Guitar Alley

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

They say thunder is the sound of God bowling in heaven. Well, Kona Lanes in Costa Mesa may not be celestial, but the music sure thunders come the weekend.

The lanes recently revamped its docket with two new promotions. Along with Friday night's Rock 'N Bowl (10 p.m. to 2 a.m.) is Club Crush, a Saturday night shindig for ages 16 and up. On Sunday, those 18 and older can groove to hot Orange County bands.

When Saturday rolls around, Kona's lights dim, giving Crush that nightclub feel. Still, there's no mistaking you're in a bowling alley . . . oops, I mean bowling center--the politically correct term for these places nowadays.

A few colored lights bounce off the walls above the music booth, such as it is, operated by deejay A.F.G., and banners remind everyone to buy clothes from such youth-oriented companies as LBZ, Roxy-Quiksilver, Swak, Seven One Four and Basic.

No spectacular decorations, but the horde of dolled-up teens doesn't give a hoot. Who needs conventional nightclub scenery when all you care about is spending your Saturday night doing something other than yapping on the horn with your buddies? You bet these repressed kids are thrilled to actually get into a place.

Rather than bowling, most prefer parading, peacock-like. Only seven lanes remain open during Crush. (But when the lure of yellow caution tape blocking off lanes 8 through 40 becomes too irresistible, you might catch young hoodlums hurtling balls down darkened paths.)

Crush's Aug. 1 grand opening drew a colossal crowd, thanks to Surfing Magazine's OP Pro Surf party. Gen X-ers sporting Chernobyl-style tans flocked in, hoping to catch a glimpse of pro surfers.

A handful of teens seemed to ooh and ahh at the many sophisticated beach bums. If only they too could be like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High's" Jeff Spicoli.

When they weren't busy checking out the surfers, partyers danced to hip-hop, house and disco. The bowling lanes act as a dance floor, so Club Crush shouldn't be the place to show off fancy footwork, or you're likely to munch it on the varnished surface.

On Sundays, Kona regains its lights and bowlers. Half the lanes (1-20) stay open for play while live music blasts from the second half. Great rates ($1 games and $1 shoes) and raging bands make it hard to resist.

Sunday night's promoters, Scott Tucker and Rose DeBella, recently had an all-ages show with popular bands White Trash Disco, the Ziggens, Bona Fide and Overboard. Normally shows are only for those 18 and over.

Dressing down isn't a crime on Sunday nights--even if you're aching to meet that special someone. This is no high-anxiety, fit-in-or-die event--there's lots of worry-free fun to be had. A gutter ball isn't a sin.

The lounge, better known as the bar, provides full service both nights with bottled beer ($3) and cocktails ($4) for over-21s.

So next time you have time to spare, split for Kona Lanes, where the strike-triggered scoreboard turkey isn't the only one dancing.

BE THERE

Kona Lanes, 2699 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa. (714) 545-1112. Saturday, ages 16 and over; Sunday, ages 18 and over. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Cover: $5-$7.

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