Workers of the Club World, Unite!

Sense Field/Gameface/Teen Heroes/Ludlow/Story of Susanna
Chain Reaction
Thursday, Feb. 18

Awww, yeahhh, baybeh! chain Reaction was packed-packed!-on this weekday eve, which pretty much confirmed our vibe that no one out there (well, no one who matters, anyway) has classes or jobs they care about waking up early for. Our kind of people!

And what better place to withdraw from reality's horrific, bony claws than Chain Reaction, the center of OC's indie-rock universe? This night, there were even a few fabulous celebrities in the house-look! There's Paul Frank! And Dennis from Koo's Art Cafe! And that guy from Big Saver whose name we can never remember! It was about as close to Grammy night as we ever wanna get.

We had just missed Story of Susanna, which was no great loss because they didn't impress us much when we caught 'em several months ago. But LA-based Ludlow were hard, loud and scrumptiously poppy. We fell madly in like with them right away. By their third or fourth tune, they were picking out sad little em-no! Must . . . resist . . . using . . . that word!-um, heartfelt guitar noises. Yeah. That's it!

Teen Heroes are almost always great, a luscious, lovely band anointed with a rambunctious, Weezer-esque sound that made our man parts inflate to immense, gargantuan proportions. They came out tossing candy all over the place to the strains of “I Can't,” which seemed kinda fun at the time but was probably a real pain to clean up after everyone went home (we're always considerate of blue-collar laborers-workers of the club world, unite!). We wrote about 'em last year and raved, but we don't recall singer Jesse Wilder's wonderfully frightening retro-fashion sense. Who else would so willingly be caught wearing a Rick Springfield T-shirt? Bet he doesn't wear it to the mall. Teen Heroes are the shit, and they seem to be on the rock-star fast track. This spring, they're going to tour with Eve 6, a crap band so foul, wretched and grotesque they just can't kill themselves soon enough for us. In a just world (which we don't live in), Eve 6 would be opening for Teen Heroes. But as typically wonderful as Teen Heroes' set was, we heard some picky peeps complaining about how it wasn't up to their usually peppy bad selves. Hush, we say! With so much refuse polluting OC club ears, you have nothing to moan about-except maybe that Teen Heroes are gonna be on the road far, far away from us for a while.

Gameface-who've been around, oh, forever-spewed lots of swelling, churning, chortling guitar acrobatics and big, cleansing power chords. We liked them a lot and probably would have liked them more had we not been forced to spend a couple of their songs camped out in the men's room, wondering if maybe that soft, fleshy piece of gristle we bit into during our Chinese dinner earlier in the evening was once attached to the hand of the most hated man in Little Saigon, businessman Truong Van Tran. Once we steadied ourselves, we were happy to see Gameface still onstage, throwing down more punky backbeats and insatiable, sweaty sounds to help us quickly recover. After a spell, though, a lot of their stuff seemed to bleed together. They sped up, they slowed down, and then they did it all over again on their next tune. But it probably just seemed that way, and we could be wrong.

Sense Field had lots of that “stage presence” thing going: their singer erotically wrung his mic like he was gratifying himself. They did some songs from their new album, which comes out in June. “Emergency Exit” sounded very radio-friendly, with a mildly intriguing horse-whinnying guitar hook, and a too-catchy ascending chorus that yelped “marketing potential.” They were okay but a bit overwrought with tunes about love and heartbreak and such. Still, we could see ourselves getting really into them someday (we said, casually dropping hints for their label to send us some free swag), but they could certainly use a few faster songs and less of that large, airy approach. One more thing: Was that strobe light absolutely necessary?

Send tapes, CDs, and comp tickets that we'll just scalp anyway to Locals Only,OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.

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