Whether you know it or not, Santa Cruz has a thriving DIY music scene. What does DIY mean? Oh lord. Well, it means do it yourself. Shows that are put on by people at places that are not typically “venues” in the sense of a place like the Catalyst. Without being patronizing or pedantic, I’m going to talk about music now.
I saw a wonderful, wonderful show at Caffe Pergolesi on Saturday night. Four local bands played that all do things a little differently and are all worth checking out.
Up first was Surplus Audio Supply, the project of Cole Willsea. Cole moves books around at the UCSC library when he’s not making destructive crazy noises with a bass and a whole lot of electronics. His show kind of becomes part of him as he takes off his glasses to play and then, with the music building and swelling through samples and loops, puts down his instrument and walks into the crowd to look at what he’s done, becoming completely separated from the art. It’s awesome.
Up next was Green Flash, a band so new they lack a MySpace or any form of web site. Isn’t that novel? Green Flash is two girls and one boy, Carly, Raya, and Peter, and they had my mind transfixed on them for the entire set. They play this sort of shoegazey pop that’s heavy without being angry, very bass driven and melodic, with sort of spacey, dreamy guitar riffs over pounding drums. I was nodding and tapping my feet the entire time, watching Raya sing and play bass and Peter destroy his drum kit. It was their second show, and first with a drummer. Didn’t look like it. Do not miss this band.
After Green Flash was Hermit Convention, who’s played on KZSC recently and always is a wonderful time to see live. Craig loops bass riffs over Pollard-ed out melodies that will never leave your head. Check out “Thank God We’re Not Them” and you’ll get it. Craig is a melody writer, first and foremost. He smiles a lot, too.
Last, but most certainly not least, was New Bengal Spice, the solo project of Peter Wallner from Sheena, a band that’s been doing it here for a long time. New Bengal Spice is incredible. Listen to “Arrow” on the link I provided and just take it in. Peter is a programming whiz with the machines he uses that surpass my knowledge, but deep down, this is organic music. There is a lot of guitar and a whole lot of melody. I hope some label picks up Wave Voltage and puts it out for the masses to see and hear. There is boundless talent there. I got Peter’s first New Bengal Spice tape from a bush next to Louden Nelson Park. I asked him for a tape and he gave me a clue on where to find it. The live re-working of “Time Travel Turbulence”, probably my favorite of his songs, was a joy. Listen with your ears wide open.
Check these bands out! Cole plays in numerous Santa Cruz bands. He’s got a show with Palm Yard on Friday at 515 Broadway (with Grand Lake and White Cloud), and on the 25th with Whysp, and the Finches and Little Wings. Those bands should need no introduction. Peter’s at the Crepe Place with Crystal Antlers on the 27th.
Thanks for reading! Charts later today.