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Notes From The Underground

[whitespace] Queens of the Stone Age
Lisa Johnson

They Would Know: Queens of the Stone Age brought the future to the Aptos Club.

Rock of Past Ages:
Queens of the Stone Age deliver hypnotic beats

FRONTED BY Scotty from the Cavities on guitar (confirming my dentist's theory that 39 percent of all bands have cavities in their lineup), Seyance unleashed beautifully thick sludge rock at the Aptos Club last Thursday. Time (not to be mistaken for the political punks at Newsweek) pummeled me from start to finish with a closed fist of metal devoid of anything generic. Jared, the band's guitarist/vocalist, and crew made rock music look as easy as sticking Silly Putty on Veronica in an Archie comic. Under the word "groove" in my trusty thesaurus, I have now penciled in the word "Time."

I've only been scared twice. Once was when my doctor, dressed like MC Hammer, put on latex gloves and rapped "Stop, catheter time!" The other time was at Krazy's when Mock's vocalist formed his own psychotic one-man pit. Mock has had a new vocalist for some time now, but the group still masterfully shakes things up live like old times. "Broke My Song" was speedy chain-saw pop perfection. Queens of the Stone Age, who were also on the bill, were not a Freddie Mercury/Cro-Mags tribute band but something better. The Queens' scorching riffs conjured up images of searching for a gas station in the middle of the desert with the Griswalds. The moody sound system limited the vocals, but Josh went absolutely mental on guitar, ripping through hypnotic leads on "A-Bomb" and "Walkin' on the Sidewalks." On "You Would Know," the Queens appeared to be under the trancelike influence of Iggy's "Funhouse" brew. Not as many Kyuss songs this time around, but the Queens' newer songs rang some inner bell, and the crowd started drooling anyway. Nick, the bassist, played in the Dwarves under the name Rex Everything, so I can't say anything bad about him unless he played on "Horror Stories."

District 17
Highway Rock: District 17 offers a faster commute
than Highway 17 on new album.

District 17

This unidentified flying object was spotted near Pacific Grove and offers a close emo encounter of the finest kind. The affected vocals on District 17's new release remind me of Pavement, which in turn reminds me of the Fall. The album includes pretty songs about driving along lonesome highways searching for the next fix of grits. "Left Lane Prodigy" made me fall asleep at the wheel, but J.P.'s mercurial hooks on "Tupelo to Vegas" win the six-string jackpot.

The rocking "Hollywood Is in Permanent Transition" features some neat vocal interplay between J.P. and Johnny. My favorite tune is "Lone Star State," even though all my exes live in Texas. The country slide-guitar work on "Grievous Angel" completely pops the indie weasel.

Deadpan lyrics like "A broken Chrysler and broken heart" will make you and your square-dancing minions fall to pieces. Plus there are more tasty samples on these songs than walking down the aisles of Costco. If Modest Mouse and District 17 arm-wrestled, the District, after wiping the blood from its fingernails, would prevail. Band info: [email protected].


All ages are invited Saturday (Oct. 17) to the Subud Center (3800 Old San Jose Road in Soquel) to see Diversion, Seyance and Live Wire. The action starts at 6pm. Admission is $5 and comes with a barbecued meal along with chips and soda. Don't know if there's a piñata, but bring a wiffle bat anyway. On Thursday, Fu Manchu, Unida, Herbert and Time play the Aptos Club; on Friday, Vincent's Ear, Spike 1000 and Chaos Lounge drop by the club.
By Matt Koumaras

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From the October 15-21, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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