Horrible/Adorable, Suzie True and Chelsea Jones at Subrosa

Merch Table at Subrosa

Merch Table at Subrosa

Tonight (Jan. 25, 2019) I am going to anarchist collective Subrosa in Santa Cruz to see Horrible/Adorable and some other bands. Kind of an early show on a Friday night. I park in our “secret” lot off Chestnut street. It is maybe a half mile from Subrosa, but I think a little walk would be good for me before the show. I have a couple of puffs of ganja after I’m safely parked.

As I walk to the venue thoughts are racing through my brain. Weed has a way of doing that to me. I have mixed feelings about going to shows alone – especially tiny venues where I can’t really blend into the crowd. Then I think about how nobody really knows what they’re doing, and we’re all in this together, and who really gives a fuck.

Subrosa is further away than I think. I keep thinking it’s going to be the next street, and finally I have to open up Google maps like a dork to find the place which I have probably walked past 100 times. But there it is at last. I later learned that this little bunch of organizations are collectively part of something called The Hub or Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Living. It is a non-profit that includes a bike church and some other good things and, obviously, Subrosa.

There is a kind of outdoor sitting area, a festive merch table, and a woman at a table who is taking donations. I pay my $7 suggested donation and gathered a little intelligence. I learned that I missed the first band, Art Sick, a late addition to the bill. There were still 3 bands to come and I definitely did not miss Horrible/Adorable.

Eventually I hear the sound of amplified music coming from inside the venue, so it’s time to go in. Subrosa is not much bigger than my living room, and my living room is not that big. Behind the stage is a sign proclaiming “Anarchist Library” and it is indeed full of books. There is another display off to the side with 100s of zines. I will say I really like this place, and its earnestness.

Anyway, the first performer turns out to be none other than donation-taking girl who turns out to be Chelsea Jones. Just Chelsea on vocals and playing her electric guitar. She is loud, raw and quite compelling. Musically it borders on the primitive, but she’s honest and emotional, and not afraid to take chances musically and vocally. It was a very promising opening act.

Next up is Suzie True from Los Angeles. They are a 3-piece power trio and they came to rock and possibly break your heart. They had a pure, stripped-down sound, with good hooks, and well constructed songs that kept my interest for the duration. I would see them again in a heartbeat, and was bummed they had no tapes or cds.

Horrible/Adorable was down from Oakland, California, and this was their first time performing in Santa Cruz. I had seen them open for Ian Sweet back in 2017, and honestly they were my favorite part of that show. H/A are irreverant, light-hearted, but also totally rocking. And they did not disappoint tonight.

They opened up with Hail Sk8tn’, a tongue in cheek anthem to being a bad girl:

Give me one good reason, why I shouldn’t be a heathen?
I tried to be like you, I did all I could to
You got your God I got my skateboard and my guitar
You’re having kids I’m having whisky at the bar
Call me immature, I guess I’m going to hell, but who fucking cares?

Next song is DMV Dream, also off the Lookin’ Healthy EP. It explores the perils of meeting a cute 16-year old boy in line at the DMV. After the song ended, drummer Candice announced “and she can drive a stick now!” Another highlight was a rousing cover of Fuck and Run off of Liz Phair’s iconic Exile in Guyville album.

The duo has a new EP titled Caprice, and they played at least 3 of the songs, including the title track as well as Penpal and Butthurt. Impossible not to have a smile on your face watching these girls. After the set ended, I waited around for Kristin to wander out to the merch table. I picked up the new EP, and expressed my joy at being able to see their first Santa Cruz show.

Suzie True at Subrosa

Suzie True at Subrosa

Suzie True at Subrosa

Suzie True at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Horrible/Adorabe at Subrosa

Zines on Display at Subrosa

Zines on Display at Subrosa

Posted in Concert Review | Leave a comment

Skating Polly and Potty Mouth the Crêpe Place 06-Dec-2018

This gallery contains 5 photos.

I got to the Crêpe Place in time to have a spinach crepe. I have commented on the food previously. While on the whole I like the atmosphere, and the service, I find the crepes to be pretty basic, but … Continue reading

More Galleries | Leave a comment

Cat Power at the Fox Theater – November 20, 2018

Cat Power at the Fox Theater

Cat Power at the Fox Theater

This is my review of Cat Power at the Fox Theater in Oakland. The date of the show was November 20, 2018. My cousin Terry joined me this evening.

The support act was Arsun. About halfway through the set, the singer spelled it out for us “A-R-S-U-N.” Terry commented to me, maybe when you pick your band name, go for something that you don’t have to spell, LOL. Anyway, enough with the snark. Arsun were a 3-piece band from NYC. Lead singer was vaguely Tom Petty looking dude with long dirty blond hair and a slightly haunted expression. The bassist and lead guitar player had short dark hair. Lead guitar player was quite tall and handsome. They had a good sound, and I thought the vocalist had a good voice, and put some emotion into his singing. Ultimately Terry and I both felt that their song-writing did not live up to their promise. The songs were slow, and kind of dark, with lots of references to drug use, failed romances and the like. But I felt there were a lot of obvious and slightly cringeworthy lines/rhymes, and they often fell back on the device of repeating a line over and over again with increasing fervor. But they were sincere, and the audience gave them a warm reception.

Terry and I talked for about 30 minutes while we waited for Cat Power to come on. We had ideal viewing spots at the rail nearest to the stage. So we were slightly elevated and had a clear view, while still being quite close. I studied the great gilt god figures that loomed on either side of the stage. I imagined a fantasy movie scenario in which the two statues somehow became animated and broke free from their frozen state. The audience would run screaming as they lumbered about, picking up humans like toys and crushing them …

The band took the stage, lights came down, and Chan appeared. She wore a long black velvet sort of tunic. This was my second Cat Power show, the first being a solo date at the Rio Theater in Santa Cruz about a year and a half ago. This was definitely another side of Cat Power from the Rio show. At the Rio Chan performed solo, accompanying herself on piano or guitar, and the songs were dark, moody, and slow as valium. Tonight we had Chan fronting a band (drums, guitar, bass/keys) and the feel was more upbeat and rocked out. She held a stick of incense which could be seen glowing as she moved her hands. I was really in love with how she moved. It was a strange tension between graceful and awkward. But mostly graceful.

I forgot my notebook, and honestly it was freeing just to enjoy the concert, and not try to write down key points. She opened with something from Moon Pix that I recognized, which was bonus. I recognized a couple songs from Moon Pix and Sun, which are the two I know pretty well, and then several from the new album The Wanderer which I have had for a couple weeks and am liking a lot. A high point was Cross Bones Style from Moon Pix.

The band was killer, very tight yet supple musically. Overall the show was surprisingly rocking. A lot of the numbers were really pumped up compared to the studio versions, but in a very satisfying way. Marshall used the whole stage as she performed, swaying her hips and moving her arms expressively – Earth Mother, I thought. And of course Chan’s voice, smoky, expressive with a quality that cuts to the bone, is what stayed with me most. Folks, if you get a chance to see Cat Power, don’t pass it up. For my money, this was definitely one of the most memorable shows of 2018.

Posted in Concert Review | Leave a comment