Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wasted Noise Defeats Darth Vader To Win Rock Wars

Friday night's Rock Wars at Club Octane in Monterey was a coming out party for Salinas band "Wasted Noise."

The thick crowd of 100-plus was literally there just to see them. This was evidenced by the mass exodus once the band played its final note. There were also the loud chants of "Wasted Noise!" leading up to the performance, and the emergence of a band homeboy on stage rallying the crowd in anticipation of the set.

Wherever they go, these guys bring their own party, that's for sure.

Of course, they won the contest, with a whopping 122 votes. I don't have the numbers for any of the other acts competing, but I doubt it was close.

Their set was a high-impact, guitar-skanking rush of garage punk/ska, the type practiced in an auto shop garage (where the band rehearses). The horn stabs and rapid fire rhythms got the crowd wildin' out. A definite adrenaline rush.

Girls danced along furiously to the irresistable beat, perhaps none more so than the mother of lead singer Milo. She gushed with pride while two-stepping on a dance block in the back of the crowd.

It's hard to pinpoint just one attribute that has helped boost band's profile since I first saw them rock out more than a year ago, but one obvious factor could be the band member arrangement. The band previously had a lead singer/drummer, a weird front man situation that didn't last.

The personnel switch over the past year has included the ascension of Milo from percussionist to darling front man (with his stylish hats and neck-ties); a new drummer who maintains the band's aggressive pace; and a two-horn section comprised of members from another popular Salinas band, Dubwize (what up Moni!).

I've been keeping tabs on the band over the past few months. I was extremely impressed when I caught a suprise one-off show in the fall at the Fish House in downtown Salinas (the band was playing at a birthday party).

Talking to bassist Hankie Macias, a long-time friend and a very distant relative (he's my cousin's distant cousin, which in Mexican culture makes him a compadre or something), I could tell that the band was on the verge of a breakthrough. Their work ethic and devotion was bound to payoff.

They may have found it on Friday.

Their myspace page (www.myspace.com/wastednoise) was full of well wishers comments after the show. Milo sent out a thank you to everyone who attended. You could tell the band is loving every minute of it.

Battle of the bands events function as a popularity contest. Friday, Wasted Noise showed they have their own built-in audience and they know how to rock it. It'll be fun to see what the next year has in store for them.

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