I missed local locos Uzi Rash when they performed as the Monks for Halloween at thee Parkside. I would not make that mistake again. I arrived to the Ghost Town Gallery mid-set and the energy was intense. One member was standing atop his amp with the only light in the room shining out from behind him. These guys have been making drug-tainted, psychedelic grooves since 2007 at least. Their debut record High and Phree was released in 2009 on Brooklyn’s Freedom School Records. They write songs like “I’m a Trashbag” with barely decipherable lyrics over vertigo-inducing riffs that at times reminds me of a demented extended Velvet Underground jam. Other instrumentals like “Serf Rock” demonstrate what may lie beneath the noise, something completely different. These guys take experimental to new heights. If all the bay area garage bands are starting to sound the same to you, look no further. They take part in many art shows around town and will perform at another on Friday March 4th at Oakland’s cherished 1,2,3,4 Go Records.

Over at the bar, Greg Ashley was serving up ice cold Pabst and Tequila. He kindly returned half of the tip I handed over.

The Babies are a new side project from Vivian Girl’s mastermind Cassie Ramone. She is joined by Woods man Kevin Morby. Together they create something familiar and if not fresh, at least still completely edible and tasty. The vocals so important to this band were not done due justice by the sound system, but from right up close the sound was good enough. Cassie and Kevin alternate singing and occasionally harmonize. Two skinheads entered the room, one fairly huge, with even his skull covered in tattoos, and a gnarly slam pit ensued. Initially the band was a bit taken aback as mic stands were knocked to the ground. Soon the band was feasting on the crowds energy and playing harder and faster. What seemed like a middle ground between Vivian Girls and Woods proved capable of unique powers. Sadly they have a London date listed for March 17th, making a SxSW visit highly unlikely.

The Babies “Meet Me in the City”