Puberty-stricken non-believing boredom.

Port O’Brien’s Gram LeBron plays as many instruments as he can at once (left), and the percussive kitchenware used by the audience (right).

Port O’Brien’s Gram LeBron plays as many instruments as he can at once (left), and the percussive kitchenware used by the audience (right).

Photo By shoka

Walk right through the door: Did anyone go to Middle Class Rut’s free show last Friday in Cesar Chavez Plaza? That’s a joke; I was in Los Angeles, but I hear the show was chockablock.

MC Rut’s latest EP, 25 Years, also is packed … with ho-hum rock. The opening track takes the name of the EP, and on it Zack Lopez sounds very much like Perry Farrell, blasting on about having “been going on for 25 years now” over a piercing but monotonous riff. Ritual de lo Habitual, for sure. The song’s bridge and outro impress, though: It’s a galactic back and forth between Lopez’s guitar and Sean Stockham’s kit and reminds what this duo does. Namely, feed off each other.

Ultimately, the EP’s a drowsy retread of Jane’s Addiction—forgettable riffs, lethargic and overproduced vocals. And that’s just boring.

Good news: Lopez announced last Friday that the band’s recording new material for their first LP. (Nick Miller)

Ending on a good note: This tardy human walked in Luigi’s Fun Garden on June 17 with the Bay Area’s Devotionals already onstage. Consisting of Tyson Vogel (Two Gallants) on guitar and Anton Patzner (Judgement Day) on violin, it was a gorgeous set.

Vogel then manned the drum kit for folk/pop headliners Port O’Brien, whose five members (including Gram LeBron of Rogue Wave) barely fit on the stage. Patzner joined for one boisterous song, and the amiable troupe invited the audience to sing and offered pots, pans and other metal debris to bang on for its last tune, “I Woke Up Today.” The crowd was definitely awake and complied beautifully: For a minute or two after Port had vacated the stage, the crowd continued percussing. If you were a banger that night, you get a big fat A for participation. What a lovely note it was to end on. (Shoka)

Love is Rancid: If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to order the compilation CD released by Davis-based Love Is Life Foundation. The album features 18 bangin’ tracks from artists of all locales and genres. Naia Kete and Everything on Fire represent Sactown, and Davis’ Martin Purtill ends the album on a quiet reflective note to end all notes. The best part is all proceeds from the CD go to help eliminating youth homelessness in the United States.

In other CD-release news, rude-boy gateway band Rancid dropped their latest contribution, Let the Dominoes Fall, last week. Now, I grew up on Bay Area punk rock; Rancid will always hold a special place in my heart, always. (I love you guys.) This latest offering, however, finds Rancid in kind of an awkward phase: The music is still heavily Clash-inspired, straight out of ’77, but the Pro Tools production puts triggers on every drum hit, smoothes over every power chord and bubble wraps this album into a sugar-free punk-rock lollipop. With the exception of Tim Armstrong’s poetic swagger, nothing on this album jumps out and grabs you by your puberty-stricken balls the way older tracks such as “Roots Radicals” did.

I blame this one on the production; I can never be mad at Rancid. C’mon, just watching the video for their new single, “Last One to Die,” makes me want to journey to the East Bay and give Tim a great big hug. (Derek Nielsen)

If a beat drops in the forest: Up a steep winding hill, down a long rocky road, into the woods. Geodomes rise, temporary stages stand erect. This is Stilldream 2009, summer solstice—three nights and four days of art and digital music in the natural world. The usual suspects attend: candy-raver babies chewing their faces, Burners of the post-apocalyptic Waterworld camp, devotees with a pure love for the beatification of the beat.

And me, a nonbeliever.

As with any other house of worship, each has their own reasons for the pilgrimage. By the time we pack up for “reality” on the Sabbath, I consider myself a convert or, at the very least, an agnostic who’s eager to return next year for more noisy introspection. (Kimberly Brown)