Lost at Nowhere

Midnight Friday, SF’s Buddakowski added cello to their loud rock at Duffy’s.

Midnight Friday, SF’s Buddakowski added cello to their loud rock at Duffy’s.

Photo by Sara Sipes

I met a musician from San Bruno, Dylan Coyle, whose band Zombie’s Tea Party was not on the bill, but his informed advice about what bands to catch and what kind of music to expect was very helpful to an old folkie like me. He even explained the difference between “industrial noise” and “gutter Goth.”

First off was Gun and Doll Show at Stormy’s. The program said “headlining until close,” which meant not scheduled for any time in particular. In fact, not scheduled for Stormy’s at all, but for the Senator. More on that later.

The Lazy Cowgirls at Mr. Lucky must have been cancelled, as the doorman said he had no idea who they were. I was beginning to get the concept of Nowhere X Nowhere.

Back at the Senator, the lobby was packed with various groups showcasing their talents, so I filled my pouch with flyers, stickers and even picked up several CDs for later review.

A band that blew off a gig in Tahoe because the weather was bad was added to the bill and was about to play. Finally, some music. They played about 20 seconds before the volume drove me outside. Basically a Green Day clone, except not as interesting.

Back on the street, I found musicians and managers everywhere. They seemed to understand the need to promote. At LaSalles a very good old-fashioned rock band was playing, but the doorman couldn’t tell me who they were. He worked for Nowhere X Nowhere, so it seemed odd that he knew so little.

Back at Stormy’s I heard three great bands: The Slow Poisoners, 20 Minute Loop and M.headphone. Billed as a showcase of Fortune Record’s artists, this was the most professionally produced part of the event. Slow Poisoners sounded like the early Beatles using clever lyrics and humor. Their CD is even better. 20 Minute Loop played at the perfect volume for a small club, delightfully musical and original. I sat with a local couple, and we agreed that they were our favorites so far. M.headphone had a unique sound with songs about “the days of Silly Putty.” Their manager was also very good at promotion. He actually convinced me to stay in spite of the fact I wanted to get back to the Senator and catch Gun and Doll Show.

So, back again to the Senator for the main event, the Gun and Doll Show. The wait was worth it, though I had to beg to be let in. At almost 2 a.m., when they finally played, the promoter told me it was now his private party and the doors were locked. Too bad for the fans who might have stayed all night, including my buddy Dylan, who was being turned away when I stepped in and said he was with me. Ahhh, showbiz!

The Gun and Doll Show was very entertaining. Humorous and powerful, with a polished stage presence that showed years of hard work. Using a form of modern opera, somewhere between punk and rock, they combined theater and shock therapy in an exciting, too short performance. They went seamlessly from song to song in a flawless presentation. I hazard to guess they are too interesting for MTV but would love to see them make it big.

Hopefully next year Nowhere X Nowhere will still be somewhere. After three years, there is no longer any excuse for lazy promotion and slacker behavior, as the growing pains should disappear. If all goes well this might actually be the place to hear what’s really on the cutting edge.