Benefit for Billy

When we get dicked around by our unreliable medical community, it's usually just an annoying inconvenience. For Billy Carter, though, it's literally a matter of life or death. Carter has Lyme disease, and because it went undetected (and then misdiagnosed) for several years, he's exhausted his savings while suffering some serious physical and emotional pain. The good news is that Carter–a photographer, triathlete and all-around good guy–now has hope: he discovered an alternative-treatment center online in Italy that uses an experimental approach called intra-cellular hyperthermia, which basically kills the cancerous Lyme bacteria with heat. It's expensive (no surprise there–about $20,000 for transportation and treatment), but Carter's friends have come to his rescue by organizing a benefit concert. Set for Saturday night at Costa Mesa's Bamboo Terrace, the indie-music fest will feature the alt-country/roots of Cowboy Buddha's Fletcher Harrington; garage-y buzz band Venus Jones; Mike Simmons of Sparklejets UK; power-popping Kenny Howes and others. For those with big hearts who can't make the gig, you can send a suggested donation of $10 (checks made payable to Billy Carter, please) to Steve and Shona Greco, 28262 La Falda, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677. (John Roos)

The Sugar Ray Watch, Part I

From Seattle's alt-weekly The Stranger comes this recent sighting: "Speaking of dreams . . . I dreamed that spiky Mark McGrath (you know, Sugar Ray) was buying a pair of ass-framing 501s at the downtown Levi's store (you know, the downtown Levi's store) and that Sugar Ray's drummer (you know, drums?) was there too, and he was, like, all jealous and junk because Mark's nicely framed ass was getting all the attention, so the poor darling wandered around telling people, 'Hey! I'm in Mark's band, too,' just to, you know, milk props. No. Wait! That really happened! How embarrassing for everyone involved." (Rich Kane)

The Sugar Ray Watch, Part II

LowBallAssChatter somehow managed to finagle an invite to the grand opening of the gaudy new Fox Sports Grill last Thursday at the Irvine Spectrum, and ain't we glad we went! The red carpet! The fabulous celebs (like Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman–both Fox employees, natch)! The promised celebs who didn't show, like Mary-Kate and Ashley (no last names necessary) and David Eckstein (if someone had done simple research, they would've found out he had a game this night)! The free crab claws and sliced turkey and booze and chicken and Pop Rocks! And the set by Sugar Ray, who were flown in from Nashville just for this shindig. We hadn't seen Mark McGrath and his backup band in a couple of years, so we were curious to see if they were still wretched, and, ever the crowd-pleasers, they didn't disappoint us. This wasn't exactly their usual audience of slutty teenage girls and AA-bound frat boys, though, and there were other critics in the room besides us. (Overheard: "Their new album is pfffhhht! It sounds like they didn't put any effort into it." We believe it.) The awfulness of their set, though, surpassed even our expectations. McGrath is now such a diva that the band plays a few bars first before he comes bounding out of the shadows to croon the opening number, in this case the atrocious, embarrassing, quickly-dropping-from-radio-playlists new single "Mr. Bartender." McGrath went on to deliver a plea for everyone to wave their hands in the air (maybe 10 people did, in a room that was packed); walked a lap on top of the huge, football-shaped bar during "When It's Over" (so he could ogle down women's dresses, we guess); tried to get everyone to dance like him (nobody was having it, out of fear of looking equally dorky); and, as always, would not shut the fuck up–in an hourlong set, at least 25 to 35 percent of it was wasted on McGrath's random ramblings. We wish, in a repeat of the performance where McGrath bragged about finger-banging Madonna, we could report about the point during this show where he stuck his digit out and bleated "Hey, wanna smell Bill O'Reilly?" in an attempt to endear him to his Fox hosts, but sadly, nothing of the sort happened. McGrath did yank a little dude out of the crowd and brought him up onstage, where, apparently doing his best McGrath tribute, the kid mumbled something incoherent, flipped the room off, and left. Then the band went into a "Blitzkrieg Bop" cover, a moment we were glad Joey and Dee Dee didn't live long enough for. But the absolute low point was when McGrath tried getting political–did you know that, according to McGrath, American soldiers are off fighting in the Middle East so we can enjoy the freedom over here to do things like open up Fox Sports Grills? He then dedicated "Fly" to the troops, told everyone to "Drink up! Be safe!" and left the stage with the band. Till next time! (RK)


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