On the pop-punk front, Dune Rats looked like California riff-raff who happened to be from Australia. Easily the most fun act of the night, they played amorphous melodic punk with vocals that were mostly a shimmering mélange of "ooh," "aah," and "woah." The three long-haired stoners headbanged like crazy to such pretty ends, having a contest to see who could hold out a note the longest. The Audacity, a band made up of actual Californians and signed to Burger Records, seemed subdued in comparison, playing an equally hooky brand of mid-tempo pop-punk but with a pinch less conviction. Maybe they were pacing themselves for the industry showcase.
Wax Idols, a bliss-oriented Bay Area psych outfit, had an immaculate presentation that just didn't translate in this particular room. Singer Hether Fortune brought the theatrics, and the rhythm section was focused and taut, but their distorted clamor became dulled into an indistinguishable whorl. It was obvious the live mix wasn't being approached well for such heavy music (too little kick drum, way too much effects-heavy guitar in the house mix). This became very apparent during the hardcore portion of the evening.