro-stained lungs out. Seeing Grisham pick up the mic stand and smash ceiling lights out made me take a nostalgic sip from a spiked fountain of youth.

Lost Cause laid out music that is fast, heavy and always on the verge of spinning off the track and hitting a brick wall. Shane's powerful vocals on "Times" were hard to the core and incapable of uttering a half-assed phrase. Mike attacked his drum set to a riveting death on "Excuses." The precise cover of "Drinking and Driving" made me think I was seeing a late-era Black Flag reunion--all that was missing was Henry Rollins and a striped Gap shirt.

From the opening bars of Quiet Riot's "Metal Health" that fused into the spirited Blowtorch theme song, I knew I would dig openers Betty Blowtorch. Sharon Needles and Blair N. Bitch Jiffy Lubed the senses with slow and mean guitar riffs in the Girlschool vein. Bianca's raspy catcalls took a chain saw to censorship and sawed it in half. I haven't done this much head bobbing since I performed Footloose in its entirety back on Broadway (and Ocean Street) a few years ago. The band even threw in "Yeast Infections Are Bad" and "Ugly" from the old Butt Trumpet days. How can you not sell your soul to a band that states they're "four mean, foul-mouthed, power-tool-crazy rock & roll hussies who will fix your car and then hump you on top of it"?

CD Review: Diversion

This trio has a penchant for playing full frontal metal that nails sinister musical progressions into your brain. Buckle up for the impressive sensory trip of "Scallywag" that soars with Chris' supernatural guitar leads, never falling into the fangs of over indulgence. His guitar work on "Ancient Visions" is a smorgasbord of exquisite riffs. Mike is blessed with special percussion powers enabling him to travel through wicked time changes at the flick of a wrist. The monstrous bass intro to "Overload" from Tas features knockout lower octave hooks. Tas' vocals on the temperamental "Slow Times" exude a wisdom far beyond this band's years. My only criticism is that the vocals seem to be stuck in the Herbert mode--but far worse crimes have been committed in the history of rock music (as I bury a 98 Degrees CD in my dad's sock drawer). Someone was telling me that Diversion is sponsored by Pacific Wave Surf Shop, and as part of their deal they had to wear neon two-piece bikinis with the Pacific Wave logo at the Catalyst show about weeks ago. Why do I miss out all the good shows? Contact Diversion through the band's website: diversion.iuma.com.


Herbert, Portraits of Poverty (Seattle) and Vincent's Ear play the Aptos Club Thursday (21+); also Thursday, Estradasphere, the Expendables, and Sky Blue Delicatessen are at the Catalyst. Saturday Dilligaf plays the Jury Room with Cold Rolled Coil beginning at 9pm.

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From the September 29-October 6, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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