By Sarah Bennett
By Adam Lovinus
By Jena Ardell
By Nate Jackson
By Gustavo Arellano
By Nick Keppler
By Nate Jackson
By Alex Distefano
Outerspace / Pinehurst Kids / Real Diego / either Separation Anxiety, Till Seven or Fuzzpop—you make the call!
Koo's Art Cafe
Sunday, June 20
We here in the Locals office are periodically forced to make painful, agonizing, life-or-death decisions. One such incident came up last week: Should we or should we not use our rock-critic superpowers to score free tickets to the mega-expensive Bob Dylan/Paul Simon extravaganza at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim? It's not choosing whether to bomb Belgrade or Baghdad, but this is our reality! In the end, we figured some poor, malnourished, underprivileged Newport Beach or Coto de Caza types would appreciate the ducats more than we, so we didn't even try scamming our way in. And, hey, Dylan and Simon? That's old people's music, anyway. We're much happier in rooms like the ultra-intimate (and ultracheap) Koo's Art Cafe, where we can get close enough to hear the clickety-clicks of plastic picks being stroked across guitar strings.
But we started off this night in a panic—we hadn't a clue who the opening band was. The fliers called them Fuzzpop. The guest list said they were Till Seven. And the band's CDs were labeled Separation Anxiety. Ladies and gentlemen . . . Fuzz Till Anxiety! Whoever they were, they were a passable four-boy outfit, spouting off sad, whimpering little emo tunes that flip-flopped between gloom, doom, back to gloom, then finally settling into a strange kind of post-gloom ecstasy. The most irritating thing about them, though, was their singer, who insisted on sporting oversized Jim Morrison shades for the entire set—and, y'know, Koo's really isn't that bright inside. But maybe the kid was just trying to mask his tears. Awww!
Vastly superior were Real Diego, a San Pedro band who had us bobbing our heads in time from their first song. They were sorta like one of those emo bands, too, but a lot happier-sounding. Giddy, even; maybe they're the great anti-emo band who've come to rescue us all! Well, maybe not. But they liked to suddenly switch tempos midsong, which kept things arousing. They had a gift for jingly-jangly guitar licks that tasted like old REM. Their music felt kinda like a deep, exuberant sigh, like staring into a bottomless chasm and glimpsing the holy mug of Krishna. Or like the fragments of a shattered heart being magically epoxied back together again. Or like really swell, hypnotic noise pop—yeah, that. But all they had at their merch table was a 7-inch—what good is that to us turntable-challenged heathens?
Portland's Pinehurst Kids, about whom we raved feature-story-style last week ("Title," June 18), were as wonderfully enchanting as we had hoped, even if they did just mostly duplicate the songs off their terrific Minnesota Hotel CD pretty much note-for-note. But we still loved their frazzled, solid, Killingtonsesque tunes and their occasional forays into more hardcore terrain. And while it's true that more people were hanging around outside the Koo's house than inside during their set, all that did was confirm one our many ornery theories: sometimes the greatest rock & roll happens when few are looking.
Fullerton's Outerspace, a four-piece who were, um . . . outerspacey, started with an atmospheric, artsy-type instrumental that made us suspect that they couldn't really play—c'mon, anybody can whip together a batch of freaky guitar sounds without too much effort. But there seemed to be a purpose in all of this, a sort of esoteric, experimental, Yoko-Ono-without-all-the-psychotic-brring-brring-brring-whachaka-whachaka-whachakas going on. They obviously weren't into old, boring formalities, either—like, for instance, basic song structure. Instead, they seemed more interested in firing off tense, otherworldly waves of paranoia (which means at least one of them is either a Trekkie or an X-Files nut), which sometimes slipped into an occasional, extended, tightly wound jam (but not a hippie-band jam—there is a difference) that collapsed into assorted knob twiddling and effects-pedal foolery. But they were neither obnoxious nor overbearing and felt a bit like maybe Hovercraft on a sunny afternoon, or like the way a Jackson Pollack painting looks—a heaping, throbbing, chaotic mess, yeah, but if you stare long enough, you'll eventually find something to like. We'll call them guitar surrealists just because it sounds cool. Not the kind of stuff to blast on your home system, though, unless you really want to piss off your neighbors and scare the bejesus out of their dogs, cats and kiddies.Send tapes, CDs, and tips on where we should go (besides hell) to Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.