Life of the Party

The Pattern was supposed to be a summer vacation -- but it's ended up being a full-time job

Four weeks after that first practice, the band started playing live. Rosenberg says the fledgling fivesome has performed an average of five shows a month over the past year, playing everywhere from the Bottom of the Hill to house parties in Portland to a gig at South by Southwest -- all booked on word-of-mouth and the popularity of singles released on Gearhead, Alternative Tentacles, and GSL.

Rosenberg, Appelgren, and Asp downplay any future goals of success, but the truth is that they did send out the demo tape in hopes of landing a spot at Reading and they do have plans to record new material in September. Most important, they put a hell of an effort into live shows, which are the cornerstone of the Pattern party.

To a large extent, Appelgren's onstage temper tantrums are the band's big drawing point. Give the guy a mike and his mild manner turns gleefully bratty, as he shows off his inner exhibitionist with a healthy dose of humor.

The Pattern: Spank you very much.
Sita Rupe
The Pattern: Spank you very much.

Details

Friday, June 1, at 10 p.m.

Black Cat Music headlines

One Time Angels and Pitch Black open

Tickets are $7

621-4455

Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th St. (at Texas), S.F.

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At a recent Great American Music Hall gig, Appelgren took the stage with swaggering hips, grabbing the mike stand like a blow-up doll and humping it silly. Over the course of the set, he threw his thumb in his mouth, wet his lips, caressed the mike, and gave himself a spanking. Watching Appelgren is like seeing a hyper punk misfit get confused about whether he wants to get laid or be babied, or both.

"When I play live, I kind of feel like I have to justify why I'm in front of people," he explains with a grin. "So it boils down to me doing stuff that's not so easy to do in everyday life and presenting a really exaggerated version of myself, embarrassing myself as much as possible and being as vulnerable as I can. There's an attitude and a sexuality to it that I can't express in everyday life."

Appelgren's expressions come in very short bursts -- it's a Pattern rule that no show last much longer than a half hour. The reason behind this performance brevity differs, depending on which band member you ask.

"People go see Olympic weightlifting and they don't expect the guy to hold the weight up for an hour," says Asp. "People have fun at our shows because they get really short sets that are quality over quantity."

Resident spaz Appelgren gets a little less metaphorical in his reasoning: "I think we would explode if we tried to play for an hour. Usually it ends up being around 45 minutes and I'm exhausted at the end of it."

So the boys get tired. Give them a break. You would too if you were trying to remedy the scowling face of local music. In the end, the Pattern's punk rock boogie is just what the Bay Area needs to remind it how to have fun. After all, it's pretty hard to stand with your arms crossed when someone's screaming and spanking himself over his ex-lover's smelly feet.

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