By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
As part of our new policy of writing only cuddly, state-mandated, let's-kiss-every-band's-ass-no-matter-how-sucky-their-music-is criticism (which will probably last only till the end of this paragraph), we'll dish on our worthless Friday night in a way that should keep you guessing while sympathetically protecting the guilty.
To what urban arts complex did we venture, expecting to find a packed, sweaty, body-boompin', X-droppin' electronic-music showcase, only to find the joint deader than what's left of Jim Silva's brain cells? And at what normally reliable club did we later find ourselves out of desperation but could only hang at for 15 minutes because of the idiotic, migraine-inducing, mechanical-hardcore band that were so hackneyed they seemed to have picked up instruments for the first time everabout five minutes before their set? How . . . ummm . . .punk. Yeah, dude. They were sodepressing that we just headed home, opting to pass up the first night of the Hippos' two-gig Chain Reaction stand.
And so it was that we wound up at Koo's on Sunday, determined to find somegood music 'round here. We even declined a Star Wars invite to fulfill our Locals duty (besides, "Rosebud" is the name of Obi-Wan's sled).
This looked to be a semipromising, sorta-emo bill (yep, thatword; we likeemo, it's just the "emo" tagwe despise). San Diego trio Niner weren't half-bad, either, spurting out cleansing, Pixies-ish soundscapes on—of all guitars—Telecasters. And their agile lead player was quite impressive, too, squeezing out all sorts of freaky sounds we never knew a plain ol' Tele could make. In a way, they were kind of an arty noise band:one instrumental sounded like music serial killers would make; several others went into odd, jittery yet absorbing excursions that made them sound like a hardcore band attempting jazz. Other sections reminded us of stuff off the Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime album. Niner were a good ride upon waves and waves of textural shifts and psychotic mood swings.
Fallopia were more along the lines of yer basic rawkenroll outfit, like maybe a swirlier version of Social Distortion or Pearl Jam. Those were their best parts, though. During their off-peak moments, they were just too cute. Their singer with the humongous, Jiffy Pop 'do wore a shirt that read "I LOVE CRACK"—how sweet! Their drummer played the first song using chopsticks instead of the bigger, thicker ones—awww! And during their cover of "Karma Chameleon," their singer had to read the lyrics off a cheat sheet—precious!Cute, yeah, but not terribly gooey, though their more ballady segments were a little too stonerrific for our taste. But, overall, you either thought they were mildly intriguing or laughably overblown in that hippy-dippy Deadhead way. Fallopia are really at their best when they do away with all their overindulgent, smirkier moments and just rock out.
Driving by Braille drove down from Vancouver (not by Braille, we assume) and were the epitome of the emo stereotype—four guys, all decked out in fashionably basic black, playing slow, loudly grinding chords while their lead singer stood at the front of the stage making sincere, scrunched-up, eyes-closed, furrowed-brow faces that seemed to stoically announce, "I shall now pass the entire Himalayan mountain range through my cherry-red orb." Painful!They weren't a bad little band, though, and we really took pleasure in the wonderful guitar-chord walls they threw out; their wrenched, been-wronged song lyrics (when we could comprehend them, that is); and their gentler, prettier notes that made us feel all sad and sniffly, like emo boys want you to feel. Or was that just our allergies acting up again?
Give Until Gone were also fairly emo-ish, but we really couldn't pay too much attention to them on account of the Sleeveless Mafia dickwads who insisted on thrashing shit up. Please!Give Until Gone's music was waytoo mellow for that, kids. But these guys were so adamantly into swinging their arms around, not caring whom they clocked, that they probably would have done the same thing at a Backstreet Boys show. And such horribly gauche, unchoreographed moshing! They all looked like they were working out to a Richard Simmons video! And then, inexplicably, some of them started taking their clothes off! Is this, like, the hot new punk dance trend nobody told us about or something? Whutevah. When we started seeing partially exposed asscheeks—and not very attractive ones at that—we knew it was time to bail.