The Road Warriors!

Crash Cart/Sparklejets UK

Chain Reaction

Saturday, Jan. 15

7:45-9 p.m. First stop: Chain Reaction, for the supremo power-pop of the fab four who make up Orange's Sparklejets UK. Though they rarely seem to play around here and their set was much too short, we sopped up what fine tuneage we could, like "10 Inches," a big, silly (if slightly evil) grin of a song that left us bouncing around incessantly. A new thing cheekily titled "They Shoot Square Dancers, Don't They?" ended in a glorious fury of near-metal. And "Oh Poor Me," their vengefully whiny dead-boyfriend fantasy, completely ripped. Another plus: they were blessed by club owner Tim, who came up to us and blurted, "That band is frickin' good!" (and if you don't trust us, kids, you can always trust the club owner). Seek out the Sparklejets wherever you can, for they're truly a supersecret treasure.

Crash Cart were also quite good, very (ugh!) "emo"-ish, we suppose—lots of rough-and-tumble pounding crossed with droning nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh riffs beneath enchanting, yelpy vox. During their less-stressed-out moments, they also scraped off some sad, alluring, pretty guitar parts that nearly gave us the sniffles.

Very nice, but we had records to break, so we bailed, missing both Smile and Filmore—but we're sure they were obscenely great.


The Hub Cafe

9:15-10:10 p.m. Up to the Hub in Fullerton, just in time to find that the dreamed-about double bill of Third Grade Teacher and the Fireants wasn't happening (Third Grade Teacher had to cancel due to various medical problems—and, no, that's not code for "rehab"). But they'll live to rock again next month (read on to find out when). Meanwhile, LA's Ferdinand played substituteteacher. We'd have liked them if only for their husky-boy lead singer's Split Lip Rayfield tee. He shrieked several pissed-off songs about being pissed-off, and they frequently came off like a crunchier Wilco, full of rip-snorting Telecaster fury, among other assorted whatnots. Especially loved their humpa-humpa cover of the old Sparks tune "Angst in My Pants."

Very nice, but we had records to break, so we bailed, missing both the Fireants and Relish—but we're sure they were obscenely great.

Mulch/The Fabulous Tuscaderos

The Gypsy Lounge

10:40-11:45 p.m. Half an hour later found us in Lake Forest at the Gypsy Lounge, which used to be the extremely divey Rockfield Tavern. We're happy to report that the room is now a much, much classier joint than it used to be, with paintings on the walls of seminekkid people, a new floor, a better-positioned stage, plush chairs and sofas, ruby-red drapery, leopard-print wall coverings (which, until we looked closer, we thought was some sort of funky fungus left over from the Rockfield era), and a friendly, dedicated owner named Mike who seems to have his shit solidly together. The Gypsy Lounge has just enough homey atmosphere to become a veritable Doll Hut South and at the very least is a sweet place for all you South County peeps to regularly see local bands without having to trudge a terribly long distance (not counting the Coach House, which is more famous-name-band-oriented). What's more, when the Fireants and Third Grade Teacher try once again to link up, it'll be here, on Feb. 19—a perfect chance for you to see what we're raving about.

The Fabulous Tuscaderos were indeed that, four ladies who blurted angrily but sweetly, throwing off very loud, very short songs delivered with a snotty punk 'tude, just the thing we needed to hear—music that, actually, we would've loved to have had blaring painfully away in our tape player whilst zipping between clubs during our marathon excursion this night.

Mulch, from Wrightwood (where the hell is Wrightwood???), were next, a fine, old-Replacements-style punky bar band, only vastly soberer-sounding and -acting. Plus, they did at least one good ol' cowpunk tune, which brought back memories of the Long Ryders.

Very nice, but we had records to break, so we bailed, missing Chicago's excellent Teenage Frames—but we're sure they were obscenely great.

The Goods

Club Mesa

12:05-till God-knows-when a.m. Success! A new Locals world record! We hereby declare ourselves to be the ultimate, most high-holy rockists evah! Yup, the Music Overlords were definitely on our side, as we oozed through the Club Mesa doors just as the Goods (which might've been the hugest Costa Mesa band ever had Tony Scalzo not bailed for Austin, Texas, all those years ago and got famous in Fastball) were reuniting all over the place, starting with their coulda-been-shoulda-been hit "Clock Keeps Ticking." Needless to say (though we'll say it anyway), it was a seriously white-hot set, figuratively and literally, since they played "Costa Mesa's Burning," about wanting to take a torch to the whole damn 'burb (not good, Goods—then we'd be out of a job). We basically surrendered our lives to their flat-out awesomeness as they blew out a load of other swell tunes, including Dodge Dartboy Nick Sjobeck's "Gonna Fuck You Up" (which had guitarist Nate Shaw doing full-on arm windmills and getting playfully huffy at some urchins in the crowd —"Don't say 'Free Bird,' motherfucker," Shaw threatened, "because I'll do it!"). Tony led the band into an older Fastball song, "Make Your Mama Proud" (surely you weren't expecting "The Way" or "Out of My Head," now, were you?), which pumped beautifully. Sjobeck's "So American," Shaw's rawer-than-all-hell "Action," and a mind-blowing stab at the MC5's "The American Ruse" (at least we're pretty sure that's what it was—we were feeling pretty spacy by this time) also floored us.

Afterward, we celebrated our remarkable, never-to-be-duplicated achievement with a furious round of Tron in the backroom, where we got high score! Woo-hoo!

Send CDs, tapes, show dates, love letters, hate mail (especially if you're a Save Ferris fan!), incoherent ramblings, whatever, to Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247


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