Shopping Mall Rock!

Photo by Gustavo Arellano CRUSH REALITY/PSEUDOCIPHER
SING SING, IRVINE
and
LONG BEACH SHORT BUS/THE STARVATIONS
CRAZY HORSE STEAKHOUSE & SALOON, IRVINE
SUNDAY, JULY 21
Sing Sing, usually the haunt of schmaltzy piano bar crooners, was deader than dead—partially because the bro-and-ho hoedown with Long Beach Short Bus was going off at roughly the same time several storefronts down at the Crazy Horse, normally OC's Shitkicker Central. Just as well because Pseudocipher—who apparently still think the mascara-smeared Goth turd is still a polishable one—were terribly unimpressive, with their drummer pounding out beats so bland they might as well have been coming from a machine. And why did several of their tunes sound to us like darker, dated knock-offs of "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)," that old 1988 number from two-hit-wonder band Information Society? A big yawn, but they seemed mostly interested in fashion, anyway—the black ensembles, the leather/pleather pants, the knee-high boots and fishnet stockings that looked drawn on with a Sharpie, that sorta thing. Our feelings about their insignificance were confirmed on the drive home when the sweet parody "Gothic Chicks" by the Broken Bottles came on FM 94.3's Go Loco show, which at that moment sounded like the greatest song we'd ever heard in our lives.

Better were Crush Reality, who were all about fuzzed-up guitars; swirly soundscapes that evoked warm memories of old Killingtons tunes; honest, discernable melodies; and lyrics that didn't make us feel like we should go out and kill ourselves. Their singer, though, should try to drop the Morrisseyisms in his voice or at least make more of an effort to sound less like a moaning, constipated toad. He was also fond of telling long-winded tales of buddies getting run over by cars and hanging on walls while his pants are falling down. Tip: the "shaddup and play!" rule certainly applies here, particularly when the number of people onstage threatens to outnumber the people who paid to get in.

And that was it for Sing Sing, so we adjourned to the Crazy Horse to find the stage occupied by one of our six or seven most favorite punk bands around, the Starvations. The onetime-Laguna-Beach-based band are also heavily into gloom and grief, but unlike Pseudocipher, they just do it much more enjoyably—really, how dour can you be when you've got an accordion player in the band? Alas, once Long Beach Short Bus came out, well, everything turned into a brainless LBC orgy—which we see on a daily basis where we live—so we bailed. Look, we like Long Beach, too—we just don't want to tattoo it across our tummies. (Rich Kane)

HIP HOP 4 JUSTICE WITH SCOTT KELTIC KNOT/JUPITERSCIPLES
LONG BEACH INFOSHOP, LONG BEACH
SATURDAY, JULY 20
Saturday's Hip Hop 4 Justice show at the Long Beach Infoshop opened with an appropriate introduction: "We live in fucked-up times. It's time to take a stand against police brutality." Fucked-up times, indeed. The last time there was a concert at the tiny storefront, Long Beach's finest raided the place under the auspices of a resident's noise complaint—never mind that the closest apartments are across noisy Redondo Avenue some 500 feet away ("A Clean, Well-Lighted Raid," June 21, 2002).

The first "real" artist (for you sonic snobs who don't consider DJs artists) was Yorba Linda spoken-word guru Scott Keltic Knot. He never diverged from his usual screeds-over-spartan beats, but that's a good thing—this area sorely needs his attacks on rampant development, the INS and corporate corruption.

Following were Asian hip-hop exemplars JupiterSciples. The trio tried to compensate for persistent sound problems by passing the one good mic between them while the other members rapped sans amplification. Backed by a sumptuous drum-and-bass kit, the JupiterSciples had the place ready to hurl Molotov cocktails. The boys spun out their lyrics with such vengeance it was difficult to understand exactly what they were saying, though they slowed down a bit to deliver hilarious mock-congratulations to the American public for their complacency in this time of diminishing civil liberties. By this time, we were waiting outside for eight cops to march inside single-file like last time and stop another peaceful concert—but thankfully, no raid happened, although the police did circle the place about 90 times. (Gustavo Arellano)

 
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