Notes on a Bloodstained Band Flier

Samiam/Farside/Shades Apart/Jesse & the Rockers
Chain Reaction
Wednesday, Nov. 17

Wednesday. Hump day. Music issue put to bed. Exhausted. Bored. Listless. Need release. Hmmm. . . . Goo Goo Dolls? Bren Events Center? Baaarf!!! Bryan Ferry? Sun Theatre? Snooorrre!!! Samiam. Heard of. Farside. Heard of. Chain Reaction. There. Vroom! First band. Jesse & the Rockers. Dumb name. From Alabama. Supposedly Christian. They sing, "Bluh, blah . . . Giving my heart to Jesus Christ . . . blah, bluh . . . Now I'm saved." Definitely Christian. Nice Baptist boys. Good players. An ornery hum without faltering. Riffs—chunky, angry, loud. Keyboard twirls—non-cheesy. Large, majestic choruses. Sound like hepped-up Creed. Or better. Or worse. Smiths' cover. Don't know it. Never liked the Smiths. Maybe band not so good after all.

Second band. Shades Apart. From New Jersey. Have song on American Pie soundtrack. Wouldn't brag if we were them. Make smarmy grand entrance as gawdawful elevator music blares. Rock-star alert! Sound? Slick. "Alternative" slick. "Radio-friendly" slick. Catchy. Yet hard. Yet fluffy. Yet hard. Yet catchy. Do a midtempo punk power ballad. Yup, really. And a "Tainted Love" cover. The Soft Cell tune. From 1981. Most in audience not even alive in 1981. Soft Cell = old people's music. Covering old people's music = feeble, cloying attempt to be liked. Ninety percent of '80s songs = wicked, wicked dreck. Resolved: pepper-spray enemas for bands that cover '80s songs. Not as cute as band thinks it is. Bassist and guitarist jump up and down a bunch of times together. They split. See ya!

Third band. Farside. Local. Semilegends. Kinda. Been around forever. A long-ass time. Could collect SSI. Seems like, anyway. Zack de la Rocha, former member—an angrier, wealthier former member. 1999 model Farside still super. Still hardcore. Whatever that means. Kinda "emo." Whatever that means. Noisy and sugary. Like chawing on mouthfuls of dry Cap'n Crunch. Lilting vocal harmonies. Colorful guitar soundscapes. Tunes about hard times. Hard, hard times. Yet exuberant. Inspiring. Still punky after all these years. Have improved with age. Have refined themselves. As Social D did. Better than ordinary. On HB indie Revelation. Still maintaining indie street cred. We like. We really like.

Samiam. Headliners. Bay Area punkers. Been at it forever, too. Old enough to have seen Operation Ivy. Green Day used to open for them. This doesn't mean they suck. Five-guy band. Singer has shaved head. And ugly, yellow-rimmed glasses. Looks like a Pok√©mon. They start. What's up? Don't sound like punk. More like a good ol' rock & roll band. (What is punk anymore?) Singer is sufficiently pissed, though. Must be faking it. Pretty groovy. Quite pleasant—for a bunch of old dudes. Bassist wears Citicorp T-shirt. Ironic? Yup. Not sure in what way yet. Nearing end. Getting kinda draggy. When you think they're done, they start another song. One-dimensionalness slowly revealed. Songs start blending into one another. Getting harder to tell difference. What was once exciting and cool is swiftly becoming tired and redundant. Starting to feel suckered. Think about asking for refund. Forget we got in for free. Do a heartwarming ballad near end of set. A near-ballad. One of those quiet-loud-quiet things. Like old Pixies. Final judgment: nifty. But should know when to quit.

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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