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SONIC REDUCER Why so glum, Chun? Well, for starters, the economy is sucking about as hard as an insecure groupie attacking her/his fave-rave rocker head-case, and the stock market is making me more nauseated than the time I mixed deep-fried Twinkies and the Giant Dipper roller-coaster ride at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Oh, sure, we're all gonna die giggling with sheer, unrepentant delight when the Barack Star pulls it off come Nov. 4. But in the very lean meantime, we gotta scrimp 'n' scrape to find the joy.
So why not mix good times and sound arf! financial advice from those adventurers in fabulously gritty lo-fi sonics and rock 'n' roll derring-do at Budget Rock Seven music fest?
Yes, I may be high. Ask rockers oft dismissed as guitar-collecting, ramen-chawing spendthrifts lacking in fiscal acumen for budget suggestions? Don't you know that the sweaty, loud 'n' danceable rawk gathering has little or nada to do with tightened (white, skinny) belts during tough times having plucked its name from a Mummies long-player, not its accountants? Sho' 'nuff, impecunious stuff. Nevertheless, if a truly depressing nu-depression-style bottoming-out occurs B-Rock or no it can't hurt to look to grassroots rabble-rousers for tangibles on living it up on little scrill.
"I have nothing to offer but bad tips," Darin Raffaelli ex-Supercharger member and now in Budget Rock bands the Baci Galoopis and supa-group Mersey Wifebeaters apologizes in a recent e-mail. "Go to the taco truck and don't be afraid to get face meat if they run out of the standard meats. Don't be a deadbeat weefie and carry your own load. Doesn't matter how big your carriage is just fill it to the tarp with whatever you can and the goodhearted folk will make sure you get by. Don't get tattoos, and take care of your feet.
"Hope that helps."
It's like pouring loose change, slugs, and paper clips into those supermarket counters: every little bit helps. Brian Girgus, who drums for rising Mantles-spinoff proj Personal and the Pizzas, has more low-dough advice: "Sneak a flask of whiskey in. Drink during Happy Hour. Make your pizzas at home. Roll out the dough really thin to make the pizza seem bigger. Buy used vinyl at the thrift stores."
"Budget? I'm not an expert on that. I'm up to my ears," opines festival co-founder and co-organizer Chris Owen by phone. He's got more important things on his mind, like convincing Budget Rock performer Roy Head renowned as "the white James Brown" for his crazy-agile dance moves, and his 1965 hit, "Treat Her Right" to record "Just Head" by the Nervous Eaters and "Teenage Head" by the Flamin' Groovies for his Hook or Crook Records. The dynamic Head who Owen says is still amazing (The 67-year-old "is like Iggy Pop in the way he puts himself out there") just might play those tunes live, if we're lucky, when he performs here for the first time since the '60s.
Owen says there was an attempt to move Budget Rock back to San Francisco where it first laid down a beachhead at Thee Parkside but, as we laugh, "the city wasn't having it!" With assists from Bobbyteen Tina Lucchesi, Guardian staffer Dulcinea Gonzalez, and others, Owen threw the bash together again at the Stork Club. "Sometimes it's worth it to just have a blowout in a smaller place," he explains. "At a smaller place, they're happy to have you. I can't imagine anyone drinking more than the people who go to these things!"
Budget planning? I got my BR grandma-panties in a bunch to catch In the Red combo the Lamps, Bare Wires, Nodzzz, Thee Makeout Party, the Pets, Hunx and his Punx, Ray Loney and the Phantom Movers, Sir Lord Von Raven, Hypsterz, Christmas Island, and Russell Quan's 50th Birthday Party. As for Owen, he's especially psyched about Human Eye (a Clone Defects variant that rarely plays Bayside), Haunted George, Seattle band Head (I see a theme emerging), and Personal and the Pizzas ("A MySpace band that suddenly became a real band basically they wrote two of the catchiest songs I've ever heard"), as well as the Top Dog-sponsored hot-dog-eating contest and the pancake breakfast aided and abetted by ex-Parkside honcho Sean O'Connor's Batter Blaster invention.
"When I first announced the lineup people were, like, 'Who the fuck are these bands?'" Owens says of the eclectic nature of this year's festival. "There are a whole lot more bands that are more difficult more influenced by New Zealand pop music and not necessary garage rock and punk."
But seriously, back to budgets? "I would say, don't take any advice I'd give you that's the best advice," Owen says. "But with this thing: $5 beer and cheap food, 34 bands in four days. That's pretty good. If you're trying to maximize your dollar, that's less than a dollar a band." *
BUDGET ROCK SEVEN
Preview with Lover! and Nobunny
Wed/22, 5:308 p.m., free
398 12th St., SF
Festival runs Thurs/23-Sun/26, various times, $10<\d>$30
2330 Telegraph, Oakl.
Maybe after Barack Obama wins, the Load combo can change its name to THE USAISINRECOVERY. Fri/24, 9:30 p.m., $8. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk St., SF. www.hemlocktavern.com 
BRIDGE SCHOOL BENEFIT
Whoa, Nellie: Band of Horses is the latest add to the benefit helmed by Neil Young and family. Sat/25, 5p.m., and Sun/26, 2 p.m., $39.50$150. Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View. www.livenation.com 
Do the Florida punks have a persecution complex? Mon/27, 8 p.m., $22.50. Grand Ballroom, Regency Center, Van Ness and Sutter, SF. www.goldenvoice.com  *