by INLANDER & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & he curtain flips open and it's on. The audience loves you if you rock, and boos you off the stage if you suck. With a miniature Gibson equipped with five different colored buttons and a whammy bar, GUITAR HERO II will either make you a legend or an utter failure. Usually, the stakes are small, knowledge of that failure confined to you and your blunted friends. But THURSDAYS AT PRAGO, the ante is officially upped: The Argentine caf & eacute; hosts the PlayStation game on Thursdays, in a bar, for all of Spokane to see.

Compete with friends or rivals over who's fastest at strumming buttons to songs by Guns 'n' Roses, Avenged Sevenfold, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Van Halen. Tournaments are scheduled to start the last Thursday in September. Practice now, and it might get you skate stuff from Spirit Skate Shop or a copy of the game.


Guitar Hero at Prago every Thursday from 9 to closing. Free. Tournaments on the last Thursday of the month, starting on Sept. 27. Entry fee: $5. Call 443-0404.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & I & lt;/span & t's real sexy for a band to embody some sort of musical paradox. That's why most bands try to do it. TERA MELOS' particular paradox lands people in minor emergency. The band performs tight, precise, textural music. Their stage presence, though, is unhinged, chaotic and even violent. How they manage to simultaneously hit their complex guitar solos while hanging from ceilings and doing cartwheels is mystery fans can ponder until knocked unconscious. Despite professing a deep love and appreciation for their fans, Tera Melos' onstage antics occasionally injure one or two of them.

Although Tera Melos labels itself as indie rock, the Sacramento group is more appropriately called progressive. Yet such labels are ultimately meaningless: Tera Melos' music is unique, it's art, and it's worth experiencing -- even if you do get hurt.


Tera Melos with the Fall of Troy, Horse the Band, and Flee the Century at the Blvd. on Friday, Aug. 31, at 6 pm. $12. Call 455-7826.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & hough we know them well around these parts, the name SHINY TOY GUNS doesn't yet ring bells nationally. Their song "Le Disko," though, has been ubiquitous on rock radio for the better part of this year. This is the song that starts out like early Nine Inch Nails ("We're gonna ride the racecar"), but suddenly throws in a bridge swiped from early Enya. "If what they say is true, you're a boy and I'm a girl," sings Carah Faye, and I guess I can't really argue with that. STG seems like more of a concept than a band -- they have a mission statement (they're big on "GUITARS," TECHNOLOGY," and "MELODY") and their Website lists their costume designer as a member of the band.

Their relentless songs are full of ultra-compressed sounds that hurt my ears, which probably means that I'm too old. They're young, they're on a mission, and their show will probably sell out.


Shiny Toy Guns play the Service Station with the Send and Cyrus Fell Down on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 7 pm. $12; $15, at the door. Call 466-1696.

Book-Talk Teasers

Wed., Aug. 4, 1-2 p.m. and Wed., Aug. 18, 1-2 p.m.
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