The safe money is on local heroes and special guests Authority Zero to be the night's big crowd-pleasers; they will certainly be kicking the ass of headliners Pepper, the first punks out of Hawaii since the Waikikis. Anyone expecting a night of luau music can leave their expectations with the cardboard palm tree cutouts onstage. An aggressive power trio with flashes of instrumental brilliance (usually when everything drops out and bassist Bret Bollinger anchors a tune on his lonesome for a few bars), Pepper plays a harder rock-reggae mix than the Police ever did, with flashes of Sublime, especially when singer/guitarist Kaleo Wassman insists on singing in his ridiculous clipped Jamaican accent. The band's just-released Pepper Live DVD captures the band during a two-night stand at the Troubadour in front of an adoring crowd that still seems to elicit far too many belligerent "make some fucking noise" requests from Wassman to make for an enjoyable viewing. It makes you wonder if all the spliffs the musicians light up in the course of the show aren't just making them more paranoid than mellow. Word of caution to those acolytes up front who might not like to wear Pepper spray from Bollinger's mouth: You might want to bring your Gallagher ponchos with you.
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