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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania • Page 90
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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania • Page 90

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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REVOLUTIONS RECORDINGS Esyay on the 'Ixnay' Duck hunting Local label takes over the Graffiti Rock Challenge Graffiti Rock Challenge. THE OFFSPRING IXNAY ON THE H0MBRE (COLUMBIA) OK, I admit it. I wanted to worship this record the first time I heard they were calling it "Ixnay on the Hombre. And yet, after driving around with the tape in my car for a week, I was starting to think it would never live up to the title. The opening cut, a disclaimer with spoken-word vocals by Jello Biafra, was actually kind of annoying. And too many other songs blended together. I did get a pretty good kick out of "Intermission." This guy with a deep, soothing voice like Hugh Beaumont says "Welcome to intermission" as horns kick into a cha-cha. It's funny, but still no incentive to actually pick up the record. So then I sit do wn with the lyrics and suddenly tracks that at first seemed like throwaways jump off the record. "The Meaning of Life," with its sing-along chorus of "Open wide and they'll shove in their meaning of life," could be the chewiest anti-authoritarian bubblegum treat since Twisted Sister insisted they weren't gonna take it, metal guitar riffs slashing away to a hopped-up punk-rock beat. On "Mota," an equally metal-fueled punk-rock speed trial, vocalist Dexter Holland takes on the role of a hapless stoner, watching "Three's Company" reruns and laughing his weeded-out head off. The details are perfect hilarious, stinging and right on target. Whether or not you agree with the antidrug message, you'll probably find yourself laughing at "I don't know if I'm understood, but hearing Jimmy Buffett never sounded so good." The kids get an equally sarcastic swipe at the culture of hate on "Cool to Hate." And the Offspring return to the anti-authoritarian theme on the chant-. along single, "All I Want." It's already a well-deserved hit, but the single to beat here is "Way Down The Line," a song that recycles the riffs to "You Really Got Me" and "D'yer Maker" to wash down a bubblegum chorus that tells us we'll all make the same mistakes our ancestors did. Bleak? Futility hasn't sounded so good in years. (Ed Masley) SILVERCHAIR FREAK SHOW (EPIC) The members of silverchair are likely contenders to become Bush's best friends; Because with "Freak Show" all accusations of robbing Nirvana's grave are sure to be hurled at this trio of Aussie teen-agers. Not that "Frogstomp" with that stupid song about the "fat boy" didn't have Kurt Cobain's stamp all over it. But it's prime time for silver-chair to figure out something else to do. One nice twist is that on "The Door" they choose to borrow from Stone Temple Pilots, which makes it Nirvana twice removed. And give them credit for the ballads, like "Cemetery," which tosses in some dreamy symphonies. But then there's the lyrics sheet, which is to be approached at your own risk. Mostly, they read like the mawkish poetics of a disenfranchised teen-' ager passing a note in trig class: "You betrayed all the trust I gave you Now I need therapy to hate a little more." If alternative rock is truly on life-support as MTV and Rolling Stone suggest blame it on "Freak Show." (Scott Mervis) Bitter Delores will take another stab at toe By Scott Mervis Weekend Editor, Post-Gazette The official Mercury Records bio on Rusted Root lists them as forming at a local battle of the bands. We all know it to be the Graffiti Rock Challenge, where in 1990 they played their first gig, as a quartet, and advanced to the finals only to lose to Youngstown's Illu-minatus. A year later, Root lost to Shiloh, a band fronted by Bill Deasy, who would go on to sign with Atlantic as the Gathering Field. Not every band that comes out of the Rock Challenge is going to sign to a major label in fact, only two of the eight winners (Brownie Mary and the Vibro Kings) are still around but the Challenge has been a great way for new bands to get their first blast of recognition. That's why one of last year's finalists, Push, is back in the Challenge, which starts tonight. "A lot of people find out who you are, a lot of club owners," says bassist Michael Marks, who was also in former winner Brownie Mary. "If you have Rock Challenge Winner on your bio, club owners are more likely to book you." Another repeat from last year is Bitter Delores, which didn't make it to the finals, but doesn't seem to have much trouble getting gigs. "Basically, you get the exposure of other people's audiences," says Bitter Delores guitarist Buzz Cer-minaro. "It causes a little bit of tension between the bands, which is a bad thing, but for the most part, it's a positive experience." This year, the Challenge is under new management. With Dana Resciniti's move to Seattle, Next Big Thing Productions has pulled out as the presenter, and taking over is Blue Duck Records, which happens to be the local label that first signed Rusted Root. Graffiti and Blue Duck started with 212 entries this year, and had the headache-inducing task of tossing aside 196 of thera The were, labeled wiUvhuhlber rather than names, and Bree Freeman, head Duck, says the results were full of surprises. "I was surprised by the number of bands whose names I know that didn't make it in. There were a lot of quality acts with names that everyone would know. I think a lot had to do with the fact that their tapes weren't up to par." Unlike some of the other local contests, one staple of the Rock Challenge is oddball variety. "You have Stone Soup," Freeman says, "which is kind of folky; the Groove Junkies, which is kind of blues; Mad About Madeline, which is like the Cocteau Twins meets Lush; and then Done Deal, which is hard-driving, shot-and-beer rock. So there a lot of Cerminaro, of Bitter Delores, thinks the variety can make it tricky for the judges. "I'd like to see them putting bands that are similar together on the same night," he says, "because I don't see how you can compare between two different groups. Like we were up against Barbara Blue once. Now, Stone Soup is playing our night, and once again, they're totally different than we are." One change the Challenge made is meant to ensure that the winner actually takes timely advantage of its prize, something that hasn't always happened in the past. Blue Duck has set deadlines for the 60 hours of recording time and production of 1,000 CDs. "I don't know if it's been procrastination or fear on the performers' part," says Graffiti owner Tony DeNardo, "but we want them to bring the prize out on time, even if they don't have the ideal 10 tunes." The lineup goes like this: Tonight: Crisis Car, Done Deal, Driver Six, Her Eleven Cats. Feb. 14: Gram Vogei, Manifold Splendour, The Rabbits, Vivid Grey. Feb. 21: Elektra Loves Daddy, Mad About Madeline, ON, Push. Feb. 28: Bitter Delores, Groove Junkies, Something Agnes, Stone VtV'Mareh Finals." The doors open at 8 p.m. and the Challenge starts promptly at 9. Tickets are $6. On a slightly bigger scale, Three Rivers Stadium is holding a May date for U2, who have taken their good old time in recording "Pop," the followup to "Achtung Baby." The band hasn't been here since August of '92, when they brought their Zoo TVs and flashy suits to Three Rivers. They plan to announce their tour sometime later this month. Look for "Pop" on the record racks March 4. More definite is an April 9 show with Bush at the Civic Arena. Details on ticket sales will be released within a few weeks. Fans of No Depression the alternative country fanzine might be feeling a little depressed. Beloved cover boys Wilco were tentatively booked for Graffiti later this month, but the date fell through due to a curious routing problem they're coming as close as Cleveland, Feb. 22, and they're off the next night, before heading to Toledo on Feb. 24. Local rockers Seventh House hope to fill the house at Metropol tonight. Already, 800 tickets have been sold for the 7 p.m. all-ages show with Big Bean Theory, according to frontman Sky. The reason for the push is that the band expects reps from Epic and RCA to scout out the show, like they did at a Coney Island event on Jan. 20. "The dude who signed Dave Matthews from RCA," Sky says, "came up and shook our hand and said, 'I loved it. I want to come to Speaking of Dave Matthews, he played a well-received acoustic show with Tim Reynolds in Indiana, last month, but also didn't come here. The good news, though, is that Matthews will go outfor six weeks this summer with his band, and Pittsburgh, a strong market for the DMB, is likely to be a tour stop. Matthews' "Crash" is holding steady on the charts, at No. 29 with 2.5 million sales, and what might be the best single, "Tripping Billies," has yet to 1 1 break 1 LOCAL SCENE Tomorrow's sale date for Live is certain to jam the phone lines at the Benedum Center. A limited number of wristbands were handed out on Wednesday at the hall. Those who didn't get one will have to start dialing 333-6666 tomorrow promptly at 9 am Tickets are $20.75 for the Feb. 26 concert with Fun Lovln Criminals. Before most Live fans were even bom there was an LA hardcore band called The Descendants. Well, they're back, and they're playing Metropol March 29 with Suicide Machines. Tickets are $10 cheap. To put you in that swingin' Valentine's mood, Jimmy Sa- Slenza and Five Guys Named loe will salute The Rat Pack Wednesday night at James Street Tavern. The Guys will be joined by sketch team Industrial Strength Comedy, as Sa-pienza does his Sinatra shtick, Maria Sargent plays a Vegas show girl, and Louis Austen sings Dino. Sadly, no Sammy. 4 Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. aMon Gumbo will dish out ajun jam at James Street on Tuesday for a 7:30 Mardi Gras celebration. In a far cry from Frankie Capri, the industrial-strength Mace squeezes into the Lava Lounge tomorrow with Sig Sev 1 Weekirid, FebYuafy 1997

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