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Faith, Rock and Charity

Cathy Bauer

Losing Their Cool: Back from a change of scenery in L.A., punk-noise-white-funk Crack prepares to rip it up at the Cactus Club for the third annual South First Street Music Experience.

So. First Music Experience showcases local music downtown

By Todd S. Inoue

I PLAYED a wicked April Fool's joke on the groups appearing at this year's South First Music Experience. On April 1, I emailed everyone who had Internet access (a lot, amazingly) that a special surprise guest had been added: Fugazi.

The fictional story went on to claim that Ian and the boys were recording in Berkeley with Kevin Army and mastering at Rocket Lab. Lots of people fell hard for the gag, including most of the indie-pop bands. Some even wanted to change their start time to see Fugazi. Ah, hope springs eternal.

SFMX--the South First Music Experience--is a simple idea. Clubs donate their facilities; bands supply the groove; Metro donates the publicity; and all the proceeds go to charity. For the $10 ticket, you get to enjoy some of the best South Bay bands at four South First Street clubs for one night. The cost is $5 for a single club.

Even without Fugazi, SFMX boasts a stellar collection of bands, 17 in all, the most yet in the three-year history of the event. Happily, such growth hints that the talent pool in San Jose is getting deeper and deeper.

The Cactus Club will entertain the 18-and-up crowd with a homecoming show for Crack, which hauled its equipment and neuroses to the less-hectic shores of L.A. at the beginning of this month. The band made the move because it wanted to perform more shows at all-ages venues, and it needed a change of scenery.

Crack's new CD, Losing One's Cool, is the finest piece of punk-noise-white-funk machinery ever to come out of San Jose. Songs like "Unagolfer," "Eyeliner Made Me" and "Rice Krispy Treats" sandblast the brain with sheer fury and Rusty Gantt's peppered throat. The bill is strengthened further by the presence of melodic punk-poppers Sloe, rap-rock upstarts Jalopy Taco Stand, ska traditionalists Monkey and Cupertino's youthful emo kings Concerning Eye.

The Usual will present a battle of the "thes": the Hi-Fives, the Odd Numbers, the Aquamen and the New Mosquitos. The swinging Hi-Fives will rush from a San Francisco gig with Reverend Horton Heat in order to make the midnight start time. The Odd Numbers are coming off a CD-release party to commemorate their new album, A Guide to Modern Living.

This show will mark the South Bay debut of the Aquamen, who sing about mixed drinks­like the Ventures fronted by Jon Spencer. The New Mosquitos are a local supergroup with Dave Miller and John Cummings of the Odd Numbers and guitarist Ronnie Bauer. Cummings, back from a yearlong leg injury, sounds great on drums, and Miller can actually sing!

At the Agenda Lounge, 10Bass T has been pumping up local hip-hop in San Jose like no other group in memory. The band recently finished off a successful month-long residency at the club that featured guest artists Kofy Brown, Will Power and Dave Ellis.

Further underground is Sacred Hoop, a Palo Alto mics-and-turn-tables crew with an astounding 12-inch single, "No Category." Watch the heads turn. San Francisco organic rap crew Rooster (featuring original Goats member James D'Angelo) should open some eyes and brains as well.

Kicking off the show will be a short set by San Jose State University and Santa Teresa High School success story Premiere. The group's video is all over Black Entertainment TV, it's been on Soul Train, its single "Something About You" is a catchy KMEL (106.1) staple, and the trio has toured nationally with Immature.

A special indie-pop arena has been erected at the B-Hive Kafe. Infinite Loop is a trio of KSCU DJs that kicks it lo-fi style. Pleasanton's Kirby Grips represents garage rock at its most raw and primeval. The Blue Eskimos stunned me at the Phoenix a couple of months back, embedding hints of Superchunk and Sebadoh deep within my skin. Headlining is Korea Girl, which may have released the best indie-pop album in the Bay Area of this or any year.

And, just added, local heroes Salmon will perform at Cactus. For the latest info: call 408/298-8000 x333.

SFMX starts at 8pm on Thursday (April 17) in downtown San Jose on South First Street at the Cactus Club, the Usual, the Agenda Lounge and the B-Hive. Tickets are $5 per club or $10 ($8 adv.) for all clubs. Advance tickets can be purchased at Streetlight Records. (408/298-8000, ext. 333)

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From the April 10-16, 1997 issue of Metro

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