Oberlin's version of Lollapalooza hits the 'Sco tonight, but in the form of a three-ring circus of instrumental rockabilly, glorified punk metal, and hip-hop from Los Straitjackets, Rye Coalition, and Dalek, respectively.
Despite the name and strange Mexican garb (including wrestling masks), Los Straitjackets hail from Nashville, Tenn. Their music has been described by critics as "surf-rock," "rockabilly," "instrumental surf," or some combination thereof. Having just finished recording their third album, Ben Vaughn (Rounder Records), the tour which traverses through Oberlin coincides with its release. Since their debut album in 1995, The Utterly Fantastic and Totally Unbelievable Sounds of Los Straitjackets, (Upstart Records) and their follow up effort Viva! Los Straitjackets (also on Upstart), the band has gained widespread popularity, including appearances on the Conan O'Brian show as well as opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
But who are we trying to fool? Everyone knows the show is really about Rye Coalition and labelmate Dalek. Rye, whose members include not only the dynamic Leto brothers, but also Oberlin seniors Ralph Cuseglio and Jon Gonnelli, will release their second (and much-anticipated) full-length album, The Lipstick Game next month. Musically, Rye Coalition has matured and stretched their own limits in experimentation since the debut album Hee Saw Dhuh Kaet, while still remaining true to their full-out rock roots.
Hip-hop artist, Dalek, shares New Jersey based Gern Blandsten label as well as the stage with Rye Coalition. The first and only hip-hop act to be signed to what is traditionally a rock label, Dalek's brand of music is anything but predictable. His smooth, melodic voice lays down socially-conscious lyrics over live instruments and eerie samples, creating haunting songs that stick with you.
Regardless of which of these three acts you will be interested in, the show is sure to be one of the biggest ones the 'Sco has hosted this year.
The show starts at 9:30 p.m. and tickets are $4 with OCID and $8 for non-students.
Who are those masked men? Los Straightjackets will make you crazy. (photo by courtesy of the Student Union)
Copyright © 1999, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 127, Number 22, April 30, 1999
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