Hearnet and MediaCast present the netcast of Vibe-O-Thon

SF Loves You (Even If You're Scary)

by Allen Whitman

weather: cooling, later in evening but still Valentine's Day. You still have a couple hours yet to kiss something in a sanctioned manner.

Puzzlefish just came on. Technical difficulties have the lead singer lifting his four space vocal effect rack up and peering inside of it. The bass player wears a spider mask and a star trek jersey. The guitar player has a class A stereo power amplifier to drive his 15" speaker(an unusual but effective arrangement). The drummer, well, he's a drummer. You've seen drummers. They're the most interesting to watch. The drummer is the mirror of the band's personality.

One of the event organizers talks to one of the stagehands and the stagehand makes a pass across the stage between songs with a word to each player. It's too loud. The guitar player speaks into the microphone: "stop turning up! stop turning up!"

It's still bright in here, and pretty.

A couple of firefighters(San Francisco's own) in full protective dress, mill about the entrance to the hall. "No, no," they tell me, "it's not too crowded." I ask him about his coat. It's filthy. He tells me he saw a lot of action today. I compare the smell of the salsa stain on my sweatshirt to the dry grey dust that clings to his armor. He laughs. I wander back into the hall.

Over in the corner an anomaly stands, gesticulating wildly. A big-haired woman, in black leggings, leopardskin leotard, huge white sneakers and many, many bangles, studded belts and sunglasses perched, impossibly, halfway up her forehead eagerly sells VKTMS merchandise to a straight white guy. Her terrifying ratted hair shreiks: "I'm a Dokken video extra!" She's out of place here, but, like every conceivable aesthetic aspect of humanity, welcome in San Francisco.

Everybody's here tonight.

A press guy with a microphone asks in modulated tones whether or not Kathy Peck plans to do this party again. She just laughs.

Puzzlefish wander in and out of tempo changes, musical themes and disparate keys, continuously changing their mind. I want them to sit down in a groove for at least a couple of minutes, just to see what would develop. The audience receives their sound with smiles. That loopy, credulous butt-shaking dance. It doesn't matter who's doing it or what is making them do it. It's your God-given right to shake it how you want to.

Wish you were here...weather's beautiful.

© 1997 MediaCast