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Notes From the Underground
By Arwen Curry

Noise Flash:
Gorehounds and comrades distort their hearts out

LAST WEEKEND MARKED THE FINAL DEPARTURE for all members of Soda Pop Fuck You for the teeming breeding ground of classic third-wave ska-punk known as the East Bay. One member of the Cenobytes, a promising local industrial noise act (including brutal sampling), also set sail from the county, giving rise to a farewell bash on Friday night. One of the most reclusive and unkempt pads in SC--also the birthplace and practice space for quite a few creative amplified projects over the years--hosted the party until the cops arrived.

The seldom-heard-from Maquina blasted over-the-top noise complete with saxophone (which the lead singer unconvincingly swore he couldn't play) bellowed straight into a mic hanging from the ceiling. Its energy puts most new punk bands--rumored to have a market on that sort of thing--to shame, coming to a peak of ballistic mania when dual vocals erupted with the bassist on low growl and the singer on Mickey Mouse pitch and satanic tempo. Showing some respect for the voice as an instrument--complete with all the possibilities of harmony--took the band beyond mere competence and into the realm of the truly deviant and strange. I hope for its sake it has a demo floating around the Alternative Tentacles incoming-crap office, waiting to be discovered.

The Gorehounds managed to squeeze quite an impressive set in before the men with badges arrived. Unlike its openers, the Hounds seemed to have abandoned the concept of vocals and instead intently focused on being completely together--apparently drawing from rehearsed build-ups and crashes to moments of necessary improvisation. If a band's level of audience rapport is judged purely on physical- and eye-contact, the Hounds would rate poorly. It relies instead on the maintenance of a Zen-like concentration that eventually sucks even the reluctant into a trance.

Don't get me wrong--the band wasn't "stony"--not with Lee Tom alert and magnificent on drums, attentively keeping pace with the rise and fall of the strings before it even happened. A mesmerized and slowly nodding crowd of revelers joined the pulse while the resident shaggy drunk threatened to frets of the bass with manic whirling until sirens drowned out the whole thing. The festivities were successfully relocated, but not the music--the expected anticlimax of shows in grungy living rooms.

In other news, it appears a new batch of kids is starting to set up shows with touring bands. The direction of Sara Paul and other organizers is leaning heavily toward indie bands at present (see the upcoming Modest Mouse listing), but the venues they discover may inspire others as well. For now, the noisy bands can stick to the foyers of run-down Victorians.


On Saturday, Bellah plays at Rosie McCann's (10pm, 21 and up). Also watch out for Modest Mouse, Red Stars Theory and Nuzzle on the 18th at the Actors' Theatre (7pm, $4, all ages).

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From the Sept. 4-10, 1997 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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