A Good, Dumb Time for All

The Huntingtons
Chain Reaction
Saturday, Sept. 4

The Huntingtons, you'll recall, are the world's hugest black-leather-jacket-wearin', two-minute-song-playin', last-name sharin', Ramones-worshipin' -but-we're-not-a-Ramones-tribute-act-no-matter-how-obvious-it-looks band. Oh, but it was obvious. Sure, they play their own special brand of old-school quickie punk. But that gruff, "HeywearetheHuntingtons andweareheretorockyouallnightlong" greeting? Their songs with the word "wanna" in the title? The spread-eagle guitar stance of their lead singer, whose legs were planted so far apart that from the back of the room, it looked as if he were either sitting down or had shrunk a good three feet? Those pouty, expressionless expressions? Those hardened "whoa, whoa, whoa" harmonies? It was all Ramones. And their music! You could have played a pretty wicked game of Guess the Riff: that one's "I Wanna Be Sedated"; this one is clearly "Psychotherapy"; that's "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue"; and so on.

Not that any of this was terribly wrong, though—just blatant. Confound it, people! On this night, the Huntingtons were the Ramones with shorter haircuts. A good, dumb time for all is what it was: pure, honest, guilty-pleasure punk. And, like we've said before, there are much worse bands to lift from. Now, where's that band that thinks it's Spandau Ballet?

Hoobustank
The Backalley
Friday, Sept. 10

Our return to the fabulously well-run, cop-approved, all-ages Backalley was a rather underwhelming affair, mostly because we couldn't figure out where the hell everybody was. A bill headlined by Freakdaddy and the Bredrin Daddy's, two bands that have fairly healthy draws? All we heard was the sound of crickets chirping. But we bailed out following third-billed Hoobustank, so their people probably drifted in after we left. Then again, maybe Rosh Hashanah was keeping everyone away, so blame Moses. More bodies would have done themselves good to have shown up for Hoobustank, an inventive septet (including two non-ska sax bleaters) that spewed loose jazz-funk grooves with a splattering of punk thrown in. Though the band's bass/drums combo was a bit overwhelming and bottom-heavy (there were times when you could barely hear the horns), at least the horn guys still moved along with the flow of Hoobustank's foundation, as opposed to merely stabbing through it thoughtlessly like some generic cookie-cutter ska band. This was more like hepped-up fusion as hammered out by a bunch of hardcore kids, fronted by a singer who actually seemed to be interested in, you know, singing. Other times, they were like a smoky modern-jazz combo, generous enough to leave improv gaps when they wanted to bring up friends for some one-off, freeform vocal throw-downs. Though their set veered off into something angrier near the end with a brief, unwise hip-hop attempt, they reined themselves in before things got too ugly. Hoobustank, it seems, would be good to have on hand at rent parties.

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.
 
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