ATN San Francisco correspondent Jennie Ruggles frequently
hits the local clubs in search of fresh talent. Here's her report: It would be
hard to find three more different bands taking the same stage, the same night,
as played the Bottom of the Hill this past Friday night (Jan. 5). Leave it to
one of our favorite club bookers, Ramona, who came up with the idea of having
Fish or Fry open for Three Day Stubble and Idiot Flesh.
10: 15 PM. Fish or
Fry take the stage and launch into an approximation of the Minutemen meet
Throwing Muses. In her splendorous green velvet jumpsuit, Liz O'Neill of the
golden throat and ability to make the bass sound like a percussive machine, has
a subdued presence next to bassist Tynan Northrop (yep, two bass players in the
band), formerly of Little My. O'Neill and Northrop have a rare vocal rapport.
They both sing lead and they have constructed each song for a very particular
kind of vocal interchange and harmony. Calling to mind the vocal style of
Laurie Anderson, Northrop speaks/chants the lyrics more than sing them the way
O'Neill does. But somehow they meld and this fluidity reverberates with
femininity. Tipping the gender scale is Josh Pollock the drummer ( who formerly
played guitar for San Francisco's Zircus. Fish or Fry is gestating in front of
our eyes. Playing in local clubs for the last ten months, they enter a new
stage of development with each gig. Gone are the Kiss and Black Sabbath covers,
replaced by original material. This shows a growing confidence and last night
was the strongest performance yet that I've seen.
11:30 PM (or so).
Self-titled nerd rock music, Three Day Stubble on the other hand, are mutated
creatures that have had the last fifteen years to perfect themselves as the
purveyors of non sequiturs and ridiculous performances. Donald the Nut takes
the stage wielding a didjeridu and a hairdo that put him closer to god than
anyone else in the room. Donald is an anomaly. Since 1980 he has been getting
into character. If at one time he was a normal guy, that has long since passed.
Once when the band was thrown in jail for arousing the suspicions of Detroit
cops, Donald the Nut told his cellmates they were "neat-o." On this night,
though, Stubble arouse only extreme affection from the San Francisco crowd. Mr.
Hungry on rhythm guitar (taking a break from his daytime i.d. as a techie at
Hot Wired) lets loose with something like Tuvan throat singing on a song
called "Aringa Ringa Ringa Ching Ching Ching." Brently Pusser ( an excellent
guitarist who looks like a normal guy when he plays with the SF Seals) was
joined by Sal Mussolini on bass (rumor goes that Mussolini played with The
Germs under a different name). During the last song, an ode to a fantasy about
human waste taking over the world called "Wafer of Darkness," a fan leans over
and says, "You know why Three Day Stubble is great? You can play their tape in
your car and drive all your normal friends crazy. That's why they're great."
1 AM (hey, who's keeping track of time).The crowd thins out considerably
after this set, and what was left were the Idiot Flesh fans in Kabuki style
face paint who looked like disciples of a cult. Idiot Flesh is a tribal gong
band a la Crash Worship and Shark Bait but they're more than that. Artist cum
musicians, the band have constructed inflatable appendages that puff up as they
play and their elaborate costuming appropriately upstages even their most
wacked out fan. They give what can only be described as a chewy performance,
thick with stimulus. The show is planned with a stern attention to detail and
it comes off as an hour of organized aural chaos. Idiot Flesh is a band to be
reckoned with--at least as an event.