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Buzz helps Scissors for Lefty sharpen success

Getting the "next big thing" label is a dubious distinction. Sure, it's flattering. But then there's the little business of having to deliver.

In everything from the San Francisco Chronicle to the Los Angeles Times, Spin and NME, the San Francisco alt-pop quintet Scissors for Lefty has been singled out as one to watch. The members just came off the road from a summer touring with the Smashing Pumpkins and Erasure. They take their good buzz in stride.

"It's tough, to be honest. My mom will send me e-mails and it's always some of the nicer stuff," said singer Bryan Garza. "Whenever you go to Google and type your own band name, it's different. For us, about80 percent is nice and that's cool. And 20 percent is 'Oh, those bastards.' Still, it's a real flattering thing to see that we've done anything at all that people find is engaging enough to write about. We hope we can keep it rolling."

Lefty will headline the Off the Air stage at the Modesto Art & Wine Festival on Saturday. We've been lucky enough have Lefty come through town a handful of times before, thanks to Off the Air promoter Greg Edwards and his keen ear for up-and-coming talent.

The band's sound — impossible to classify and nearly as impossible not to dance to — is a quirky mix of garage rock, synth-disco, Brit pop and, above all else, good fun.

Lefty's tight bond is made tighter because it is made up of two families, the Garzas and the Krimmels: brothers Bryan (vocals) and Robby (guitar/bass) and their uncle Steve (bass/dancing ... yes, dancing) and brothers Peter (piano/guitar) and James Krimmel (drums/bass).

The band also has roots in Modesto. The Garza brothers' mother grew up here and Peter Krimmel's wife is from Modesto. The group even has a line about the town in its song "More Than the Summer." It goes: "I was a son from an angel from Modesto."

"It's been a plus for us in the Modesto, Merced, Fresno areas," Garza said. "They have always been these great shows for people who maybe don't have an outlet to see these kinds of bands as much. So when they do, people are so much more receptive."

In the past couple of years, the band, formed in 2000, has played everything from arenas with 10,000 screaming fans to clubs with 22 cocktail-sipping people. But, he said, Lefty strives to give the audience a memorable experience at every show. "We always have a good time no matter what the size can be. We want to make (shows) something interactive so it's not just five dudes on stage hoping that you'll look at them."

For more excerpts from my interview with Scissors for Lefty, log onto SceneIt at thehive.modbee.com/sceneit.

Elsewhere around the Scene:

Spike has a new gig. Modesto native James Marsters has landed a recurring role in the new season of the CBS drama "Without a Trace."

The actor, best known for his role as the bad-boy vampire Spike for seven seasons on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel," will join the cast as a police detective. His character, Detective Mars, works with the FBI's missing-persons team in New York while investigating a human-trafficking ring and later will become part of a task force dealing with human trafficking.

Marsters recently has made a series of appearances on the small screen. He was a guest star on the new Holly Hunter TNT series, "Saving Grace," last month. He also has had a recurring role on the WB series "Smallville" as Professor Milton Fine.

"Without a Trace" begins its sixth season Sept. 27. Marsters' episode air dates have not been announced. ...

Modesto blues lovers, mark your calendars for the return of the Tommy Castro Band on Aug. 24 at the State Theatre.

The popular Bay Area-based blues band brings its scorching sounds back to Modesto. The group blends electric, Chicago, West Coast blues and soul. Castro was voted 2006 blues artist of the year by the readers of BluesWax, the largest subscribed blues publication.

Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 527-4697. ...

Movie fans also should take note of the State Theatre's upcoming schedule.

The exceptional "La Vie en Rose" continues this weekend. Starting Aug. 25, catch Julie Christie in the drama "Away from Her." A five-day return run of the Michael Moore documentary "Sicko" begins Aug. 31, and on Sept. 7, the French comedy "My Best Friend" opens.

For more, visit www.thestate.org. ...

Finally, celebrate The Brave Bull-ettes' five-year anniversary Sunday.

Come check out the weekly drag shows hosted by Miss Anjali at the Brave Bull. The all-dancing, all-singing extravaganza starts at10:30 p.m. No cover. Visit www.thebravebull.com.

Bee entertainment writer Marijke Rowland can be reached atmrowland@modbee.com or 578-2284. Read her blog SceneIt at thehive.modbee.com/sceneit.

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