High Ahhht

The Weave/Peace Corp./The Starvations
AAA Electra 99 Art Gallery
Friday, July 2

If you subscribe to the schools of Duchamp and Cage (which we do), then everythingyou see is art, and everythingyou hear is music. So maybe that was the thinking behind this bill, which took place in the courtyard outside the AAA Electra 99 Art Gallery in Newport Beach. No grandiose statements, no masturbatory indulgences, just three bands that played really good rock & roll. Oh, we got our art fix inside the tiny gallery, like the two-headed Jesus painting that gave some people a hissy fit when it appeared on the cover of the April issue of Skratch, the drawings of Mickey Mouse buggering a dollar-sign-clutching Minnie, and all the severed doll heads. Thosewere exciting.

But, as always, we came for the sounds, babe, not stuff you can hang on your wall. And we were pleasantly surprised to run into the (unannounced) Starvations, an anarchistic, superbly sloppy foursome who used to be quite the unrestrained bunch of punky thrashers when we were spinning their tapes two years ago. Since then, they've calmed down and organized a bit, and they've evolved into a diverse band who delve into more sumptuous, satisfying garage-rock noises (even a surf lick or three when they're moved) while retaining their fierce, joyfully crunchy, as-punk-as-our-attitude-lets-us-be street cred. Their play was fluid, their set felt adventurous, and their guitar guy creatively hammered away on an axe that might have been hideously out of tune. But it didn't really matter—it was allgood to us.

Peace Corp. shot off one of those blistering-set things, with all of their bits of juicy rock tuneage: "Jacqui-0," "Good Morning Senator," "Mosh Pit," "Talk Show" and "Valerie Vandal" (which, like Element 17's "Indifferent" from last week, is so good it oughta be on some paper's local band compilation CD, like maybe sandwiched between Oscar and Stranger Death 19. Hmmm again . . .), plus superfine covers both classic (Sabbath's "Paranoid") and cheesy (Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz"). Peace Corp. are really great; they're so cool they could even make a Goth grin. But shouldn't they have some new songs by now?

The Weave were a good band. They had awesome, tumbling, accelerating guitar riffs and quiet, nifty little gaps that they used to break up all the sonically induced tension. Then they'd slide into these crafty, ambitious instrumental jams that felt kinda like what you'd see if you hurled a painter's palette at a wall.

Yep, they were a good band—until their singer stepped up and cheekily announced: "That song's called 'I Hate Niggers,'" with a ha-ha smirk on his mug. Shocked silence in the crowd of 20 or so. And then someone yelled, "Asshole!" Then someone else yelled, "You got something against Jews, too?"

So, yeah, people were pissed, and rightly so. But we wondered: Since this was an art gallery and all, was singer boy trying to be performance arty by provoking the audience into a confrontation? By uttering that word, was he making some sort of freedom-of-speech statement on this Fourth of July weekend, challenging our belief systems as to what Independence Day truly means? No, we later found out. He was "just fucking around." Oh. Now we understand—he said it because he really was an asshole.

Just a thought about Sunday's This Ain't No Picnic fest at Irvine Lake (everybody was terrific except for that numbingly inane redneck-rock band UVBC, who looked and sounded like Hootenanny rejects): while we had a great time and now have several new favorite bands, and while our pal Viv even snagged Thurston Moore's used (and very thrashed) pick after the show, we couldn't help wondering how nice it would be if KROQ, one of the fest's main sponsors, would actually play some of these bands on the radio sometime, like Sleater-Kinney, Guided By Voices, Rocket From the Crypt, Apples in Stereo and Superchunk (the station only spins Sonic Youth, and rarely). That way, KROQ might actually becomerelevant, instead of merely appearingto be.

Send tapes, CDs, and tips on where we should go (besides hell) to Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.

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