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Friday, September 17, 2010

Guantanamo Baywatch at the Works

Posted by Ned Lannamann on Fri, Sep 17, 2010 at 4:18 PM

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  • Photo by Wayne Bund/courtesy of PICA

Last night Guantanamo Baywatch transformed the Works into a prehistoric surfer beach party, bedecking the stage with a set that included volcanoes, palm trees, and a dinosaur with water trickling out of it. It was basically a garage rock show with a budget ("We spent $1200!" announced guitarist Jason Powell)—which might be kind of anathema to the whole garage rock aesthetic, but it was a memorable time nonetheless.

Bay area band Shannon and the Clams opened the show, clad in cartoon-caveman gear and one-strap fur skins. They stood on a riser on the right side of the stage, inviting people to come up and dance to their camp, demented retro-billy rock 'n' roll. And much of the crowd came appropriately attired, wearing beach attire or space clothes or weirder: some were in drag, and there were a couple zombie-Marie-Antoinette things that defy any sort of description. The dance party erupted on the stage itself, leaving the rest of the Works auditorium sparsely populated with folks who were either not into it, or were confused by the gonzo renditions of songs like "The Wanderer," or who were just plain tired.

And it did seem that—costumed revelers aside—the crowd was by and large experiencing fatigue. TBA has entered in the home stretch, but it's a marathon for all who take it seriously, and Thursday night definitely felt a sag in energy. I know that after going to the Works four nights in a row, I'm personally hitting a bit of a wall, and I wasn't the only one. Still, I'm also not the type of person to put on caveman-goes-to-the-beach clothes and flail around in a dance party with a bunch of strangers. That left me the option of sitting peacefully out in the theater watching from afar, and that's what I did.

Guantanamo Baywatch kept the dinosaur dance party going with their trash-surf with new drummer Chris (thought it might be the dude from Hornet Leg [UPDATE: No it is not, Guantanamo Baywatch's new drummer is Chris Scott]). Hula hoops twirled, and at one point a giant stuffed blue leopard-print shark was tossed around like a beach ball. It looked heavy. The band rocked some trash, played some punk tunes, and people danced. It wasn't art, but it was a good time, even from my comfortable perch out in the seats.

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