Positively State St: In And Out Of Enemy Territory

Originally from the Santa Barbara Independent. Featuring the mighty Buttcheek Doofus, pioneers of the unusual.

I KNOW, I JUST KNOW that you like live music better in the middle of the week. Well I do, so venue-hopping as usual, I stopped in at Roy’s Jolly Tiger this week, a place known for an eclectic range of acts gracing its stage. I noticed that slated for April 12, tonight, is Tree O Frogs, a competent super-combo of San Francisco groove-funksters, and veterans of numerous festival shows. If you like S.B. regulars Animal Liberation Orchestra, you might go for the Frogs—the two bands have often shared the stage.

What to expect from Tree O Frogs? Crack musicianship and a long set; an appearance last year at the New Orleans Jazz Festival lasted an “epic four hours,” according to bassist Brian Shira. The Frogs’s recent album Butter Your Lips, while sporting masterful proficiency, swerves way too far into jam-band territory for me—songs run on up to eight minutes with the musicians masturbating through their solos. Otherwise, prime movers like “Urchin” and “Certified” burst from the gate just fine—there’s no denying that the Frogs make excellent booty-shaking music.

Hey, speaking of booty, how’s this for a good band with a weird name: the Frogs’s openers, S.B.’s Buttcheek Doofus (pictured above)—if you know them, you envy them. From their recent mauling of the Tom Waits tune “Filipino Box Spring Hog” at the Jolly Tiger’s February “Waits Tribute Show” to their hijacking of the Isla Vista rainforest benefit crowd at Giovanni’s in January, these resolute crazies have an impressive streak of musical individualism already on record—their genre-bending albums F.I.sh and april both melt time signatures at whiplash speed but still leave time for melody. If you’ve seen a show you know what I mean—the rabid anti-television and anti-Britney Spears rants of frontwoman Johanna anonymouS are consistent with one of the band’s guiding principles, “irreverently flipping the finger at the industry.” Indeed, their cheek-spanking new indie CD Highway Mona Lisa includes a bent little ditty called “I always wanted to name a song Bob Dylan” that takes on the Top Forty with breathless verbiage faster than “Subterranean Homesick Blues” or R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.” Each of these little visions of johanna is clear, concise, and exciting—especially live, so treat yourself and check them out.

WHEN? In support of their album, Buttcheek Doofus, “a three-piece band that stands against established paradigms, fronted by a young woman with a defiant point of view and an even louder guitar,” according to bassist Norm Reed, will be at Roy’s Jolly Tiger on April 12, supporting Tree O Frogs at 9:30; on April 13 as part of A Benefit for Hemp at 8 p.m. in Victoria Hall; and helping to kick off this year’s Take Back the Night rally in UCSB’s Storke Plaza on April 16 at noon. Acolytes of truly original indie-rock will come away with that warm, smug, snide, and fuzzy feeling inside.

Also joining the Doofus at UCSB will be singer/songwriter Kirsten Candy, who will bring herself and her piano to Alcazar tonight (and again on April 19) at 9 p.m. Gravity Willing have a big Friday the 13th—first they appear live on 99.9 KTYD’s Morning Show at 9 a.m., and that night have a show at Dargan’s, beginning at 9:30 p.m. Also promised to feel Gravity’s pull is a live television appearance on Thursday, April 17—stay tuned for details. For those with the punk jones but without a fake I.D., I haven’t forgotten you. Get a jump on the next generation of punk road rats—The Living Room is hosting a Battle of the Bands on Saturday April 14 at 8 p.m., and the kicker is that 50 percent of each band’s members must be 18 or younger.