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It's a lively night at the Ruby Room. Post-apocalyptic quasi-porn plays on flat screens. Resident artist Alex draws caricatures of unwitting patrons.

Vinyl Film plays a generic Get-Up-Kids-grow-a-pair pop punk set. "Yes, I'm wearing a Lady Gaga shirt," the singer says. "And I'm damn proud." They play "Rebel, Rebel" in a manner which suggests Fuel TV background music. Three girls in Gaslamp dresses sway at the foot of the stage.

Sour Soul from Mexico City. Five guys with the standard equipment plus congas and a banjo. Mars Volta and the Beatles circa The White Album. The bassist wears a Built to Last T-shirt. Mana, sit down.

Occult softcore on the TV. An Aleister Crowley nightmare.

"We're just being who we are," Vinyl Film bassist Miles says. "I can't lie. We want to make it big."

When Parliament Funkadelic and Captain Beyond drink tea and scream Yes! Knockout Bell is born. A Tom Waits "Jockey Full of Bourbon" cover and dirty interludes a la King Crimson's Red. Would make an excellent back-up band for an urban circus troupe.

"Club Crawler called us a 'noise group,'" says bassist Bob. "So I'm incorporating a lot more distortion for this set."

  • Concert: Vinyl Film, Sour Soul, Knockout Bell
  • Show date: March 11
  • Venue: Ruby Room
  • Seats: dance floor
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