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Neverever’s new old school pops

Jihae Meek dances to the old school power-pop music playing at the Aladdin Jr. 2 in Pomona. Jihae is joined by her husband, guitarist Wallace Meek, along with band members Shaun Puklavetz, Eric Fisher and Sharif Dumani. / photo by Mitchell Aleman

Karo Chakhlasyan
Staff Writer

The Middle Eastern techno beats were just loud enough to catch the attention of attendees in the patio area, positioned away from the muddy sound coming from the opening punk band at Aladdin Jr. 2 in the Pomona Arts Colony Saturday.

Singer Jihae Meek sat and waited for the remaining members of her band, Neverever, to have a seat so they could all talk about their new EP “Shake-a-Baby.”

“The new EP is slightly different,” guitarist Wallace Meek said in reference to Neverever’s first LP, titled “Angelic Swells.”

“I think with ‘Angelic Swells’ we were trying to do that ‘50s and ‘60s stuff.”

Difficult to avoid was a cluster of attendees who could acknowledge each other’s likes through fashion style. Each piece of clothing blended together to give off a vintage-inspired, urban style with a blatant flare of the harsh realities of suburbia.

“We like all kinds of music ranging from ‘50s to music nowadays, different decades and genres,” Jihae Meek said.

“It’s not like we were really trying to intentionally sound that way.”

The production in “Shake-a-baby” carries a tone reminiscent of a twang from late 1960s surf pop rock with an intentionally hard-to-ignore, lo-fi sound quality.

“With the Internet and everything changing so much, I think there are a lot of people who want to get back to simpler times,” Jihae Meek said. “People are nostalgic for a time when things weren’t so caught up in kind of trivial things.”

The faint smell of marijuana and stale, fruity hookah smoke wafted through the room. Paper hearts and red streamers covered the walls of the venue as the warm breath of confused youth filled the room.

Young adults with mustaches yearned to be respected by other bourgeois-filled souls, some wearing questionably thick-framed prescription glasses. These attendees commented to each other about vinyl records and cassette tapes as they browsed the Burger Records merchandise table.

One of the first bands to go on stage, the Honey Badgers from Buena Park got the crowd moving.

A blend of early ‘90s mediocre punk and a Johnny Cash rust-coated sound came from guitarist and singer Josh Grelock. Guitar harmonies went with the beat of the drums, and off spurts of an electric organ bled through the sound without adding any dynamic.

A group of multi-racial attendees chanted “white power,” in response to the chants of singer and guitarist Ronnie Rogen from the band Business Cats. Rogen strummed a Squier Jaguar guitar, and resembled a female grunge image of Kurt Cobain, not to be confused with Courtney Love.

As Neverever finally tookthe stage, Jihae Meek took off her coat revealing a bright, multi-colored, strapless dress with the light gleaming off her shiny nylons.

The crowd jumped around and bounced off each other without concern for safety as Neverever began their set.

Jihae Meek drew in the crowd with her strong jaw line and green eyes as she was on stage living a banal dream, humming notes that did not enhance the sound of the band.

“I fell in f**king love with her.” Jonathan Pacheco, an English major at Citrus College said.

The rich warmth coming from Dumani’s Vox guitar amplifier blended nicely with the wet reverb echoing from Wallace Meek’s guitar amp.

However, midway through their set everything sounded the same.

The highlight of the performance came during the bass-driven song “Wedding day.” The charismatic bassist Eric Fisher took his barefoot dancing into the crowd and joined attendees who took pictures of Fisher while he kept in time with the band.

“I thought they were amazing, really good,” attendee Tristen Roper said.

The band was well-practiced and a presence was there, but glancing around at the similarities of clothing, attitude and theme of the bands, it became clear that it has all been done before.

Neverever plans to record a new album in April, releasing it during summer.

Karo Chakhlasyan can be reached at karo.chakhlasyan @laverne.edu.

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