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Albino Elephant

Catching the end of BAT MAKUMBA'S set at MOE'S on Saturday, I was struck with a distinct feeling of pity for whoever had to follow up on the end of their tropically themed energy orgy. But ALBINO rousted the crowd back to life, taking their formidable horn section out into the audience to insure that everyone knew the show was back on. Horn lines never get old.

Once upon the stage, Albino lashed into some seriously fun Afrobeat. While most of the tunes were a lick or two away from FELA'S ZOMBIE or MISTER, NO MISTER, it didn't really matter. Albino drops some serious weight upon the stage, with 14 people swaying in synchronized motion. Particularly impressive were the Ewe–influenced drumming styles of KOKOU SOGLO KATAMANI and the tasteful kit work of MICHAEL PINKHAM. But the real treat of the group is the horn section. All five pieces of Albino's brass section would make any harmonic butcher proud. They punched their way through backing charts and heads with admirable aplomb and somehow managed to make both chords utilized sound fresh every 32 bars.

Electric Apricots

With anything involving LES CLAYPOOL, the line between reality and illusion is a bit blurry. His latest project, ELECTRIC APRICOT, will be dropping into MOE'S on Aug. 24, and it has all the hallmarks of Les' involvement. The bios are ridiculous, the musical direction is nebulous and the website is classic.

Speaking of their home on the Internet, it features some vintage '96 HTML coding, including a flashing orange background not intended for either the aesthetically or epileptically enhanced. There are also links to CAZZY'S HIPPIE RING and FREE HEMP email.

Claypool is playing drums in the group under the name LAPLAND MICLOVICH and lists his goal in life as "to build and live in an energy self-sufficient-geodescent [sic] dome." The thing is, even with the wig and the burning sage, he might actually be serious.

According to the scattered reports of rabid jam-band fans on the net, GABBY LA LA, Claypool's protégé and musical raconteur, has been opening up shows on this microtour of the tiki bars of the West. When the Apricot takes the stage, it does so in a hazy of incense and psychedelic regalia that would make DONOVAN proud. With lyrics like "If you ever feel alone, go play Frisbee with your clone," the Apricot will serve as an excellent placebo for those who still aren't over PHISH dropping off the circuit.

Peter Koht

Ghost in the Machine

After wasting an evening watching stupid penguins waddling and huddling for two very long hours, we marched over to THE ATTIC last week in time to catch the end of RICK WALKER'S WEIRD KALIMBA set. Looping gorgeously intricate kalimba parts over each other, Walker created an enthralling aural tapestry, just in time for the dance beats from the BLUE LAGOON below to come thundering up through the floorboards. Amazingly, they were perfectly in sync with Walker's creation. The last time we witnessed such man-machine synchronicity was a few years back at the SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST musical festival, where DARDEN SMITH and his band found themselves being intermittently accompanied by a nearby car alarm they eventually managed to sync up with. Afterward, Smith said that he wasn't sure whether the band accommodated the alarm or the alarm accommodated them, but that he'd "like to think they met somewhere in the middle."

Dick Joke

This week's MOST UN–SANTA CRUZ COMMENT AWARD goes to DICK DALE, who during his performance Friday at the CATALYST ground his guitar against the top of his Dual Showman Fender amps and then snarled, "That's the way I treat my women." As the men in the audience looked sheepishly at their partners, the veteran surf axman and his power trio launched into GHOST RIDERS and a host of other metal-tinged classics. Word has it the man who invented surf music back in the '50s could be heard clearly for a three-block radius. Meanwhile, Dale is advertising on his website for Southern California–based roadies who have "strong work ethics, clean appearance and a good driving record." Women, however, may want to keep their distance.

Bill Forman

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From the August 24-31, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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