By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
We love it when vast corporate conspiracies expose themselves before our jaded eyes. Like this one, which we uncovered Sunday at the House of Mouse:John Paul DeJoria, the Paul Mitchell, the hair-care-products entrepreneur, is plotting with Disney to turn the locks of every teenage male into a gloppy, spiky-tipped soup o' ugly!
We know this because DeJoria himself was seen skulking through the club's corridors, doubtless plotting his evil global 'do dominance. "Dude, that's Paul Mitchell!" his army of converts would blurt, as if they'd just seen their own personal Jesus. Perhaps this was why the room's usual "No stage diving" announcement met with surprisingly few catcalls—muss the coif, get whisked away to a hair crimes trial!
Naturally, all three bands had at least one member who was very, very into his precious pointy tresses. What they should be spending their 'do dough on, though, is some originality lessons because, tragically, all of them were of the heard-it-all-before variety. Take Audio Karate, who have an album coming out in May on Vandal Joe Escalante's Kung Fu label. They were poppy. They were vaguely melodic. The singer liked to say "fuck" a lot. They exuded the required level of youthful snottiness for snottiness' sake, which bundled them nicely into an easily marketed product. In short, they were just like every other pseudo-punk band stinking up KROQ—only twice as dull.
The next act, a five-boy band dubbed Finch, were just as wretched, what with the not exactly convincing anguished wanking of their lead singer, who posed and preened like a drama queen and had a shrieky voice that made him sound like his gonads had tumbled into a Cuisinart. Plus, their stylings were too schizoid: one second they wanted to be angry and hardcore, and the next they wanted to be pouty and passionate. Ultimately, what they really wanted was to hear the sounds of their own voices echoing through the room, and they couldn't stop themselves from indulging in an onslaught of unfunny jokes and dumbfuck antics (a belch into a microphone—golly, how punk!) that revealed them to be the type of oafs who probably failed recess and lunch period back in junior high. Finch is what happens when you have too many enabling friends and relatives telling you how great you are, when what you really need is someone to clue you in on the all-too-obvious.
Which brings us to the ultracheesy Rufio, a young band from Rancho Cucamonga about whom there's apparently a huge buzz right now, as they've been signed to the Dexter Holland-owned, HB-based label Nitro. They're also the chief reason this night was a sellout. So are the masses asses? We sure think so! Where should we start? How about when the bassist and guitarist began the set by running sprints around the stage and then whined about how out of breath they were? How about when they kept asking us if we were having fun? Are they that insecure about their ability to inspire natural pleasure? How about that vomitously clichéd heavy metal moment when the three guitarists performed slow, synchronized arm windmills? How about when the singer started making devil signs with his fingers? (We responded in kind with a finger gesture of our own.) How about the singer's extremely nasal voice and the band's utterly redundant emo-esque tuneage, which solidified our theory that in signing Rufio, Nitro is merely craving a New Found Glory of its very own? Ah, well—as business decisions go, if they're marketed right, Rufio could move at least as many "units" for Nitro as that AFI album did. So we'll stop being persnickety and let the kids have something to believe in. We just wanted something to heave in.