Blood! Puke! Beer! It would be a riot in progress anywhere else, but at Huntington Beach's longtime bastion of punk-as-fuckness Vinyl Solution, it's just the semiannual "secret" midnight sale. For a few special nights each year, the rock & roll brokers at Vinyl take pity on OC's shuddering record addicts and keep the doors open until the last bony-fingered shopper finally staggers away. Everything is negotiable, from the buy-or-die classics to the search-and-destroy-for-the-good-of-all-mankind bombs (surely there are a few undead Herb Alpert LPs rotting at the bottom of a bin somewhere . . . ) to the missing-andpresumed-dead nuggets buried somewhere in the stacks. And even if this year's shindig wasn't quite as intense as in the past—the carpet actually escaped staining, and the wrestling in the aisles was over by 12:30 a.m., we're told—it was still as drool-worthy an opportunity as ever to dig up rare punk records at obscenely low prices ("Are you shaking?" asked our incredulous companion as we stared, slackjawed, at a wall of extinct-in-the-wild LPs and 7-inches. Um, no, of course not. It was, er . . . chilly in there). So with the Ramones roaring out of the in-store stereo, the county's hardest hardcore vinyl fetishists pored over bin after bloated bin in search of that One Big Score. Hours later, as the frigid wind swept in off the darkened IHOP parking lot and a few lonely stars winked overhead, customers were still tussling with countermen over exactly how much, say, a reissued Dils "I Hate the Rich" 45 was worth. We were the penultimate patrons, and as we scampered away with armfuls of practically purloined punk product sometime on the sleepy side of 2 a.m., we were wearily told, "If you see anyone else coming in, beat the shit out of them in the parking lot." In related news: the This Fuckin' City Is Run By Pigs Department reports that Huntington Beach authorities ordered the Vinylistas to peel decades' worth of fliers, stickers, posters and yellowing punk rock crust from their front windows, citing unlicensed operation of an eyesore or something. Way to go, code enforcement! That pink-stucco strip mall looks sooooo much classier now! (Chris Ziegler)
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¿DONDÉ ESTÁ EL ROCK EN ESPAÑOL?
Note to ex-councilman Ted "I Broke the Law to Fight the Homosexual Conspiracy" Moreno: Santa Ana will host its inaugural Battle of the Bands this Sunday as part of the city's annual Youth Expo. Missing from the usual teen-angst genres—alternative, punk, ska and '50s tribute bands—is any group that reflects the reality of the city's 80 percent Latino population. Out of the 10 bands that applied to enter the contest (five are slated to compete), there was nary a rock en español outfit. According to Dolores Ramos, management aid to Santa Ana's Parks, Recreation and Community Service Agency, this was not the fault of town fathers. "We plastered the city with fliers and ads and told city employees and youth who knew of a rock en español, cumbia or norteño band to encourage them to apply," Ramos says. She figures the reason for the Latino-free lineup is the criteria for eligibility: all band members had to be under 21 with a majority residing in Santa Ana. Think a viable arts scene would have encouraged the fostering of Latino music amongst the city's youth, Ted? (Gustavo Arellano)
Tijuana . . . the latest, hippest destination for raving? A massive March 3 party for the debut of Nortec Collective included seven TJ DJs who spun for a crowd of 2,000 ecstatic ravers in Tijuana's cavernous Jai Alai stadium. Nortec's DJs have performed at Tijuana raves since 1999, but the party for the release of their CD, Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 1, had the vibe of a winning World Cup championship match for this growing scene. This was a coming-out party of sorts, at which the world officially acknowledged Tijuana's native, home-grown sound, and—equally noteworthy—it had nothing to do with the town's powerful tourist industry. New York Times pop writer Neil Strauss was in the house scribbling copious notes, as was KCRW's influential morning DJ Nic Harcourt, who crossed the border to check out Tijuana's finest spinsters with a gaggle of other music critics from mags like CMJ. On display was Nortec's unlikely collage of Kraftwerk-inspired techno; clunky, tuba-driven banda music; and other Mexican folk sounds, as well as a genuinely happening scene bursting with artistic inspiration. But the biggest Nortec slam-dunk may have been in crafting a forward-looking soundtrack for this metropolis of more than 1 million people. Said music promoter Riqui Martinez de Castro, "We have an identity, and it's not velvet Elvis paintings or donkey shows." Revolutionary! (Andrew Asch)