On the Y, Iguanadon, Times of Desperation

Sooner or later, voters there will declare that area of suburban sprawl between Sacramento and Carmichael to be a new city, another patch in the crazy quilt of Sac County’s Balkanized municipalities fighting for taxpayer dollars. And then, the car-dealer cabal governing Nielloville, or whatever they name the burg, will decide that On the Y, that gnarly little roadhouse at the northern tip of Loehmann’s Plaza where Fulton Avenue and Munroe Street split, will have to go. Which will spell the end of metal shows like the one this past Monday night.

I’d gone there because Skinner’s band Iguanadon was on a three-band bill, and it seemed imperative that someone from this paper check out the musical activities of the artist, whose art show opens at Upper Playground this Second Saturday (check out next week’s d’ART). And then I felt weird, hearing some long-haired guy rail at Skinner about the lack of commitment SN&R shows toward the metal community.

A community that, on this night, seemed to number anywhere from a dozen to twice that, with at least half its members coming from the three bands on the bill. Which was too bad, because all those hipsters who rode over to The Press Club to see What’s Up on Monday night missed out on some fine entertainment.

Now, Iguanadon may not be the greatest metal band that ever lived, but it’s pretty damned fun to watch. Drummer Kristie Harris smiles the whole time, bassist Dan Herrera fills in the low end, and Skinner manhandles his pointy-headstock Charvel, whose noise is funneled through a Mesa Boogie Rectifier. On this night, it sounded like a couple of Ducati motorcycles in a hill-climbing competition, when it wasn’t sounding like a Chevy Silverado tugging at a Ford F-150 at a monster-truck pull of the doomed. I’d suspect some of the material played came from Iguanadon’s album We Ryde Tonyte, but it was hard to tell—especially after Skinner flipped on the smoke machine, which smelled like it was hooked up via stolen garden hose and duct tape to the exhaust pipe of a lumbering old Studebaker in the parking lot, making the area in front of the stage reek like Tehama County circa last week. Given the area’s recent air-quality problems, what kind of idiot fires up a smoke machine in a club?

Skinner, that’s who.

Next up was Wah Wah Exit Wound, a math-rock quartet from Seattle, whose stop-on-a-dime pyrotechnics and dissonant stoner scree provided an elegant juxtaposition to Iguanadon’s insouciant rabble-rousing. Suffice it to say that if these guys aren’t on promoter Brian McKenna’s radar, they should be. They had some spiffy Cthulhu T-shirts for sale, too.

Closing the show was Times of Desperation, a local duo. Strike that; Times of Desperation consisted of an utterly maniacal drummer, Rob Murrieta, with a guitarist named Biaggio D’Anna providing riffage for context while Murrieta hammered away on his kit, which looked like he was on the verge of destroying at several points. Once, when the stand for his high-hat cymbal appeared to be failing the industrial-design test, the drummer from Wah Wah Exit Wound graciously stepped forward with his hi-hat stand, switching them mid-song. It was an inspired bit of sonic assault.

Between sets, Skinner and I shot the shit in the parking lot, ruminating about the differences between his band’s fans and our local Williamsburg wannabes. The latter exist to be seen and validated, while the former loners stew over horror comics in their hovels, venturing outside only for alcohol, cigs, microwave burritos or the occasional metal show.

Hey, it sounded plausible at the time.