It’s 11:30p on a Tuesday, and I’m in the basement of a remote hipster bar far removed from mainstream SF. I’ve just been served a Corona by a pretty Eastern European bartender who barely knew a lick of English, and now I’m sipping it in the cabin of an airplane. Really, the airplane decor complete with blinking lights is a bit disorienting down here. And now I am about to hear the psychedelic craziness that is White Pee.
It is hard to review White Pee, as it is hard to review jazz. After what appeared to be a difficult set up, the 4- potentially 5- piece launched into a 30 minute plus ‘song’. It’s like a scene from a low budget Lynch film. The drummer looks like he’s doing his own thing in the back, the bassist slowly paces the stage, the guitarist sits on his amp and never looks up, and the ‘singer’/bloops and bleeps guy twiddles around on multiple complex looking devices. And there’s a guy standing against the wall in the audience with a tambourine. The whole thing made me feel like I was going crazy- in a good way. Sort of. I like the agitating effects of the unexpected beats, but I need breaks and songs, and maybe a hint at melody here and there. And, to be honest, White Pee is a band name that kinda scares me.
Next up are The New Centuries, or ‘New Cents’ as they refer to themselves. Their music is new wave/no wave- sometimes poppy, sometimes heavy, sometimes artsy. The foursome are an interesting mix of styles- the singer has this cocky/preppy aire about him, the guitarist- Rivers Cuomo-esque, the bassist- Aaron North rock ‘n roll thrashing, and the bassist has a mustache and his name is George Michael. Seriously. And guess what- they did a cover of a George Michael song- ‘Careless Whisper’. These guys have a lot of energy- an attribute that most local bands lack. I think the guitarist did the splits at one point, and the bassist at times looked like he might be having a seizure. I love that shit. They threw candy into the crowd at one point- Now & Laters and Smarties. They also already have groupies. They mentioned that they were down one guitar, so some of the songs sounded a bit off, especially my fave ‘Moonlight Kawasaki Ride’. Now it was late, and the venue was small, but they did sound a little sauced. There was some slurring, some sloppy notes, and eating a smartie while singing…but their energy mostly made up for it. Definitely a band to watch.
The New Centuries performance: 7.5/10
White Pee performance: 6.5/10
venue (Retox): 6.5/10
value ($6.00/ticket): 9/10