A high-value night of low-cost rock
My editors don’t let me out of that cozy little corner in the back of the paper very often. But, lucky me, they let me venture out to Chico’s current hot spot for live original music, the Off Limits, to catch the Low Budgets and a bunch of other bands last Thursday night.
I did my best to dig MC Oroville, whose white-trash rapper shtick is at least comical and perhaps even sociologically insightful or post-modernistically artistic. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear whatever he was saying over the thumping bass and beat-box grooves. Nice idea, though.
Somewhere between MC Oroville’s set and the Ballistics’ things got a bit dicey. My notebook disappeared during the Afterthoughts’ set, reappearing later with a note in someone else’s handwriting that said, “It reminds me of windmills spinning.” Never one to ignore messages from mysterious sources, I’m willing to go with that.
The Ballistics lived up to their name, firing off a flawless, high-velocity set of aggro-thrash, or speed metal, or hardcore. Whatever the current vernacular for ultra-fast, ultra-precise rock is, this band delivers it big time. If music was a track and field event, these guys would run the hundred-yard dash in about seven seconds.
I didn’t know what to expect from headliners the Low Budgets but figured if Joe Jack Talcum, who used to play guitar for comedic punk-rockers The Dead Milkmen, was on board the band would at least have a sense of humor and probably rock out besides. Correct on both counts. The biggest surprise was that Talcum is the keyboard player, adding a sort of retro, space-age roller-rink undercurrent to the guitar-driven old-school punk of his band mates. The good-humored punk rock party vibe ran strong and true and cheap, just like it should.
At a buck per band, the evening delivered exceptional value by even a vulture’s standards.