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Los Dryheavers get into the protection racket

By David Espinoza

AND THE WINNER for best promotional item offered by a local band goes to Los Dryheavers! Yes, the Sneaky Creekans have T-shirts, Sin In Space has nifty little buttons, but Los Dryheavers have condoms. Not just any condoms either; condoms that read, "Don't fuck with us. Don't fuck without us." Enough said.

A belated update on October shows: Murder City Devils rocked a sold out Vets Hall basement Sunday, Oct. 28--pipe organist Leslie Hardy was missing from the scene, and drummer Coady Willis busted his bass drum during the first song, but other than that, the Devils' last show in SC was on. Between songs, folks called out from the sweaty sea of bodies swaying like kelp during a storm, "Don't break up!" But Spencer Moody and crew offered no response or explanation as to why the band is calling it quits just when everything seems to be going right, and they closed the show without an encore.

Someone should tell band mates Nick 13 and Geoff Kresge of the psychobilly trio Tiger Army that if the music thing should ever fail, the military would surely accept them into the special forces. Just how ripped are these guys? Let's just say the Catalyst security was mere window dressing when Tiger Army opened for Sick of It All and the Dropkick Murphys Friday, Nov. 2. Considering that one of the band's first SC gigs was on the tiny stage at the Aptos Club over a year and a half ago, Tiger Army has come a long way. Sporting a tee from German psychos Mad Sin (it's a very international scene), Nick 13 and crew fired up the show with the first track off their debut album, Nocturnal. Aside from the haircuts, the most impressive thing about psychobilly is the stand up slap bass--it's a talent few have the fingers for. With that in mind, the towering Geoff Kresge practically upstaged Nick 13 as he rampaged about the stage with his bass, furiously plucking away at the thick strings all the while.

Stewart Finds a Sound

Jamie Stewart isn't so much a musician as he is an explorer. Throughout the years, as he's shut down his bands (IBOPA, Ten in the Swear Jar) for something different, Stewart has been searching for uncharted regions of sound, and this time with his latest project, Xiu Xiu (pronounced "Shu Shu"), which played a house party Sunday, Nov. 4, he may have found it. Call it Stewart's third installment in a saga, Xiu Xiu plunges headfirst into a realm where bands like Radiohead only dip their toes. The new lineup: Lauren Andrews, Yvonne Chen and Cory McCullough (also from Ten in the Swear Jar) trade off on harmonium, mandolin, two keyboards, a rack of small Eastern-looking brass bells and gongs and, for a bass, something that appears to be a cross between a Mexican guitarron and a cello. It's all part of Stewart's strange concoction of sounds delicately pieced together and carried by his pretty voice. The Western world may be infatuated with rock bands playing rock instruments alongside synths and drum machines, but Xiu Xiu takes it a step further. Fuck the rock guitars and drum sets, Xiu Xiu takes indigenous instruments and works them with programmed drumbeats. It's not a "Let's throw all these wacky instruments together and see what happens" approach either; Stewart clearly is picky about what kind of tone he's shooting for. In an alternate universe, Stewart's voice is a hybrid of an even-more-fragile version of Robert Smith and an angry Trent Reznor (think Downward Spiral).

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From the November 1-7, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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