All-Time Champeens

World Tribe/Hot Sauce Johnson/Senza Motiva/Snapdraggin/Koniption Fit/Lo-Fi Champion

The Lava Lounge

Sunday, Feb. 6

Back for more post-Action Sports Retailer confab music, a more ambitious bill than the one the Ziggens featured the night before, this time spread over two stages—one in the Lounge, the other in Java Lanes' psychedelic bowling alley (check out those freaky black-light bowling pins!) next door.

Compared with the boisterous Saturday crowd, however, the turnout was a tad underwhelming—apparently, alterna-rock has-been Perry Farrell was spinning at a bash over on the Queen Mary around the same time, which stole lots of people.

The celeb-crazed suckas lost out on the ingeniousness of Lo-Fi Champion, who are finally back doing shows again (at least shows we know about—hooray for bulk e-mail lists!). They were as swell as ever, full of sagacious, superfine, Beatle-y, Jonathan Richman-y tunes, totally wunnerful, completely endearing, one of our world's perfect pop treasures, a glittery emerald planted among a coal pit of suck-rock. Afterward, we chatted with the boys, who inconceivably thought their set wasn't all that! They could not have been so wrong, for if this was a bad Lo-Fi set, it'd be frightening to catch them at the peak of their power. Self-analyzing rockists! What do they know? Leave the criticizing to us, lads. After all, we do know best!

Koniption Fit were a nice, crunchy, punk-leaning band, but not punk-stoopid. 'Course, they played dirty pool by employing a couple of precocious, too-adorable toddlers, who wiggled about frantically onstage to the frantic onetwothreefawrhythms. How unpunk is that? It made their aggro riffs actually seem friendly and family-oriented, which we really don't think was their goal. Or maybe it was, indoctrinating impressionable youths into the punk-rock life. If so, it's all over for those kids: this year, training pants and preschool; next year, green hair, eyeliner, tattoos and kindergarten!

Snapdraggin were—how to put it? —awful. Well, their singer was a rock-star-in-his-dreams shrieker who left the stage to sing from the middle of the floor, apparently to accommodate the size of his humongous ego. The ego wore sunglasses, seemingly epoxied to its face (ummm . . . it really wasn't that bright in there), and its overly dramatic performance presence entailed lots of pained, hunched-over yelping into its mic. Snapdraggin's music, though, was more interesting, particularly the sinewy instrumental they did near the end (that is, without their singer to get in the way). Another of their final tunes was also pretty good, and they pushed it to a point when all of their energy and hard-rock 'tudeage seemed to really jell, projecting an aura that felt vastly more meaningful. There's hope here yet!

Senza Motiva made us feel better, a perfectly decent, uppity rock band whose regular drummer, we hear, spends time as a No Doubt sideman. There was a sub for him this eve, though, so they're evidently even better than what we caught. Though we were only able to catch about 10 minutes (since by this point the two stages had started overlapping), we really, really likey. More verbiage to come, we're sure.

Hot Sauce Johnson, who are on a major label —hey! How did they get in here?—did an astoundingly soulful hard-rock DJ thing that was so guh-roo-vay even the bowlers stopped what they were doing long enough to pay attention. To really confuse everybody, they intro'd with a recording of "Your Cheatin' Heart," the old Hank Williams tune, which at least was more creative than merely pandering to the "action sports" crowd. Can we get an "Amen!" for independent, unique, artistic expression? A-men!

World Tribe's first few notes sounded like more of the same ol' redundant aggro, but then their two-man horn section kicked in to quickly right things. Their juicy deal comprised hip-hop/ funk breaks meshed with a slab of '70s R&B grooves—envision an old Chili Peppers gig taking place in the Sanford & Son junkyard. They were a mighty blend of perky, percolating rhythms, a furious, good-time party band. But ick!—what about the banner behind them that read, "World Tribe, presented by Bud Light"? Now, we don't wanna have to go off into our usual art-vs.-commerce rant yet again, but we wondered: Was the band there to showcase their music or to move brew? Hey, World Tribe! You're a good band, but we hope you made lots of moolah for selling your souls!

Send CDs, tapes, show dates, love letters, incoherent ramblings, whatever, to Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.
 
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