October 10th, 2007 |


You might know Upsilon Acrux from last week’s Van Halen cover, Women and Children First, but this band has been around for—what is it, ten years now? Paul Lai is a classic example of someone dedicated to a craft, wielding his silver guitar like an antenna to the sky. He has more pedals than I care to count, but don’t hold that against him—there is so much heart inside this well-dressed boy. He kept the band together despite a continuously changing line-up, including the most recent loss of original member—since the band was first formed in San Diego!—and wicked drummer (with a personalized hand-built kit) Jesse Applehans to local buddies the Bad Dudes. Actually, there’s been a couple other trades between these two groups, like a game of fantasy baseball or something—and, if you’re counting, it’s Upsilon up by two with trades from Bad Dudes including Frusciante-inspired wunderkind Brady (now playing with dudes like Money Mark) and Phil “Does Art Garfunkel Know He Has a Brother on Moog?” Cobb, plus bassist Marty “Your Grandma Kitten Sweater Rules!” Sataman, also of Terrors/Boom Bip. Right before the tapping commences, Paul goes: “I didn’t think I would ever say this, but can someone go and ask to turn off the Coltrane?” And it is time to let it all flow through, like walking up the steps of a pyramid, with every member dedicated to the journey and Paul walking out front. I watch him, so focused, and I can still see the teenage Paul that loved the Cure so much that he cut his black hair to match Robert Smith. By the time they cover Queen’s “Bicycle,” I’m certain why, a handful of months ago, I gave him the gift of a Van Halen pin. (SS)