Rock in a Hard Place 

Deep inside the local scene

PUNK NEVER DIED
, but you can remind yourself how damn old it is by checking out Murray Bowles' photographs of the '80s East Bay punk scene at the Red Door gallery--4001 San Leandro St. #33, Oakland. There'll be an opening reception this Friday from 6 to 9 with live music from Ding Dang and spoken word by Wendy-O-Matik. The exhibit also includes historical notes by Kate Knox and a thumbtack show open to all East Bay photographers. Your own history-of-local-punk tour may then continue to the Starry Plough for the debut of ex-Avenger Penelope Houston's latest band, or it may not.

It's time once again for punks and pirates to assemble on the bonny bonny banks of Lake Ladoga. The Libertatia 2001 Pyrate Campout--sort of Geekfest meets Lord of the Flies--will take place Wednesday through Sunday, June 13-17, featuring films, food, foam weapon warfare, and a fuckload of bands, including Totimoshi, Fleshies, Pitch Black, P.A.W.N.S., Corpse Fucks Corpse, Nigel Pepper Cock, Impractical Cockpit, Fuckgodintheface, Phantom Limbs, Phantom Dogs, 400 Blows, and about sixty more. Details can be gleaned from www.danger-island.com/pyratepunx or calling BAD-SMUT, the hotline for all for your Geekfest and S.P.A.M. Records needs. And if that's just not soon enough, five different but not-all-that-different bands will be feting the S.P.A.M. Superstore (okay, Corbett's house) Friday afternoon: the Bananas, This Bike Is a Pipe Bomb, the Devil's Electric, Clumsy Bears, and of course Fuck Yea! Avocado. And if that weren't enough, the almighty ruckus of Fleshies--featuring longtime voice of Geekfest/S.P.A.M. John Geek and recently picked up by Alternative Tentacles--can be heard when Lookout! Records unleashes its split CD of two East Bay threesomes, the Enemies and Pitch Black, that night at 924 Gilman.

The new combo Pitch Black is all kinds of hectic--screaming, sputtering, clattering, and laying waste to villages in its wake--with li'l oases of morose atmosphere to say this is a creepy hardcore band as opposed to a cuddly hardcore band. Plus the band photo is of three guys with pumpkin heads, which is pretty punkin'. (I can't tell you how sorry I am for that last sentence, because I'm not.) And the Enemies... ooo, they rock. That's not even a value judgment, just an observation. The Oakland punkateers are mostly high-octane, occasionally sloggy, and always thunderous, with yummy nummy clanking bass from Neurosis' Dave Edwardson, churning, lather-rinse-repeat guitar and boyish vocals of Mike Pelino, and monkey-armed drumming from a guy named Jason with cool hair. Which is key. The obligatory unlikely cover aptly reduces Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" to a minute and a half of driving punk pleasure--a distinct improvement on the original.

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