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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

Image Isn't Everything:
Those aren't the roadies; they're the Cardigans

NEVER RELY on expectations. I've been stoked on the Cardigans' Life CD for a long time now. Life is a crystalline-pop lover's dream with beautiful vocals from Nina Persson and lush, pink-parasol arrangements. When I heard that they were playing Bimbo's in San Francisco last Wednesday, I was ready for an evening of exquisite lounge pop--three-buttoned suits, faux fur, cigarette holders, bottles of Pernod, vibraphonists--in a chi-chi environment.

Not even close. I had no beef with the music, which was played close to perfect; it was the image. When two haggard-looking Swedes lumbered on stage, I mistook them for the roadies. It turned out they were guitarist Peter Svensson and bassist Magnus Sveningsson sporting scruffy seven o'clock shadows. Persson had a new Levi's denim skirt and black tank top. The effect was underwhelming. Oh well. The Cardigans toyed expertly with the music as well its image. Sveningsson eyed the room with guarded suspicion. Svensson jumped around as if he were Pete Townshend while summoning nothing close to a power chord--just jazzy, melodic solos, just plain odd.

The group opened with a slithery cocktail version of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man." The rest of the show was sprinkled with pop ditties like "Daddy's Car," "Hey! Get Out of My Way!" and "Sick and Tired" and closed with a playful roll through "Carnival" and "Rise and Shine." When prodded for an encore, Persson purred, "We don't know any more songs. So we're going to borrow one from our good friends Black Sabbath. It's a really serious song." The quintet dipped "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" in a luxurious bubble bath and gussied it up with scented baby powder--an exquisite finish after all.

This Just In

Lollapalooza 96 tickets go on sale this Sunday, June 30, at 10am. The show is at 2pm, Spartan Stadium, and features Metallica, Soundgarden, Devo, Ramones, Rancid, Shaolin Kung Fu of China, Screaming Trees, Psychotica. Soul Coughing, Sponge, Melvins, Satchel, Jonny Polonsky, and Fireside rock the second stage. At the new indie stage are Cows, Long Fin Killie, Thirty Ought Six, and Varnaline. Link up to the latest Lolla info (your computer better have some muscle).

Wreck the Shows

Two of my favorite live acts play the area this weekend. J Church returns to the Los Gatos Teen Center on Saturday (June 29) with the Mulligrubs and the Ronnie Bauer Experience. We tried so hard to get J Church to play our Rumble in the Ballroom show, you don't even know. The Teen Center had problems last time with unruly patrons who don't normally attend shows. If you see someone messing with something they shouldn't, ask them to stop (you gotta be pretty damn low to rough up local music supporter Raji Rai). We need this venue, and don't need boneheads ruining it for everyone else. ... On the other side of the pop spectrum, underground rappers Mystik Journeymen just got back from a low-budget tour of Korea and Japan, where they crashed on floors, crashed gigs, and recorded a CD's worth of new jams. Mystik's live show feeds on pure hysteria--a hyperactive blend of surreal beats, wordcraft and over-the-top craziness. In March, they threw one of the best hip-hop shows I've ever seen, flat out. This Sunday (June 30), at Cactus Club in San Jose, the Journeymen return with Worldwide Undaground, a loose collective comprised of Grouch, Mush and pierced Japanese emcee Arata. If the DAT machine doesn't act up, this show will be the bomb.

Death Siiiide!

You know that photo of convicted murderer Richard Allen Davis? He thought he was going to Death Row records, so he tried to be "down" with Dre and 2Pac by throwing up the West Coast "W." Not that Death Row, dumb-ass, the other death row.

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From the June 27-July 3, 1996 issue of Metro

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