Evaluating The SF Bay Area Music Scene
By: Jeff Zima
The Bay Area has always been a good source for new music and new attitudes. My purpose for writing about live shows in and near San Francisco is to represent the music scene in my geographical area for a few reasons; namely, the musical styles are typically diverse and the showbills generally take advantage of this (of course this is not exclusive to the Bay Area), bands that up-root from specific geographical areas often reflect their immediate culture (not everyone lives here do they?), and live music is a regular thing, a tradition, which isn't the case in most of America (especially once exiting the metropolitan areas); therefore most (especially our youth) rely on radio for musical influence. Let's face it radio is selective. Each show is rated on a five star basis.
Lucy's Crush ***/ Cylinder 6 *****
Club Kaos, Fremont, CA July 11, 1997
Lucy's Crush, a three piece unit from SF opened the show with familiar sounds of popular punk. The band was tight and appear to be influenced by the Ramones and Nirvana. Their set was well done and I personally found their style to be mainstream but enjoyed the show regardless. A good bunch of guys whose guitar player, Jonny, and producer of their cd, "Spine" [Individually Twisted Recordings] recently had two screws put into his hand. Did this affect his playing? No. My favorite tunes these guys played were "Burn Me" "Bastards" "House of Wheels" and "Jane's Feet." The latter is the only track that can be found on the cd. They have a web site: www.lucyscrush.com ...
I don't like to categorize music (haha - even though i do), BUT, I'll define Cylinder 6 as "psycho-death-funk-soul-groove." I mean these guys have got everything from powerhouse energy to brilliant sampling. A real show. The energy and audience response was worth a thousand words. The music was as eclectic and artistic as all get-up, these guys robbed the show with nothing short of genius. Though no cd yet, this band from Placerville (a nice drive from Fremont I can assure you) whose influence must be vast, are heading for the big time. I'll throw them up there with Mr. Bungle (my favorite band). The singer admits Mike Patton (Mr. Bungle, Faith No More, Mike Patton) is a personal inspiration. They covered Michael Jackson's "Beat It"!! Sampling included lines from the movie "Pulp Fiction" among other hilarious stuff including "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." I put myself on their mailing list and will keep you up-dated when I can.
Fairway ****/ Insecto *****
Lindee's, Concord, CA August 01, 1997
Fairway. I know these guys, their bass player Tim is like family. This has ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT ON MY REVIEW OF THEIR SHOW, IF THEY SUCKED I WOULDN'T WRITE THE REVIEW. They're from Castro Valley and have a following here. Their music is typical of radio play (not a bad thing at all for like 95% of listeners, and they even passed my brutal scrutiny when they played). The rythym guitarist, Mark, writes all of the songs and produced their self-titled cd "Fairway" [Super Sprout Publishing] (510) 247 - 8421. Here's another band that can move an audience!! Maybe I'm wrong, maybe Rock 'n' Roll isn't dead.... My favorite song they do is "Crushed" (which, hey it's genius) but "Lime Life" has a killer verse melody that is reminiscent of Ace Frehley's solo effort while in Kiss. To be honest their live show was really good and they've earned their stars. Other good songs include "Problem" and "Ode" which is a fractured copy of Madonna's "Like A Virgin"!!! No Shit!!! They need a drummer due to personal differences so give them a call if you want to try out for the gig!!! They'll be on the radio soon, bet on it.
Insecto has a killer sound and in their show they feature women dancers (great entertainment...). One of the women swallows fire and rubs it all over her body (UM!!) while in skimp!! Their music was tight-groove with funny lyrics: "hippie girl" (not on their cd - reason I picked it up) and some S&M tune for their sadistical dancer called "Bondage Girl". Unfortunately these guys put on a better show than is represented on their cd which is entitled, "Bad Art" [ISIT Music]. Their web site: www.insectomundo.com ... If this band plays in your area (they have the means) and you don't go see them, you just missed your birthday!!! I mean, I've seen a lot of interesting shit on stage, but UM!!
John Zorn - Mike Patton - Ikue Mori *****
Slim's, San Francisco, CA August 12, 1997
The Best. Ladies and Gentleman, simply the best show ever!! The sounds this trio put out supercede that of Pink Floyd. Dare I say? Hell Yes!! My eyes were closed most of the time as I fancied imagination beyond anything I've ever experienced in the absence of psychedelic mood. They are experimental with a capital "E". They're music is thematic and took the audience everywhere from the forest to the sea to the moon and beyond... Remember those weird sounds in old Japanese and American Flying Saucer movies? At one point I swore a craft was landing right there at the club, I mean the entire place shook as helicopter-sounding bass noise filled the club backed by sci-fi high-pitched hymn.... Zorn gave us a couple of amazing solos on his sax, and he and Patton went back and forth with stunning and obviously very intense and difficult voice/throat sounds (Patton is on to something here and I think he does it best, though he too has influences, namely Yamatsuka Eye from Japan). Which by the way is where Mori (a woman of eloquence) is from. Now she was controlling a lot of the sound and played a big part, but call me dumb, I haven't a clue as to what machines she used - Patton too for that matter. This show was awesome and I couldn't give it a higher recommendation - trouble is, they typically only play in SF, NY, and I think sometimes LA, as well as Japan. How long Patton and Zorn have been fooling around with Mori is something I don't know, but as they broke from their first set, I yelled out, "put that shit out on cd!!!" And I saw a wry smile from the corner of Patton's mouth as he exited stage left.... The three of them knew they had something. The place was packed (Slim's is a big club) and the crowd loved it. Imagination music. Amazing Imagination Music. The Best.