The Red Light Sting

w/the Ruby Doe, Femme Fatale

Sat March 1, Graceland, $6.

When categorizing a specific type of anxious rock, there is good spazz and there is bad spazz. Bad spazz is the kind you can't bear to watch, no matter how good the band's album might be. Good spazz is electrifying. Pretty Girls Make Graves' trio of guitarists exemplify good spazz--they jolt, hop, and strain frenetically behind their relatively composed singer Andrea Zollo, and the ecstatic agitation is hypnotic to the viewer. Likewise, Vancouver, BC's convulsive five-piece the Red Light Sting are instantly arresting, and when witnessed live, the members' youthful energy takes all of five seconds to spellbind the audience.

Guitarist Andy Dixon and bassist Geoff MacDonald create a constant buzz, singer Gregory Adams howls, and drummer Paul Patko pounds. All the while, keyboardist ZoË Verkuylen stands laconic and throws in punctuating backing vocals. "It's hard to spazz out when your instrument is stationary," she laments as we chat on the phone, her enthusiasm crackling through the line; she makes it clear that she'd be rockin' out right along with the rest of the band if she could. The Red Light Sting sound like Pretty Girls, Hint Hint, the Murder City Devils, and Botch all tangled up in an airborne flip, a perfectly executed daredevil twist, breathtaking and spectacular in its supersonic spirit. Song titles are bursts of rhetorical questions like "Why Do Kamikaze Pilots Wear Helmets?" or "Plastic Cigars...? Then Why'd I Bring the Ashtrays!"--and "Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs!" piles on even more maniacal zing.

Like their friends Hot Hot Heat, who recently made the jump from Sub Pop to Warner Bros., the Red Light Sting are entertaining their options: Several small labels have offered to back them when they release a full-length debut. "It's flattering," says Verkuylen, "because I know how much money it takes to put out a record, and [the fact] that people are willing to invest in us makes us feel great." (She co-owns the band's label, Ache.) Typical to their sound, however, the band can't imagine being tied down. Concludes Verkuylen, "We don't know what we'll be doing a month from now, so committing to anything is impossible."