DJ Brian usually spins records for ''80s Night at Club Octane on Thursdays. This week, however, the young man is competing at the Pankration Finals in Greece. Pankration is a no-holds-barred fighting competition, one of those fur and fangs, fists and dark blood kind of fights for people who like to watch while eating from a bucket of red meat. If Brian wins the competition he will place himself as an alternate bound for the Olympics (if the Olympics reinstates Pankration as a sanctioned sport)--let''s wish him luck and hope he comes back with all of his teeth intact. DJ Lex of the Octane Group is going to be covering Brian''s ''80s Night for the next few weeks.
''80s Night, Club Octane, tonight, 9pm. $7/door. 646-9244.
The mega-Monterey group Trial By Fire rocks Long Bar this evening. Randy Baldwin and his crew have put together new arrangements of new songs that bristle with a professional quality and emotional brilliance. Trial By Fire has been around Monterey for a long time, playing a highly predictable form of pop music that reeks of MTV. If you like local music made by a local band, then you''ve got to see these guys. There is no cover, but remember, the band makes its bread off of the bar.
Trial By Fire, Long Bar, tonight, 9pm. 372-2244.
Another show to check out tonight is at Blue Fin where the one-man reggae band Tony Miles will perform. Miles is one of those guys you see working on his music all the time, a musical fiend who can overtake a room by his solitary presence alone. Some critics claim that Tony Miles can''t be fun because he plays by himself, alone with a midi-sync drum and melody box, but the truth is that Miles will shake your money maker like it was made of paper. He has self-titled records for sale all over town and a genius that is hard to grasp unless you see him in person. He represents a positive and slightly different angle to Blue Fin''s usual old Thursday night reggae.
Tony Miles, Blue Fin, tonight, 9pm. 375-7000.
Next is a brand-spanking-new band in Monterey, Under_Score. The hard-rock group is made up of four CSUMB graduates who love this area too much to leave just yet. This band could undoubtedly find a new niche in Monterey, due mainly to their expressive singer Nikki Anderson and thumping drummer Matt Brown. Anderson is a singer on par with Patti Smith: a shy, very private girl who explodes into ranting vocalization when you put her in front of a mic. The other members consist of bass player Dale Hameister and James Sanderson on guitar. The band''s sound should be great because I have played with and/or watched most of them perform at various open-mic nights separately. Hameister and Brown and I played in front of an empty room at Starrz one evening long ago, and both have a driving energy that captures anyone within earshot.
The band''s Website (http://bumpy. monterey.edu/underscore) is simple enough to offer easy access to information yet flashy enough with active hyperlinks to catch your attention. The bastards better play soon or this is the first and the last you will ever hear about them.
As a side note, you should know that we scooped Rolling Stone by three weeks with our preview of U2''s new CD, All the Things You Can''t Leave Behind (thanks in part to a pirate at Napster.com). If you haven''t bought it yet, then you are missing out on one of the most expressive pieces of art this year. Another CD well worth mentioning is a new import-only CD by World Party, the one-man circus of music that influenced Beck and The New Radicals. Check them both out, and until next week, remember to always check your rearview mirror for police.