Diverse (Somewhat Strange) Young Bands Rock S. F. Club

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.