This show was
almost shut down before it even started when the venue's second
story fire escape became jammed shut before nearly collapsing onto
the sidewalk below. According to the cops who pulled up soon after
they were "just passing by when we noticed it." Riiight. More like
some yuppie carpetbagger called the station from their newly
renovated loft across the street and snitched. Luckily, my friend
Eliot, who as Pull The Pin Productions booked the bands, was
able to straighten things out.
Luv!!!, a high-speed rockabilly three-piece from Oakland/Palo
Alto, succeeded in putting on a good show in spite of their mics
being turned down far too low and drummer Jen "Amputee" (who, as
her nickname suggests, also drums for SF power-pop punks The Angry
Amputees) having to play in the dark until the "coast was clear"
as the rear stage lights clearly illuminated the fire exit and
made the damage visible from the street. Hiccuping hepcat
guitarist "Lonewolf McCool" and wild-eyed hot-pink clad upright
Nana's dual vocal harmonizing (akin to X to a lesser extent)
and blue-collar goofball irreverence (akin to Reverend Horton Heat
to a greater extent) on "Switchblade King," "Crazy Short Cut,"
"Red Gold," "Till Death Do Us Part," and "My Sick Love" going over
well with the crowd. Even a poorly executed high-kick by Lonewolf
at the end of "My Girlfriend Threw My Ass In Jail" that left him
stumbling backwards into the speakers wasn't enough to slow them
down. His self-deprecating exclamation "That was just too damn
much "rock' 'n roll" for me!" generating big laughs from everyone.
mic levels were adjusted and all the lights turned back on by the
time Stigma 13,
another local band - this one composed of four greasers from
Antioch wearing dark sunglasses, straw cowboy hats, and cuffed
blue jeans, were finished setting up their gear but it really
didn't make much of a difference. They plodded through "Overheater,"
"Understand My Ways," "London After Midnight," "Night Cad" and the
rest of their tiresomely down-tempo and repetitive
psycho-surf-garage rock like a broken down beater on it's way to
the junkyard and the crowd's exuberance, hard won by Sik
Luv!!!, took a nose-dive. Most of them wandering off in
the direction of the bar, the bathroom, or outside for a smoke
while lead singer/guitarist Max "Rockabilly" fumed "Get your asses
back here where they belong or I'm coming after you!" Not
surprisingly he was ignored. Especially by the high-maintenance
goth-a-betties he trotted after trying to win back to the stage
with an off-key personal serenade to the tune of Elvis Presley's
hardly ever get a chance to see
Cinder "Block" outside of shows anymore so it was nice to be
able to sit and talk a little before
Retching Red took the
stage - her and Oppressed Logic bassist
Mike "Cyco Loco" Avilez's mid-80's style hardcore punk/thrash
combo with lead guitarist Jake "The Kid" Dudley and drummer Adam
Grant replacing Joe "Fucko" and "Crash" Diaz respectively.
Although having mentioned to me that the M.S. she had been
diagnosed with a few years ago was acting up it didn't seem to
hinder her performance in the least as she literally ran amuck
from one end of the club to the other kicking over tables and
throwing barstools. Belting out "Disowned," "Bullshit Repellent,"
"Day 3 (No Dirty Water)," "Rooster," and "West Bay Fuck Off!" from
Get Your Red Wings in a decidedly non-melodic feral rasp
before Cyco Loco followed suit for their cover of Agression's
"Insomnia" by charging into the audience with his bass flailing
hard enough to draw blood after it hit someone in the face.
Cracking a guilty grin, he told whoever it was "Sorry. I'll buy
you a beer later... or something." More problems with the mics
took the steam out of their set near the end, but Cinder's
impromptu a capella rendition of Loretta Lynn's "Don't Come Home
A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)" kept us entertained while
they were fixed.
oldschool so.Cal (Oxnard to be specific) HC vets
Dr. Know play a gig in SF you can count on a few
Jaks from the local chapter
showing up to "welcome" vocalist
Brandon Cruz (himself a Jak since the late 70's) back to the
Bay Area with some rough but good natured heckling. Their taunts
of "What are those, grandpa, YOUR DEPENDS?" in reference to the
baggy thermals he had on under a pair of shants met by his pulling
them up to his armpits, doing an impression of a doddering
abuelo cussing them out in Spanish, and introducing the band
as "Three quarter's Mexican... It would have been more but my mom
fucked the wrong guy." With fellow founding member Ismael
Hernandez on bass and comparatively new additions Craig Cano on
lead guitar and Eric Vasquez on drums, they exploded into the
pulverizing Plug-In Jesus era "Nardcore" of "Watch It
Burn," "God Told Me To/Life Returns," "Circle Of Fear," "Mr.
Freeze," "Piece Of Meat" and a couple songs from the unreleased
Father, Son, and Holy Shit at eardrum-busting volume. The
whirling pit, although small, was fierce with skate-punks and
metalheads. A few of them careening out of it into my legs during
"Fist Fuck," which Brandon dedicated to The Mentors' late
vocalist/bassist "El Duce" (aka. Eldon Hoke), leaving me hobbled
for a week.
saw The Tombstones, an
overlooked and long defunct trailblazer of American psychobilly
recently re-united by lead singer/guitarist Stevie "Tombstone" for
a tour in support of their Twang From The Grave anthology
with original bassist Bobby Daniel and Concombre Zombi's Destin
Pledger on drums, when they opened for the Circle Jerks at Gilman
in '89 and their late 70's punk rock interpretation of voodoo
swamp-blues wrecked the crowd like a Texas twister through a
trailer park. That, however, was sixteen years ago and I was
doubtful that they would, or even could, be as good now as they
were back then. Unfortunately I was right. Destin's manic drumming
was impressive but Stevie and Bobby came across as fatigued and
disinterested. Not that what was left of the audience, a mere
handful of ex-punks/ex-skins gone 'billy who stood there frowning
with their tattooed arms folded or running combs through their
greased hair during "Dark As A Dungeon," "Likkered Up Squashed
Flat" and "No Body" afforded them any encouragement. Even "Preachin',
Prayin', Guitar Playin'" and "Jailhouse Tattoo" which, although
not that great, were the exceptions to an otherwise
unsatisfying performance failed to elicit a response.
Drew, an acquaintance of mine, on the other hand, would
disagree. He thought The Tombstones were "Fuckin' badass!"
and stuck around to meet them after their set.