After bouncing back from the dreaded norovirus, nothing could keep me away from the rock, the drag queens, the Queens of the Stone Age, or the B3 Jazz night at Club Deluxe. What a great week!
The Shrine and Red Fang – Slim’s – Saturday, 11/30/13
The Shrine rule. When it comes to fast, heavy, acid-washed stoner skate metal, there are few bands laying it down as thick and as real. These guys look like they smell like weed and pizza and just rode skateboards from Venice Beach to the show. And that’s how it should be. Whether thrashing out punk chords or unleashing evil, droned-out solos, this three piece brings. A huge presence and sound to the stage. A must see for metal fans.
I left about five songs into Red Fang. Not being as familiar with them as The Shrine, I wasn’t that into it. They are definitely a tight, tight, heavy band that deserves a better listen, but I saw who I came to see. Red Fang is reminiscent of Helmet in some ways, which is a good thing. I just crave the frenzy of The Shrine’s antics more.
Life’s a Drag Brunch – The Starlight Room, 12/1
What a better way to wake up from a metal show than to meet with friends and watch some drag queens perform a mix of pop and Christmas songs? The Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel has been putting on two brunch shows every Sunday for almost a decade. Things can get a little spendy if you’re deep into mimosas or bloody marys, but this is definitely a San Francisco spectacle to witness. The queens were equal parts hilarious, voluptuous, and nutty (not like that). Decent brunch, too!
Live 105’s Not So Silent Night – Oracle Arena, 12/6
Making it over to Oakland early on a Friday night is a pretty daunting task, but armed with some delicious meatball and chicken parm subs from Merigan Sub Shop, traffic seemed to go smoothly and we were able to nosh in the parking lot and still stroll in with enough time to see Arctic Monkeys. Apparently, they’ve been spending a lot of time with QOTSA’s Josh Homme in the studio, which is paying off in spades. Rooting back through this band’s discography is extremely pleasurable. Their first albums are shaking with nervous, angry energy which has transformed into eloquent, heavy grooves on their last two albums. Live, they are tight and entertaining – their singer dressed to the nines and exuding a charm and presence equal parts Elvis and Morrissey. With such a limited time slot, they played the “hits”, but also gave us smarty-pants listeners a treat by sneaking Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” into the song “Arabella” off their new album.
AFI (A Fire Inside) was the next band up and they were surprisingly entertaining for a group of local dudes dishing out some emo/punk-core for a stadium full of people. They used the entire stage, jumped around like emo kids (did?) do, and whipped some local devotees into a frenzy. Good for them.
Seeing Queens of the Stone Age doesn’t defy description, but it is hard to avoid overloading your sentences with superlatives. Josh Homme is not only a masterful guitar player and singer, he’s a charming, cheeky fuck up there on stage. While treating the fans to the chunky speed of “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” right off the bat, he also proclaimed, “Well, that should have shut down our live radio feed”. They dipped into the most rocking songs from each album, only with a slight focus on the new album, pulling out the best set you could ask for in forty five minutes. It was awe-inspiring, jaw-droppingly good. No one I was with was anything short of blown away. Younger kids seemed to take note. This group is so on top of their game live and in the studio, it’s hard to imagine anything less than the best from them. And then Vampire Weekend and Kings of Leon tried to follow them on stage… Good for those guys for trying. I will admit both bands are talented and decent live, but Homme and company used blew them off the stage. We were gone before Kings of Leon finished.
Pizza and Jazz – Club Deluxe
Almost any night of the week, Club Deluxe offers a jazz combo band (sometimes for no cover) and a list of pizzas and drinks that are sure to make your belly happy. The Spa Collins is a refreshing mix of ginger, lime, and cucumber that makes scarfing down their delicious thin crust pizza pretty easy. This is a great, laid back scene, and is usually not crowded – especially from 6-9. It feels great to be an aging denizen of the city in this bar, instead of trying to wedge into some shit bar packed with goofballs.