Andre Torrez

Find your fangs: Total Trashfest is upon us


I can already envision the sound of Shannon Shaw‘s voice singing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” and it’s music to my ears. The James Hetfield-penned classic is the stuff of nightmares, and with “Rocktober” officially here, the timing is right for the return of the Total Trash Halloween Bash.

Who knew Shannon and The Clams were such metal fans? Or are they? Maybe it’s irony, but either way — you won’t want to miss this annual throwdown of shenanigans, in which your favorite Bay Area bands (and a few from beyond) get all costumed up as other, perhaps more famous rockers from decades past.

This year Total Trash and 1-2-3-4 Go! Records are keeping their co-production in the East Bay for the holiday weekend for two nights of rock n’ roll debauchery. On Friday, Oct. 31, Seth Bogart — better known as Hunx — will slip on his fangs (suitable for sucking) to host and perform as Gayracula. I expect the song “I Vant To Suck Your Cock” will get some stage time; after all, it was basically written for Halloween.

Sleazy horror flicks will project on the screen for the party with a costume contest at Leo’s Music Club on Telegraph Ave. for night No. 1, but the killer lineup doesn’t end there. Yogurt Brain might be on to something with this year’s attempt to upstage their performance last year as Weezer by doing another seminal ’90s act — Smashing Pumpkins. I’m wondering if a bald cap will be employed, or if this will be pre-bald-by-choice Billy Corgan? Pookie and The Poodlez does the Donnas and Cumstain will be Sleezer (another Weezer cover band?).

SF’s legendary Phantom Surfers highlight night No. 2 at Eli’s Mile High Club on Saturday. Those guys always seem prepared for Halloween with their masks, so I think they get a pass on having to dress anyone else.

These shows are always tons of fun and if the Bay Area can come together on one thing, it’s that Halloween rules. Grab a wig and get your tickets before it’s too late.

Starring Hunx as Gayracula, Shannon & the Clams as “Metallica”, Phantom Surfers, Yogurt Brain AS “Smashing Pumpkins”, Teutonics, Charlie Megira, Pookie & the Poodlez as “The Donnas”, Cumstain as “Sleezer”, Scouse Gits
Oct. 31 through Nov. 2
9pm, $20
Leo’s (5447 Telegraph) and Eli’s Mile High Club (3629 MLK), Oakl.

The sound of America


THEATER As recently as last month, Berry Gordy Jr., the 84-year-old music mogul, founder, and creator of Motown Records, was hailed as an American icon and an African American hero. Those were Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s words Aug. 18 when it was declared “Berry Gordy Day in the East Bay.”

Impeccably dressed, Gordy made a rare public appearance to speak and receive his accolades on the steps of Oakland’s City Hall. He briefly reminisced about his life’s achievements, particularly building Detroit’s Hitsville USA, not only in a physical sense, but also creating “The Sound of Young America,” as his label would come to be known to the world. Live cast performances from Motown the Musical, the theatrical show based on his autobiography from nearly 20 years ago — To Be Loved: The Music, The Magic, The Memories Of Motown — were interspersed throughout the event.

The Kevin McCollum production (Avenue Q), directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, is running through Sept. 28 at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre. But how does one fit all that the Motown-Gordy life story encompasses in a matter of just a few hours?

One sure way to please the audience is through music, which the production certainly does. Here we get a condensed version of a story that deals with America’s recent racist history, with scenes set at the Motortown Revue (which allowed segregated audiences in the South), to the full-on love story where Gordy’s muse, Diana Ross (convincingly played by Allison Semmes), serves as the impetus for his own business savvy and crossover to success with white audiences.

In the early ’60s, the industry still referred to Gordy’s output as “Negro” or “colored” music, or worse. African Americans weren’t seen as entrepreneurs — and owning an independent, predominantly black label was a revolutionary statement to say the least. Gordy’s personal history of being a boxer who idolized Joe Louis in the 1940s, and later borrowing $800 from his family to launch a recording studio, is chaotically interwoven with glazed-over details of complex business deals and lawsuits.

It’s not surprising, considering this is a musical, that an overreliance on a hefty catalog of sentimental songs that resonate throughout generations is a recurring theme. A combination of well-executed choreography and the hits we’ve come to know by the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the rest of the roster probably make for a more entertaining evening than going into detail, say, about top songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland defecting to create their own label, Invictus. Or the way top artists like the Jackson 5 and Ross would jump ship to other labels like RCA and Epic for more creative control or financial reasons. And any tales of Gaye’s in-studio drug use (documented in writings as being annoying to Ross while they recorded together during her solo years) are excluded, because this story is told from Gordy’s perspective.

And there are other exclusions. While it’s great to see the early acts from Gordy’s early Motown-Tamla Records days — such as Jackie Wilson, the Contours, Barrett Strong, and Mary Wells — getting recognition, Gaye’s frequent duet partner, Tammi Terrell, gets the shaft with nary a mention. It could be seen as added insult, but is more likely a gross oversight, when cast members depicting Gordy and Ross sing the Ashford and Simpson-penned soul ballad, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” one of Terrell’s signature hits with Gaye.

After the intermission, the latter half of Act Two seems especially rushed, though the costumes, sets, and décor during the Black Panther-Vietnam protest-Detroit riot eras, and the company’s relocation to Los Angeles in the early ’70s, are particularly vibrant.

As soon as we emerge from the tumult of the ’60s and the somewhat understated effects of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, the Jackson 5 are introduced (Reed Shannon plays the young versions of Gordy and Wonder, as well as Michael Jackson), and Ross’ solo career advances when she leaves the Supremes. Gordy’s master plan to have her sing standards in order to assimilate has often been a point of criticism, not only in this case, but also for his other acts, who have been accused of not being “black enough.” Eventually, though, it pays off when she plays grandiose venues that allow for elaborate stage productions. Her subsequent entrance into movie stardom seemed to be something he was grooming her for all along.

Motown revolutionized the world’s perceptions of music. Gordy’s story is one of success through persistence. Most (if not all) of his label’s artists share the same narrative of overcoming obstacles and having to struggle. After all, these were performers who literally had to dodge bullets on stage when they toured the South.

Audience members would be out of touch or ignorant if they couldn’t see the modern-day parallels in racial divisions — unrest and outrage over Mike Brown’s shooting death by police in Ferguson, Mo., had been going on for about a week at the time of Motown‘s press night. Viewers may have to ask themselves how much has changed in the last 50 years. That alone could merit this production’s cultural relevance, if not some harsh realizations. But I have a feeling most people crave those feel-good hit-factory songs, which do make seeing Motown the Musical worthwhile. *


Through Sept. 28

Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm, $45-$210

Orpheum Theatre

1192 Market, SF


The shaman, the oracle, and the engineer


MUSIC Two bra-clad figures peek through a shroud of fog onstage that’s every bit as thick as the shrieking white noise at Oakland’s Night Light. The sound is a perfect accompaniment for the sadomasochistic display before the audience. One woman’s lips press against another’s flesh, but if you lower your glance, you’ll notice among the chaos that one is slicing a blade across the other’s stomach like a ritualistic-looking sacrifice. Blood is drawn, even though they seem to be intimately embraced.

This was how Replicant, the live music/performance/visual art series with a penchant for the weird, chose to kick off the new year at their January showcase; Bad News, an industrial duo consisting of Sarah Bernat and Alex Lukas from Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively, headlined. On this night, they had also invited experimental conspirators Greer McGettrick (formerly of The Mallard) and Shannon Madden (Chasms) to join them during the performance. Madden said just a day before this gig that her relationship with Bernat had ended.

So was this arousal, anguish, or both? The audience, mostly in frozen silence by this point, was left to their own devices and had to interpret the definitive sensory overload for themselves. “We were bouncing a lot of ideas off each other, like ‘What can you do besides karaoke to your own music; make it transformative?'” said Madden, referring to conversations with Bernat, during a recent interview.

Bernat writes lyrics and plays guitar in her band and is usually tethered by her instrument, but she seemed possessed enough to become unleashed during this set. Somehow she maintained a straight-faced gaze throughout the cutting, even if she trembled a bit.

“It was totally emotional. We both knew that the only way to say goodbye was to do it on stage. I think there’s a reason why Chasms and Bad News are connected and I think it has something to do with suffering.”

pMadden said this was her last real interaction with her ex, but the two bands (who are on the same labels) will share a bill May 10 at Thee Parkside when Sleep Genius, the independent record label “born of the San Francisco fog” throws a showcase of its acts: Five mostly-local bands will give their own intimate and brooding examples of how new music is emerging from the underground — and what they’re doing to manifest a new direction.

There was nothing subtle about the bodies on stage that night in Oakland, nor the heavily-processed sound that came with it. Along with her collaborator, Jess Labrador, Chasms has a new LP, Subtle Bodies, due this June. Their live show is taking on a slightly different direction, sounding more blown-out and less concerned with pop-song sensibility time constraints. They’ve upped the ante on noise elements and are beefing up on drone.

“I’m using Alex [Lukas]’s gear. There’s a reason,” Madden said. “Alex is my shaman, oracle, and engineer.” She explained that the pedals she’s been using are not meant for her bass guitar. “It’s the first time Jess has ever kept a live take of mine and not edited it.” Labrador is the songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, and sometime drum programmer in this dark duo. “I could never do any of that without experiencing Alex or Sarah.”

Alongside a DX7ii synthesizer and other assorted gear, we’re huddled — Lukas, Madden, and I — inside his tidy Bayview District trailer. Other like-minded artists reside on the property, but his studio hasn’t been completely set up since he was priced out of his old 18th and Mission space, after his landlord raised the rent by 40 percent.

“The cost of living here is so high. People funnel so much of their money into rent,” he said. Having weathered two tech booms as an artist in the Bay Area — he’s been here since 1998 — Lukas knows what it’s like to sell CDs at Amoeba for “a brick of cheese.”

His dwelling is, nevertheless, a cozy hideaway, well-stocked with cassettes and a pretty chill black cat. We chat about how his ties with Madden run deeper than just his influence over how she plays. For one, they spent much of 2013 together at the helm of The Lab, a long-standing visual and performance art space near 16th & Mission that has seen many incarnations over the years.

“There aren’t a lot of spaces like [The Lab] in San Francisco anymore. When Sarah and then [Shannon] kept it active with shows and performances, it sort of compromised The Lab’s role as a venue for visual art, but made it more important than ever as a performance space,” he said.

Under their collective watch, The Lab hosted a variety of underground or emerging acts, like Wreck & Reference, Some Ember, Austin Cesear, Marshstepper, Disappearing People, and Dorian Wood.

Madden claimed the types of shows she was booking weren’t “artsy enough” for a visual arts space to be left alone by the city’s Entertainment Commission. Finding a platform for these types of acts is, she says, the bigger concern in the current “cultural economy” in San Francisco.

“People work high-paying jobs that require their brain. When they get off work, they wanna get shitfaced and hear Toro Y Moi. They don’t wanna go deep in some experimental avant, industrial shit. They want their brains to be massaged and they want to go to sleep, wake up, do it again and eat some fuckin’ food-truck food.”

She notes Oakland is sustaining as an impressive platform for the underbelly of electronic music. “They have a fortified interest in outsider stuff.” She hopes the culture in San Francisco shifts underground again, but in the meantime is happy to book at more traditional venues including Brick & Mortar, The Night Light and Elbo Room.

“It’s not about the space, even as intimate as it was. I want to give the local bands the best deal that I can and not risk it getting broken up. Lots of rad shit’s going to have to happen in a bar space.”

Sleep Genius Presents: Ringo Deathstarr with Sleep Genius artists Bad News, Chasms, Never Knows, and Cry

May 10, 9pm, $10-12

Thee Parkside

1600 17th St, SF

Live Shots: Hether Fortune gets cathartic at the Night Light


Last Friday it was Valentine’s Day, but all I saw was tears. I’ve wondered before how some musicians can sing some of their more emotional songs during live performance without becoming visibly emotional themselves. Aren’t they attached to those lyrics (especially if they’ve written them)? Are they desensitized by the one-hundredth time they play that song about having their heart ripped out by the one who doesn’t even love them anymore? Or worse yet — the one who never did? It wasn’t full-on sobbing, but last Friday, Hether Fortune wouldn’t hold it in.

Peculiarly sandwiched on the bill at the most recent installment of the experimental/industrial-focused REPLICANT Presents series at Oakland’s Night Light, Fortune was scheduled in between opening and headlining acts to deliver an intimate solo set, sans Wax Idols. I had gone anticipating that it would be a rare treat.

hether fortune
Heather Fortune photos by Sadie Mellerio

You’re supposed to be with your lover on Valentine’s. You’re not supposed to be alone. That’s the worst-case scenario if you buy into the norms and expectations placed on yet another commercialized holiday. But imagine being alone, not only because you don’t have your bandmates (Wax Idols) to musically support you, but because you’re going through a divorce. Meanwhile, you’re up on stage about to perform in front of an audience. Certainly not one to hide or shy away from the spotlight, Fortune embraced her predicament. Instead, she announced that in fact, this is her situation.

After Vestals (armed with a guitar and gear that looped layers of complimentary noise) finished her opening set, DJs mixed acid techno with whatever tracks Barn Owl saw fit for spinning that night. But then the room seemed different. One could sense the changing of the atmosphere right down to the molecules because of Fortune’s poised, gothic and graceful presence.

hether fortune

Standing tall without a band or a man; her lanky, trademark androgynous figure appeared on an un-lit stage. Draped in a lacy, button-down blouse; our dually-wounded, heavy-hearted warrior had to face the harsh reality of her bandaged finger that had been crushed and ripped open by an amplifier in an accident a week earlier.

She carefully tuned her weapon of choice — a beautiful black-and-white Danelectro 12-string guitar. The instrument, combined with a hard-cover bound journal (perhaps containing a set list, lyrics, or maybe just her thoughts) that lay at her feet, conjured bohemian images of a hippie-freak, pre-T.Rextasy-era Bolan about to play Middle Earth or some coffee shop.

hether fortune

Stripped of arrangement and with not much more than her soul to bear, the vibe of her set was very much singer-songwriter with an emphasis on despair. While her vocal-style seemed to channel the aura of Bowie, it was her strumming of that jangling guitar, with its larger-than-life sound, that seemed like it could fill the universe with its unwavering, doleful tone.

In a genuinely honest moment and without any dramatic intonation, she quickly uttered “This is tough” into the microphone. Lyrics to a cover song were muddled in the sound system, and then we were treated to a new song, apparently never heard by anyone before. By that point, the words almost didn’t matter since we were already running high on emotion.

hether fortune

Towards the end, tears welled up, overflowing onto her thick eye-liner, mid-song. I was somewhat stunned by the display of emotion, but not at all alienated. The entire thing could have been awkward for both audience and performer, but in reality everyone seemed receptive to what she had to express that night. It was an opportunity to connect on a deeper level or however those who were subjected saw fit.

One could interpret it all as a damaged, agonizing wail and while that may hold some validity, it would trivialize the more noble qualities of a veteran, seasoned ahead of her time, demonstrating strength in sharing vulnerability while ultimately remaining in control. Numbness worn off, Fortune delivered something beautiful only the lonely might fully understand.

Goldies 2014 Performance/Music: Brontez Purnell


GOLDIES After being informed that Bay Guardian editors and a theater critic vetted his Goldie nomination, Brontez Purnell reacts. “I think it’s fuckin’ rad. I’m pretty into it. A theater critic? Was I criticized?”

Sitting in the backyard of his Mission District apartment, braced leg extended with crutches at his side, Purnell reflects on roughly 12 years of living in the Bay Area (his Mission digs are temporary; he’s about to move back to Oakland). A storyteller of many mediums, his injury prevents him from dancing until mid-March, which is no good since he’s the founder of the Brontez Purnell Dance Company. If you’ve lived here a minute, you might recognize him as a former Sparky’s Diner waiter, working the “drunk tank” every Saturday night.

“When I was 24, my entire dating pool had seen me dance naked or in my underwear — literally get fingered at a Gravy Train!!!! show. They’d see [me] there and think they could be mean to me like, ‘Gimmie my fries!'” He recalls this, along with other illicit memories from his time in the Oakland-based, exclamation point-loving electro clash band.

But like fans of that fad, he’s moved on. He’s 31 now and for the past 10 years the music he writes, records, and performs live is for his band Younger Lovers. Its newest record, Sugar In My Pocket, recently came out on Southpaw Records.

“I don’t think anyone knew I had this background of a punk that had been playing in bands since I was a teenager,” he says, explaining there was overlap between the two music projects with distinctly different flavors, though Younger Lovers’ first album initially received a “hateful response from a lot of the gay boys around.

Everyone thought it was this flash-in-the-pan thing, but it’s something I was actually working on for a long time. It was cool to smash a lot of assumptions with Younger Lovers. People would say, ‘Wow, we didn’t know you played an instrument. We thought you were just kind of drunk and danced around.'”

Guardian photo by Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover

People still ask him about those old shows, but he admits to not

remembering a lot of it and that some of that life bleeds over to now. “I would call myself an alcoholic.

I would never call myself a drug addict. I feel like the next set of Younger Lovers’ songs will probably be about addiction.”

Purnell is nothing if not self-aware; he points out his own patterns of over-consumption, whether it be food, men, drugs, or alcohol. But his ability to turn weakness into strength is artistry in itself. In his dance company’s The Episodes, universal themes of struggling with identity and finding oneself are apparent, but being black and gay only makes the search for acceptance that much harder.

“I romanticize the outsider. There’s always going to be this running theme of me versus the world, but it’s never so personal to me because I feel like I’m embodying the story of 100 of my friends in one voice.”

In one sequence, “Tub,” Purnell soaks a new pair of jeans while talking on the phone to a friend. The veil of humor is used to deal with heavier topics, as he segues from commentary on butch gays (or “bearded ladies,” as he likes to call them) with their trendy “Hitler Youth haircuts” and how he’s disappointed when they think he’s too effeminate for them, to his own T-cell count, to some suspiciously descriptive-drug scenarios that involve snorting heroin. Another segment recalls a “redneck teacher bitch” from his home state of Alabama, giving the class scientifically incorrect and insensitive, to say the least, explanations of where AIDS comes from.

“I never let humor interfere with what is definitely a message,” Purnell says. “Underneath it all, there is going to be that point where somebody is like, ‘Oh shit. He’s not joking. He’s joking, but he’s totally not joking.’ Humor is actually a really dangerous tool.”

His truth, he says doesn’t always set him free, but as the saying goes — sometimes it hurts. And that’s the beauty of what Purnell does: He looks at his reality, his disappointments, and his personal achievements, and he’s able to persist. He remains one of the more resilient creative forces on the scene he helped make, despite oftentimes receiving second-tier ranking to some of his contemporaries.

Does he play the victim? Well, he gets accused of it a lot, but that’s because of “people’s fucked-up views on what a victim is.” He recites a James Baldwin quote he loves: “The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat.”

In short: Purnell is not a victim — he’s a fighter. And as a singer, songwriter, musician, choreographer, dancer, and performer, he proves himself by doing all these things … and then some.

Cover me bad


MUSIC Halloween’s like Christmastime for crafty weirdoes. But for me, crudely sewn, elaborate costumes are only half the fun. Around these parts, creativity seems to peak during what is arguably the most wonderful time of the year. The Bay Area particularly steps it up by honoring the punk band tradition of the Halloween cover show (where legendary bands are paid tribute through song and dress).

This year’s Total Trash Halloween Bash ( offers some of the usual suspects when it comes to rockers delivering camouflaged covers. However, with Nobunny channeling Bo Diddley as “Nodiddley” and Russell Quan joining Shannon and the Clams as Los Saicos, we step out of the box that usually brings us Cramps and Misfits covers. While those shows are completely appropriate (along with the typical homage to bands like the Ramones, the Damned, and Alice Cooper) and have proven popular, Oakland’s sentimental-grunge act, Yogurt Brain, has opted to take on Weezer this year. Rest assured — fans of the Blue Album and Pinkerton won’t be disappointed.

“I can’t wait to hear them do ‘Buddy Holly’ live,” Nobunny emails back in anticipation. Figuring it’s not the masked-man’s first time at the rodeo, I asked him and a few others about the origins of this tradition. No one seemed to be able to pinpoint exactly when and where it started, but Mark Ribak from Total Trash Productions quipped Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer “probably invented it” as an alternative to seeing the Cramps on Halloween (Bill Graham Presents booked an annual Cramps Halloween show in SF starting in the mid-1980s).

Ironically, Nobunny’s first, full-cover set would be the Cramps back in 2009; the same year front man Lux Interior died. I asked far and wide and got scattered remnants of Halloween parties past (like the time a member of Chicago’s Functional Blackouts recalled his previous band dressing in drag, billing themselves as Pretty Pretty Pretty Princess, and doing Bikini Kill songs in 1999).

“Here it definitely seems like more of an event than other cities I’ve lived in, but cover shows seem to happen everywhere in every city,” says Stephen Oriolo, Yogurt Brain’s guitarist and songwriter. He’s gotten into the theatrical spirit so much that by press time he’ll already have done a couple of shows as TRAWGGZ (a Troggs cover band) with members of the now defunct Uzi Rash. “Halloween is a time to be something you’re not. Merging that idea with parties or shows naturally makes sense to do a cover set.”

LA Burger bands like Pangea and Audacity have covered Nirvana and Adolescents respectively. Closer to home, the Clams, who are repeat offenders, have done Devo and Creedence Clearwater Revival (which by all accounts was something you had to see to believe), and Uzi Rash made minds melt with a searing interpretation of Monks songs, shaved heads included (Thee Parkside’s Hallorager II, another Halloween show, will have a different Monks cover band this year.

As for some of Nobunny’s favorite Halloween tricks: “I like the pranksters, like Ty Segall doing the Spits when they were scheduled to be the Gories. Or my absolute favorite was when Uzi Rash, who were scheduled to play as the Fall, soundchecked as the Fall, and then came out at showtime and performed as the Doors. Great swindle!”

So put on your costume (you might even win a contest if it’s good) and have an old fashioned sing-along with a room full of equally pumped people at one of these shows. I just pray my chances of hearing “The Good Life” live doesn’t end up being a prank. The room is sure to erupt as the tradition thrives in the Bay.


Live Shots: Treasure Island Music Festival 2013


Maybe people just don’t know how to party anymore, but I didn’t come across vomit once at the Treasure Island Music Festival. The crowd’s vibe was more or less well-behaved all weekend — pretty chill considering how many people were clustered on the island for the fests’ seventh successful installment.

The organizers rely on big names, the unique setting, a variety of vendors, and plenty of distracting flash (including the nearly iconic 60-foot Ferris wheel you can ride at $5 a pop) in order to keep this thing a destination. 

It was my first TIMF experience and I’ll admit the lineup wasn’t exactly the selling point for me. I thought at least I could get nostalgic over Beck, while Detroit-duo ADULT. still holds a degree of allure. I figured I’d spend most of my time milling around (highly recommended for optimal people watching; plenty of fur) and hoped to stuff my face with tons of good food (the mac and cheese hit the spot, the fish and chips got too cold too fast, but the chicken and shrimp paella was a winner).

Kudos to the show’s producers, Another Planet Entertainment and Noise Pop Industries, in their efforts at keeping this ship running tight on many levels. It’s often noted that concertgoers won’t experience any scheduling conflicts between the two stages at this event (Outside Lands, you’ve been one-upped in this category). Plus the purchase of your ticket, which could have cost up to $150 for two-day general admission or $275 for VIP (depending on how you roll) entitled you to a free ride on their massive fleet of shuttle buses that ran back and forth from the island to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium drop off/pick-up point.

Even the Porta-Potty situation wasn’t anything near the bladder-punishing clusterfuck I’ve experienced at the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park (that’s free vs. a couple hundred bucks for ya). Entire sections of what resembled fairgrounds were dedicated to ample, underused, and very clean johns. So clean I didn’t think twice about picking up a wadded $20 bill that had another inside of it!

That may sound questionable, but I was too busy enjoying the warmth of my makeshift shelter since the temperature seemed to drop by more than 20 degrees on the island during Night One. Thom Yorke complained during his Atoms for Peace headlining set when he mentioned how he came to the Cali sun to get away from the British cold and gloom. No such luck for the rock star. The winds were relentless. Sunday seemed to grow even colder, and the winds whipped up even earlier than the day before. 

From a curator’s standpoint, the musical difference between days one and two were notable. Saturday was much heavier on the electronic and hip-hop side. That day’s lineup included a ridiculous hype-filled set by duo Major Lazer, which passed out party whistles as soon as it hit the stage, shot t-shirts from a handheld air cannon, and at one point, a member (maybe Diplo?) ran on top of the crowd inside a giant-inflatable ball that resembled a hamster’s toy. It all seemed like an over-budgeted high-school pep rally, but the crowd ate it up. Indeed, it was an impressive spectacle.

Sunday seemed less druggy (the day before, the same man somehow managed to ask me twice at different locations of the largely anonymous-feeling fest, where he could get some “MDMA”) less attended, and more laid back in tone. Children and adults alike ran through a trippy bubble display put on by a carnie-type vendor. Acts like Japandroids, Sleigh Bells, and Animal Collective provided respective returns to rock, power pop, and instrumental intensive sets with a global flare.

Beck’s set relied heavily on post-Midnite Vultures material, but I was happy to hear him sing about those old “hotwax residues.” He brought Sleigh Bells’ Alexis Krauss on stage with him just as I was heading back to the shuttle busses. Apparently I missed the cover of MJ’s “Billie Jean.”  Instead, I rode in luxury through a thick wall of fog to the mainland where a treasure of a local music scene lies waiting, markedly untapped this year. 

Mexican summer


MUSIC There was no reason for me to be awake at 7:31am, since I’d flown into Mexico City the day before. Losing two hours of sleep from the time change left me dazed. Exactly 10 minutes later my hotel room started to shake. I sat up, alarmed, and assessed the commotion I heard in the hallway before I realized I was experiencing a 6.2 earthquake from the fifth floor. I clicked on the TV and saw structured evacuations of buildings that could have easily been near me. I wondered if I should be doing the same, but the shaking stopped. It was like my welcoming jolt — “Get ready, you’re with us now. You do what we do.”

I’d trekked to this monster of a city before, but only spent three days last time. I loved it on a touristy level and knew I wanted more, so I planned a return this summer. Coincidentally, SF’s Alcoholocaust Presents (which books punk shows) had Los Headaches and Los Vincent Black Shadows slated for some Bay Area appearances shortly before my trip, as part of both Mexico City bands’ West Coast summer tour. Intrigued, I spent two consecutive nights at the Hemlock Tavern checking out the bands, which were bouncing off the walls with energy (even when the musicians weren’t playing). Bob Log III and the Okmoniks headlined to a hot and crowded club the second night.

I bought Los Headaches’ CD, Never Ending Hunger, the night before from Twist!, the bassist [Ed. note: All last names are omitted to protect the band members from immigration]. At the time I didn’t realize he’s really not a member of the band (I figured they had interchangeable members since he is in Los Vincent Black Shadows) and that US Immigration, some weed in a guitar case, and those pesky work visas had marred the tour plans of two Headaches; granting them deportations and a five-year ban on US entry. Alcoholocaust would put me in touch with Twist! He’d be my point of contact for a week of strangers showing me kindness, sharing music, and letting me in on parts of the city I may have not otherwise seen.



“Ever had Mezcal?” Twist! asked. I’d been off the sauce for nine months, but before I arrived an itinerary email suggested plans to infiltrate an invite-only VICE party (where the Growlers played), record shopping (my request), seeing some venues where local bands play or a house show (ultimately my goal), and the problematic hint of grabbing some beers.

We ate a salmon and caper pizza and I was introduced to chimichurri at a restaurant in the trendy Condesa neighborhood. His wife and 5-month-old joined, along with Carlos (one of the deported Headaches). Everyone but me had a beer. “Yes,” I answered. “What about pulque?” he retorted. The concoction of fermented agave sap evaded me on my previous trip. In the spirit of trying new things and rather than be a slave to any rules about substance (yet cautious not to be enslaved by the bottle), I decided the next day to alleviate my anxiety and imbibed.

“It’s like Jeeez” Fosi said, joking about the drink’s suspect consistency in a thick accent. (They told me they don’t normally speak English, but since my Spanish is limited they made an exception). He’s the other deported Headache, a guitarist who faced tough questioning and an invasive search from immigration officers who threatened him with up to 20 years in jail if he didn’t adequately cooperate. One mango, one pistachio: down the hatch. Both were delicious and I had no regrets, body buzz and all.

Hell bent on finding an in to the VICE party, a barrage of texts and phone calls flew across the table. Pepe (Twist!’s brother and Los Headaches’ drummer) met us at the bar. I envisioned the lost home video mentioned of the two brothers taking turns throwing themselves into a drum set, honing their Nirvana impersonations as kids.

Their conversations lapsed into Spanish as another stressful development arose when a band showcase they organized at the last minute for Friday night was suddenly jeopardized by greed (the person who was going to lend the art space was now asking $300. It wasn’t clear to me if that meant pesos or US dollars). For a moment my stomach sank and I thought there might be a shakedown, but a house was secured. They’d throw a party, free of charge.

Despite the free hors d’oeuvres and Dos Equis we stumbled upon at a Volcom party for a new shoe line, it probably paled compared to any exclusive party. I passed on the Growlers (a few of the band members snuck in) since Friday’s showcase would be the main event.



Nico called my name to join him for a walk to the liquor store. Bleached-blond with shades, there’s no way he’s not in a band. He plays guitar and sings (they all sing) and was the final Headache I met in Mexico City. He described the common response from girls when they ask what he does and he tells them he plays rock’n’roll: they’re not interested. I said freelance music writing doesn’t pay well either. “We are losers,” he joked.

They don’t often get paid to play, but the determination to simply do what they love with their lives seemed to be the core of their existence. The showcase came together in a series of sweaty, passionate, punk-rock performances. Grandma Boys, Suca Suca, and Los Reverse demonstrated spirited, supportive roles for the aforementioned bands.

“This is for you. This is all for you, man,” Twist! said, almost staring through me with intensity. Party mode had climaxed, but the profundity of what transpired didn’t sink in until later. The day before I left, Fosi asked, “Did you get what you came for?” I told him “And then some.” Humbled, lucid, and feeling alive, I left fulfilled. My reward is that I remember everything.


Undercover Juggalo


MUSIC When I pitched attending one of the Insane Clown Posse’s shows from its two-night stand at the Oakland Metro as an “undercover juggalo,” I felt the need to make it clear to my editor that I was not a fan. This would just be for a story and fun pics. I wanted documentation of the Detroit “horrorcore”-rap duo’s strange appearance in the Bay Area, but more importantly, of the fucked-up subculture and fan base that ICP has bred over the years.

Given the band’s notoriety for misogynistic lyrics, alleged violence at shows (plus the added element of the FBI’s 14-month investigation of juggalos as a potential gang threat); my perceptions of the band and its followers being a generally trashy bunch who boast bad music had me thinking, this could be my scariest assignment ever.

Going in drag was partly to protect myself. As a native Midwesterner (born and raised in Michigan) I thought I knew damn well what I was getting into. Elements of my past were about to come crashing into my present-day self and surroundings. My preconceived notions of juggalos, largely based on living in Michigan when the group found fame in the mid-to-late ’90s, were superficial and prejudiced, but not completely unfounded (grabbing the nearest trucker hat, donning ugly cargo pants, and putting on a pair of 10-year-old Nikes was totally the right thing to do). I thought hiding behind face paint would be an easy in for acceptance or at least a good cover.

I had important questions: What are Bay Area juggalos like? Why is this happening in Oakland? Would it really just be the Central Valley invading? Black juggalos?! WTF?! Does that even exist?

Beforehand a friend of mine agreed with my concerns and quipped it was going to be like entering some “ultimate societal vortex.” Others warned me to brush up on my juggalo lore as I wouldn’t want to be exposed as a poser. I did my homework, read a few good articles on The Gathering and watched a really sad YouTube video about a juggalette mom who calls in to a radio show to tell the story of her baby who died shortly after birth in the hospital. She uses that story to fulfill her obsession with scoring free ICP merch.

Reverse racist, white-trash poser

Nervous about walking the streets and getting on BART with my face painted, I still had to get from San Francisco to my destination. I wasn’t sure how people would react.

I was glad to have my friend and photographer, Dallis, along for the ride. Although he wouldn’t join me in wicked clown make-up, he did help me feel as if I wasn’t completely alone. He quizzed my knowledge on the topic at hand and casually dropped the term “white trash.” It’s not an epithet I like to use, but I agree there are worse. Unfortunately, this is the one assigned to the juggalo.

Just about everyone looks down upon and ostracizes them like they’re a symbol for what’s wrong with Middle America. I got some strange stares on the train, but that was about it. Once we popped through the tunnel and found our stop, some fellow “ninjas” (who looked like frat boys) noticed me. They asked if I had any more face paint. Unaware if they were legit fans or if this was mockery, I asked if they were going to the show. It turned out they were being un-ironic (I saw them later at the Metro), so I guess I was the poser.

Waiting in a long line wrapped around the building with “The Family” was the best part of the night. Finally, I had power in numbers (though not all juggalos wear the paint). It was familiar to me, not just because of Midwest roots, but because of fanaticism over a music act. Their energy was electric. They wanted to see their heroes, Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J perform. That’s when it clicked. This was all about inclusion.

We couldn’t get over how nice everyone was. At one point Dallis was trying to get a picture, but was tapped on the shoulder by a juggalo who told him to get closer for a better angle. It was uncharacteristic of the pretense among the crowd at a typical Bay Area show.

Sure, my jaw dropped when I finally deciphered that one of the opening act’s lyrics that I was bopping my head to was, “dead girls don’t say no,” but why is it that I give fellow Detroiter DJ Assault a pass when I laugh hysterically at his raunchy sampled lyrics like “suck my mutha-fucking dick,” or consider “Ass ‘n Titties” to be anthemic? Am I a reverse racist, or is it simply taste in music and the understanding that you don’t have to believe in the lyrics or take them to heart, kill people with a hatchet, etc.?

Shock value and entertainment are nothing new here. Witnessing the unrelenting Faygo shower (Faygo “pop” is from Michigan and comes in a variety of weird flavors) is like being a kid on the Fourth of July watching fireworks. Scary clowns dressed in glittered gowns dance on stage and shake two-liter bottles, letting the candy-scented foam spray onto the audience as it shimmers in the light, and it is a true spectacle. The takeaway: juggalos are the salt of the Earth.

Video Premiere: The Trashies do the worm


The view from my studio apartment’s bay windows includes a clear view of my building’s garbage chute. Often times the chute gets clogged and the trash piles high for days. I think about it and freak out over how it will fester and potentially attract vermin. Obviously, I don’t like it when that happens, but I’ve thought to myself, “Man, that dude from Uzi Rash would really love it here.”

So what’s the Oakland frontperson (with an affinity for making his own refuse-themed jams) been up to since the Rash cleared up? Well, as this video post depicts, Max Nordile is literally writhing around in muck and he’s got some friends in the Trashies that have joined him.

“I’m a Worm” off their fourth LP, Teenage Rattlesnakes, is another Dan Shaw-directed VHS video, starring Nordile and his band mates in this gunked-up role. Most of them are from Seattle (including members of Unnatural Helpers, TacocaT, and Shitty Pete and the Fucks), but the East Bay influence is clear.

The video opens with some accusatory name calling before panning over to the band members working through their “mangled Monks worship” as they conduct full-body pantomime as the scum of the Earth. A shrill, descending guitar solo later, each one them has made a mess of their white shorts by the time they’ve reached the finish line comprised of a dilapidated set of instruments.  

I’m told wriggling around at Albany Bulb’s mud flats is a gross and “smelly affair”.  Seems these worms may never learn.

The West Coast tour, “West Coast Worms Save Music,” starts Fri/31 and coincides with the album release.

In Oakland: June 4  with Courtney n’ the Crushers, Shannon and the Clams and Wet Spots at the Stork Club.

In San Francisco: June 12th with Buffalo Tooth and Scraper at the Hemlock Tavern.

Who are you?


MUSIC Can dreams come true or is it all a teenage wasteland? The remains of British mod band (some prefer to call them rockers) the Who are being scraped together for the latest round of nostalgia when original members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey perform their second rock opera, 1973’s Quadrophenia, in its entirety at Oakland’s Oracle Arena this Fri/1.

I certainly have a soft spot for the band (despite the ’03 investigation and arrest of Townshend for accessing a child pornography website — he claimed it was for research on a book he was writing, and it was concluded that he never downloaded images), having owned its boxed-set since I was about 17. It’s doubtful this tour, which has been getting mostly positive reviews, needs any hype. After all — it’s the Who.

While ’69’s Tommy is generally regarded as its masterpiece and the standard as far as rock operas are concerned, (essayist Dave Marsh pointed out that mini operas like the Townshend-penned, “A Quick One While He’s Away” and “Rael” are their precursory “rock dramas”) the band continued this concept with a follow-up, even though the pressure of matching previous success reportedly lead to Townshend’s nervous breakdown.

Marsh’s essay The Who In America calls the introspective album a search for “where it all went wrong”: the it being an overly encompassing view of ’60s-rock stardom along with the counterculture; but at the same time, it mainly tells the story of Jimmy, the album’s protagonist, and his identity struggle (the whole violent, London mods vs. rockers thing). Still, Townshend’s self-analysis sounds majestic, but could be criticized as both vain and myopic, considering the band’s initial hits hadn’t even been around for a decade by that time.

The era bred stiff competition among bands and their contemporaries in both songwriting ability and recording technique, but also serves as a reminder that these larger-than-life artists were competing against themselves. Each album was measured against its predecessor. For a glimpse at Townshend’s fragile psyche, we could turn to one of its overshadowed albums, 1967’s The Who Sell Out.

In his book, Revolution In The Head, music critic Ian MacDonald calls Townshend “acid-inflated” during this period. He continues, saying he could barely write focused songs, much less hits. However, it was the Beatles who in 1968 were “provoked by hearing that the Who had gone all out on [its] latest track to achieve the most overwhelming racket imaginable.” This caused a paranoid reaction to outdo the Who (already notorious for impolite stage antics, i.e. toppling over Hiwatt amps, kicking over drum kits, and smashing guitars) by recording something raunchy and thrashing of their own. The result was “Helter Skelter”.

Sir Paul McCartney (widely credited as the song’s main, if not, sole composer) would reveal the Townshend track in question as “I Can See For Miles,” which ended up being a hit single. In fact, it was the only single from Sell Out, despite the album’s heavyweight melodies, intricate Beach Boys harmonies, and a maturing lyrical wit, that ranges from comedic to confessional.

“Sunrise” in particular, is the tale of profound loneliness, or at least, of a man wasting away his reality. He dreams day and night of either a lost love or of one that never existed in the first place. “Each day I spend in an echoed vision of you.”

The plucked acoustic strings throughout the song serve as metaphor for his own heavy heartstrings. He turns down the possibilities of love as he’s haunted by his visions, unable to move beyond them. When he does awake, it’s hopeless. “Then again you’ll disappear/my morning put to shame.” Singing in a haze, or in the tone of a lullaby, he fears everyday will be unfulfilling, just as the last. Meanwhile, his lament for the object of his desire consumes him.

It’s no surprise this feel-bad theme is repeated in the appropriately-titled “Melancholia” (a bonus track from the album’s reissue). The imagery couldn’t be clearer or more succinct when Daltrey and Townshend deliver a call-and-response vocal of one line in particular. Townshend taunts Daltrey in a sing-song voice posing as life itself, singing, “The sun is shining”. Daltrey, the embodiment of depression, screams out in response his tortured realization, “but not for me!”

If MacDonald was critical of Townshend’s acid phase for not producing hits, he should have listened to some of these deeper cuts for content. Unfortunately not every album had the ability to emerge from Tommy’s shadow, but the Who’s sound and focus always remained intact.


Fri/1, 7:30pm, $37.50–$123.25 Oracle Arena 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl.


YEAR IN MUSIC 2012: Beach squelch shimmy


YEAR IN MUSIC Imagine a frustrated ghost floating above his own funeral. He might hear someone getting the eulogy wrong or even see an unwanted guest. One of the benefits of having your band come to an end rather than your own demise is living to react to retrospectives of your creative output and impact. But as I write this, Uzi Rash isn’t quite dead yet. In fact, it has one last breath of doing what it does best — live performance.



It was the type of weather where you only sometimes need a coat and had been raining on and off. Wearing too many layers, I found the address where the band said it’d be practicing. The garage was wide open and I got a friendly wave to come in.

The group’s final incarnation, featuring founding band leader Max Nordile, Steve Oriolo (Steve0) on bass, and new drummer, Erin Allen, was preparing for a new recording and its first national tour. Aptly titled “End Days — Last Tour” it would be its last altogether. (This was solidified when I was handed a swag pair of generic party-dude shades wrapped in cellophane. I opened them and found Uzi Rash 2007-2012 boldly written in black on white on one of the temples.)

A live sneak-preview performance of the cassette, The Garbageman’s Uniform (Minor Bird Records) was preceded by stage-ready versions of more familiar sounding songs. We talked baseball a bit during a beer run, even though the postseason hadn’t yet begun. The A’s were still doing well and that’s where we were — on MLK in Oakland.

“You truly are a noise-ician. Keep it stupid, stupid,” Nordile, clad in a Grass Widow t-shirt, quipped to his drummer on a particularly up-tempo number. Earlier, he complimented the newest member’s ability to learn over 20 songs in about a month and a half’s time. Allen smiled at some of the mistakes that were made and the three wondered if they needed to dumb it down even more.

They ran through another song twice because Nordile said it went too fast. His bassist conceded with the line, “You’re the maestro.” To which he lightheartedly replied, “The maestro has decomposed.” After a few chuckles practice ended somewhat abruptly when Nordile’s guitar string broke.


Despite any corrections or control, it didn’t seem like perfection in a refurbished sense is what he was going for. I don’t think they were hamming it up for me when they foraged from bins of discarded food, which included some less-than-fresh looking bagels outside a church down the block. Nordile would later articulate part of his concept as a stance against the desacralization of nature.

“Waste, detritus, trash and garbage are documents, like fossils of the wasteful and destructive aspects of civilization,” he said. It’s that very affinity for what some consider undesirable that has fueled themes, inspired songs, and had allowed for five years of non-stop live shows that thrived on chaos and confusion (sometimes there was blood).

The industrial-strength cacophony is apparent when you listen to the final product of Uzi Rash recordings. What started as a solo project out of Nordile’s desire to not have to depend on anyone became a virtual who’s-who of East Bay-band inbreeding some 30-plus members later. Ultimately, Nordile would be calling the shots, but he’d rely on his like-minded community of supporting players and embrace their complimentary abilities by having them around. Something he considered a huge improvement.

By the time you read this, their last performance will have come and gone and Nordile will have screamed along to “I’m a Trashbag” with the deepest conviction. Oakland has long served as a gritty breeding ground for so many acts that never got their fair due or enough recognition, but with Uzi Rash, we recognize their ability to put Dylan in self-deprecating drag, to recycle a riff, rip a melody (sometimes a whole song title straight up), but to put their own “beach squelch shimmy” spin on it and make it exciting.

“Rock’n’roll has been mostly boring white boys with guitars. I am too, but I realize it and strive to acknowledge it and move on.” With that we take the boogie or, booji, as he’d say in stride and wait while Nordile casually contemplates his next music project because five years is up.


Skipping Bridge School: a happenstance Saturday in San Francisco


For me, things usually go better when the unexpected happens, like this past weekend when my half-assed plans to attend Saturday’s installment of Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit Concert fell through. Instead of seeing Axl, as he reportedly flubbed the lyrics to “Welcome to the Jungle,” I stayed local to witness part of a San Francisco tradition and later, one of the more sensory provoking and delightfully weirdo art performances I’ve seen in a while. This surprise night out-on-the town turned out to be a success.

First, I headed to the 20th Annual Clarion Alley Block Party (much later than I had intended) after taking note that both Swiftumz and Apogee Sound Club had daytime sets. By the time I got there, it was nightfall. Most of the bands had already played and I missed the only acts I was familiar with.

In a rush to catch whatever I could, I whizzed by the famously muraled alley’s perimeter so I could enter from Valencia Street. I was surprised to hear what sounded like 1990s grunge leaking from the crevices between crammed houses; I entered the free event and joined the crowd for what was apparently an unannounced performance by Two Gallants.

People perched on a rooftop, much like the audience below, were treated to songs I recognized from their first album in five years, The Bloom and the Blight. I’ve been told their live shows are really good and after listening to them deliver a heavy, yet melodic set for my first time, I too was convinced. The guy standing next to me said it was cool for the duo to come back and play Clarion for free after blowing up, considering they’re both so symbolic of San Francisco.

This, however, would be a mere snack before the main course that was to come. Sure, I stopped off at Arinell’s for a slice, but that’s not even what I’m talking about. My next stop would be The Lab on 16th  Street for night two of San Diego performance project Cathedral X’s weekend residency. My only frame of reference was that I was in for some eerie frequencies and that there was the potential for nudity.

Since I was already in the Mission, I headed to the art space at 9:30 (that unfashionable time when it’s too early for people to go to a show). Right off the bat, I heard ESG rotating from a chic Lucite turntable stand and took it as a good sign of where the night would go. Next to the DJ was a young woman in what looked like a witches hat giving tarot readings. I had time to kill and the vibe was already awkward, so I figured, why the hell not?

I sat down and trusted that the oracle would have some kind of mystical wisdom for me. I ended up paying a hefty price (I didn’t see her $20 suggested donation sign until halfway through the reading) but definitely got some good feedback on how to look into my past in order to move forward. That may sound generic, but it’s because I’m sparing you the in-depth details of what virtually ended up being a therapy session.

Oakland’s Straight Crimes opened; both the drummer and guitarist did a fine job, but I couldn’t help but notice how out of place the duo seemed in such a sterile environment. They admitted it felt like being an art installment (in a sense they were) and said just the night before they’d played a squat in the East Bay; which I assumed matched their punk aesthetic far better.  But the night’s theme was experimentation and by stepping out of those pre-conceived constructs, the event pushed boundaries – and with Cathedral X, that’s exactly what we got.

The spirit of Yoko Ono records from some 40 years ago were recalled when jarring shrieks coming from a blindfolded woman entered the room. She was joined by her fellow blindfolded performers, a man and another woman, as they stumbled around the room while the audience politely moved out of harm’s way. Meanwhile, an unassuming man dressed quite plainly in jeans played drone synthesizer and aforementioned eerie tones from the sidelines.

It took me a while to get into it and I thought I was in for a night of performance art clichés, but once I noticed there was substance to the music and that the interpreters were more than just props going through the motions and were integral to the group’s overall sound, I started to enjoy myself.

Highlights included the climactic moment when two women emerged bare-chested, faces obscured by hoods, but connected by bondage. Music every bit as moody as Tangerine Dream’s soundtrack to Firestarter played in the background while they attempted to separate from one another silently, but the chains would not relent. Ultimately they failed and collapsed out of exhaustion accepting a fate of sensory deprivation and togetherness for what could be eternity.

If it takes a visit from a San Diego group to help keep San Francisco weird, then I’m all for supporting this. The audience seemed to like it too.

End of days for Uzi Rash


Finito. Doneski. Kaput. Well, that may be putting it harshly, but Uzi Rash’s five years of fame is just about up. So says frontman Max Nordile who is winding down this East Bay band with two last hurrahs.  They’ll simultaneously release one last LP, Coreless Roll Can-Liner (1234 Go! Records) as they kick off “Uzi Rash (2007-2012) End Days Last Tour” on Oct. 28. There is also word that a final, final cassette release, The Garbageman’s Uniform is near completion.

In the meantime you should go bananas and watch this Dan Shaw-directed, lo-fi video shot on a giant, grainy, camcorder that actually records using full-size VHS tapes (full disclosure: I make a cameo appearance — my music video debut right around the 1:30 mark).

Trust me, it wasn’t always sunshine and lollipops between the two of us. Nordile once stared me down and confronted me at a show after I had ignorantly mislabeled his band as a side project. I wised up. Still, he should be ashamed of himself for picking on a pipsqueak like me. But what else would you expect from a Neanderthal? Surely not good music. Here’s hoping for another day and a new dawn for him and any of his associate’s musical endeavors.

Only a few more chances to see Uzi Rash live in the Bay Area:

October 21st Indie Mart at Thee Parkside with White Mystery, Greg Ashley (formerly of Gris Gris) and Cracked Ice

October 26th Total Trash Halloween Bash pre-party at the New Parish in Oakland (Uzi Rash performs as The Fall) with Nobunny, Shannon and the Clams and Audacity

October 28th at 1234 Go! Records with Unnatural Helpers, Stillsuit and Synthetic ID

November 29th (Last show ever!) at Sugar Mountain in Oakland with Terry Malts, Apogee Sound Club, Yogurt Brain and Karen 



King Khan shares his spiritual side, hosts tarot reading contest


After talking to Arish “King” Khan over the phone last Friday, I got a sense of a more spiritual and sympathetic side as opposed to the notorious showman he’s become over the years. Along with his band — the Shrines, he’ll bring his traveling stage show to the Great American Music Hall on Tuesday. He spoke to me from Berlin, his residence for more than a decade, where he raises his family (yes, the man we’ve seen prance around on stage in sequined undies and flashy, feathery costume is also a father) in what continues to become a rapidly “hipster-fied” artists’ mecca.

Khan touched on his musical roots in Montréal where he was a 17-year-old-punk doing interviews with the likes of Napalm Death and the equally teenaged and “obnoxious” Jay Reatard  for a magazine known in the late 1990s as “Voice of Montréal.” It would later be renamed Vice. In fact one of his earlier bands, the Spaceshits (featuring Mark Sultan, a.k.a. BBQ) had a guitarist who designed the magazine’s current logo.

But it was this environment that would also serve as his training ground, where he’d learn his craft; absorb his antics and prepare to launch his own ritualistic rock and soul experience.

“When I was a kid, I’d be like 10 and watching infomercials for oldies music collections and saw Otis Redding, James Brown, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley. That’s really something essential to rock and roll — people who are characters.”

Character is one thing the ostentatious one isn’t short on, but his backing musicians in the Shrines are nothing to scoff at either. One of them, Ron Streeter, is a veteran percussionist who previously worked for Curtis Mayfield and Stevie Wonder.

Khan told some of Streeter’s story, how he became somewhat estranged from his family; not having seen his brother, a Vietnam vet, for over 25 years. He mentions Streeter had a stroke a few years before joining the band and lost power in half of his body. Khan said he’s always upbeat and that in the beginning, when they were touring, sleeping on floors, doing it “punk style,” that the elder was always fine with it.

“It was like he was reliving his past. Ron has been with us for 12 years. He’s like the grandpa of the band,” Khan said. “I found him when he started playing with people [because he wasn’t doing much anymore] and so I invited him to join. I think the Shrines thing is a big family.”

And for Streeter it would be a family reunion when lo and behold his family finally saw him in Texas on Current TV performing with the Shrines. Khan called it a miracle.

He said while every religion has something to offer, music is his salvation.

“It’s a pretty simple formula. You’re giving off a ritual. A lot of bands forget to do that.” He said some concertgoers revel in what he called an orgiastic, orgasmic experience of uncontainable energy. And he loves that younger people come out to his shows. “It’s great that kids aren’t hypnotized by bullshit,” he said.

While it’s not exactly hypnotism, Khan does partake in reading tarot cards. He learned about this after meeting surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky in Paris a few years back. The maker of Holy Mountain, a film Khan considers one of the most psychedelic ever made, gave him a pack of cards and he considers it an honor (he took it to heart and wrote a tarot column for a French fashion magazine).

Are you a big fan of King Khan & The Shrines and tarot cards? Want King Khan to read your tarot? If so, please email describing why you want King Khan to do your personal reading. It’ll take place on Tuesday, Sept. 4 before their Great American Music Hall show in SF. All entries must be received by noon this Friday, Aug. 31.

King Khan and the Shrines
With Apache
Tues/4, 8pm, $16
Great American Music Hall
859 O’Farrell, SF

Hot mess: Total Trash BBQ Weekend revisited


Punks, rockers — whatever you want to call it, the scene in Oakland definitely got more than messy this weekend as the Total Trash BBQ lived up to its name and then some. Between night one’s melee that spilled outside after the show (bloodied lips and all) and night two where MOM mucked up the floor (as she does), it’s safe to say partygoers got more than they bargained for.

Lately though I’ve noticed the East Bay does things a little bit different than San Francisco. For instance, Saturday at the time capsule of a venue called The Continental Club, patrons got infected by the sounds of Russell Quan, DJing oldies on full blast in between band sets.

The dance floor was always full of motion as people weren’t afraid to take advantage of the tunes. Comparatively, SF can sometimes be a little stiff. DJs’ sets at shows are often treated as background music. Then of course the whole scuffle incident was something out of the ordinary as people also weren’t afraid to throw punches.

Night One’s Mess:

The blueprint for things to come was laid down during an insanely intense set by LA’s Intelligence. You couldn’t escape the war call of driving drums and fatal sounding keys — I tried. I loved what I was hearing, but a combination of things inside of me had me seeking one of the club’s luxurious (in its own charmingly trashy way) booths to sit down for a spell.

From that vantage point I could see others in the audience reaching drunken thresholds, performing ninja kicks, and an older woman (who looked like she may have served some hard time) shoving her way through the crowd.

I caught my second wind and headed up front to see Shannon and the Clams. But it was towards the end of their set that I’d witness this one surreal episode: the guitarist-singer was supposed to chime in as usual with a distinct backing vocal, but was silent.

Shannon called him out on stage and simply said, “Cody!?” He was staring off to the side, kind of mesmerized. Seemingly dazed, he uttered into his mic, “uh…there’s a fight happening over there.” Sure enough it was the way-too-drunk ninja kicker and another dude who had gotten a little rambunctious during the last two bands.

From what I recall, there were attempts to bounce them. The crowd outside grew into a major distraction. The night pretty much dissolved into chaos at that point with aforementioned punches thrown. My friend and I high-tailed it out of there in an unfortunately expensive trans-bay cab ride after having seen enough.

But the night shouldn’t be characterized as being marred by violence. Overall it was fun to hang out in what truly was an impressive old soul circuit venue that I hope welcomes future shows. Slobsters did a comedic stink up the stage shtick while Rock N Roll Adventure Kids gave off all kinds of positive energy in their performance. Guantanamo Baywatch continued the good vibes so much that I even purchased their latest Burger cassette, Chest Crawl from the merch table.

Night Two, A Different Kind of Mess:

My friend in tow very accurately reviewed evening two at Eli’s Mile High Club by saying there was “purple drank and beaver everywhere.” While I didn’t try the concoction, plenty of bargoers washed grilled corn on the cob down their throats with the mixture out on the back patio.

The corn may have been tasty, but I have to credit MOM for her less-than-delectable (albeit less sweaty, bloody, and messy in general) antics than the last time I saw her. Sometimes she’d hike up her red dress, revealing that indeed she does go commando, other times her exposure just sort of happened as she’d be caught up in the moment writhing around in her own filth while distorted childrens’ music or the on-acid slow groove version of “Spirit in the Sky” played.

Given MOM’s reputation, it wasn’t surprising to see the audience clear a wide path for her performance. That’s not to say there wasn’t some nervous moments of me perched on a barstool, cornered next to her during Spin the Bottle. The only difference in her game was in true MOM form: victims were smothered in cake and pie. Somehow I made it out unscathed from a memorable messy weekend.


All photos by Dallis Willard

Queen bee


MUSIC “You wanna be this Queen Bee, but ya can’t be. That’s why you’re mad at me.” That was one of many audacious lines delivered by a much younger Lil Kim in her beautiful, black, Brooklyn accent on Hardcore, her raunchy debut album from 1996.

Now coming up on her 38th birthday, she just returned to the stage at San Francisco’s Mezzanine earlier this month; her performance not only had hip-hop fans who missed out asking, “How was the show?,” but also, “How did she look?”

Followers of the Geneva Diva’s career know these past 16 years since her debut LP dropped haven’t been easy. Sure, she’s released three more albums and got a Grammy for the Lady Marmalade remake, but rougher times saw her spend about 12 months in the slammer on perjury charges, and she’s been widely criticized for accusations of having undergone plastic surgery (photos may prove that point, and BET credits her as being one of the first hip-hop stars to have work done to their face).

Still, the fact remains, Kim loves her fans in SF, and the feeling is mutual. Appearing more youthful compared to some of the recent botched looking photos, Kim wore a crispy-looking blonde wig — perhaps extensions, whatever — and not surprisingly donned a skimpy sequined black and red ensemble that accompanied her backup dancers’ (I guess I’ll call them militant) looks. Think Rhythm Nation Janet, but scantily clad. Somehow she still had it goin’ on.

Four opening acts wore on the patience of a large number of feisty ladies in the audience. My photographer was even shoved for allegedly stepping “all over” the shoes of one particularly pushy woman’s sister. It was after midnight when Kim finally took the stage for a set that lasted little more than an hour. There she did her thing, delivering a rapid fire, foul- language trip down memory lane from rap’s pre-Auto-Tune era.

She always had a way with words and while they did grab our attention through shock value, I’ve always felt she didn’t receive enough credit for lyrical merit. Instead we focused attention on looks and her beefs with fellow female rappers (although that often made for great subject matter). To this day, these are still the kind of lyrics that can make you cringe.

Take for instance these slickly-delivered rhymes from “Queen Bitch” and “Not Tonight”, both deserving of gold medals: “Got buffoons eatin’ my pussy while I watch cartoons.” Now there’s a visual. And who can blame her for wanting to speak out for fed up ladies who were unsatisfied in the sack? “I don’t want dick tonight. Eat my pussy right.” Well said.

Back in the day a friend of mine once reduced her to being nothing more than a prostitute with a microphone, but let’s not sell her short. In “Big Momma Thang,” when Kim lets us know exactly how many times she wants to cum, (21, for those of you not in the know) she’s spreading her own original brand of sex ed.

“We Don’t Need It” is physiologically forthcoming in its call and response about what to lick, suck, and stroke, even advising to “work the shaft”. Elsewhere on the album she may be acting pseudo-psychological when she wonders: “What’s on ya mind?”, while that certain someone goes downtown.

Because hip-hop’s golden age had previously been male dominated, the timing was right for someone like Kim to pave the way, bringing in some say from the female perspective, especially with how she pointed out there’d be no such thing as a free fuck anymore.

It’s true the Biggies, the Puffies, and the Jay-Zs were all instrumental in Lil Kim’s success, but now it’d be tit for tat, so to speak, and it couldn’t have been pulled off without a pioneer like her — who was willing to take sexually charged content to a new, and quite frankly ridiculous, level of filth.

Uzi Rash lets it bleed at Bender’s


The stars aligned in a sinful sort of way this past weekend when warm weather coincided with the 4/20 holiday. I spent the evening at Bender’s for a night billed as: KUSF-in-Exile’s Blown Out, Blowout Benefit show.

And yes, someone’s old “magic” cookies found their way out of a deep freeze and made the rounds. But no cookie could steal the spotlight from any of the bands Friday night, especially Uzi Rash.

Cool Ghouls went second after Chen Santa Maria and seemed to pack in a younger crowd than maybe this Mission bar is used to. Mid-performance the power briefly went out, but they handled it quite professionally, even obliging an audience member’s request for a drum solo. Their set was solidly psych and they passed out a three-song sneak peak of their upcoming debut album. After the kids cleared out, Uzi Rash took to the stage as the headlining act.

For the most part, I was swept away by their driving beat, both pulsating and deafening. Cody Blanchard (of Shannon and the Clams) stood his ground, nonchalantly strumming his guitar. Not to say he was simply going through the motions; his demeanor just gave the impression of stage confidence. The drummer worked up a frenzy, flailing his arms with sticks in hands. But the showmanship was about to kick up a notch.

At one point, I looked towards the floor at my red, mucked-up Chuck Taylor’s, bopping my head blissfully. When I raised my glance out of release, I noticed that front person Max Nordlie now had blood dripping from his forehead. 

I was too busy grooving and had missed the moment of impact. I’d seen Nordlie do this at least once before, where he takes the mic and punishes himself with it. I’ve seen portrayals of demonic possession, or perhaps this is his catharsis, but that’s what it resembles when his body contorts from his expressive face, down to the sea-green painted toenails.

Of course he’s belting it out pretty good the whole time riffing on Dylan songs with the Maggie’s Farm-sounding “I Don’t Wanna,” off Uzi Rash’s latest LP Whyte Rash Time. Aforementioned cookie ingested, things kind of blurred as the night wore on, but if memory serves me right, I do believe he also attempted to hammer a shoe to the wall.

The set was swift and severe and the looks on the faces of those who stuck around when the blood started to flow was priceless. It was sort of somewhere between pro-wrestling and East Bay rock’n’roll. I guess if it’s not worth bleeding for, you might as well go home.

Cruising for a bruising


MUSIC On my first foray to Florida, I’d be checking into a hotel in Miami’s South Beach for a night then immediately embarking on the Carnival Imagination for the second annual Bruise Cruise to Nassau, Bahamas.

Over the next three days I’d witness a pole-dancing waiter, seasick garage rockers, and a bachelorette party that could easily be recognized by excitable shouts of “woooo!” Indeed, some of this was expected as part of the cruise culture that had mockingly seeped its way into both my reality and that of about 500 others. Together we’d bear witness to what at heart was a music festival where bands, usually in the cruise-ship lounges, gave their all. Apprehensive at first, I was ready to submit to a bizarre and unlikely voyage.

“I’d hug you, but I just barfed all over myself,” was the first thing Shannon Shaw said to me from the point of take off. Slightly worse for wear from a late night and pre-party performance where she joined Ty Segall in a cover band called the Togas, she and Segall’s drummer Emily Rose Epstein rolled in with instruments and prepared to check in. Later I’d join them for a cafeteria-style lunch and listen rapt during their stories of touring Europe: apparently German prostitutes have turf wars and badass outfits.

The Bay Area presence on the Bruise Cruise was heavy and I was genuinely thrilled to take it all in. Before I could see Thee Oh Sees, but not before a double rainbow mystically appeared during our safety briefing out on deck, the Dirtbombs had the first crack on the Xanadu Lounge’s stage. That’s when it hit me.

The first rough waves became apparent. I joined seemingly unlimited punk-rock paparazzi near the front. The entire audience was swaying, but not necessarily to the music. It was every bit as disorienting as a drug experience. The band ripped through its recognizable hybrid of Detroit rock and soul while a pina colada quelled my nerves.

Thee Oh Sees charged through a 45-minute set in typical electrifying fashion and I caught up with band member Brigid Dawson afterward. She said the camaraderie amongst our local music scene was one of her favorite things about it. “We’re just lucky. We have a lot of great bands right now. There are a lot of us here,” she said.

After confiding to her that I nearly had a panic attack from the vertigo, she recommended fresh ginger or Dramamine. Nonetheless, I was feeling better and it was time to experience what Carnival calls “fine dining.”

This was a more overt example of the Bruisers — if not easily identifiable by their tattoos, then by the fluorescent green wrist bands — co-existing with the normals, aka common cruise ship goers, for a unique mealtime experience. Once you managed to get the meal down (I didn’t hear too much praise for the fare and my fish was rubbery) before you knew it, T-Pain’s “Apple Bottom Jeans” was blaring while the mostly male waitstaff danced suggestively. Right before this, a call and response announcement was made that, “Whatever happens on the ship, stays on the ship!”

Other highlights included the Bruise Cruise Dating Game, followed by Vockah Redu’s request not to label him “sissy bounce” as he got a blow-up doll in a memorable display of athleticism before snagging one of his hair extensions on a stage fixture in a whirlwind of choreography.

Day two left Bruisers to their own vices for relaxation and an opportunity to explore Nassau. Strange Boys’ Philip Sambol, who wears a toga well, and Reigning Sounds’ Lance Wille rounded out the aforementioned cover band performing searing renditions of ’60s psych nuggets. Fanaticism trumps criticism as I thought their set blew Soft Pack’s and Fucked Up’s away. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the Toga’s versions of “Helter Skelter,” “Teenage Kicks,” “96 Tears, and even a Pleasure Seekers cover, of course sung by Shaw.

By Sunday morning we were back on international waters and the waves were noticeable. Quintron hand delivered non-drowsy anti-nausea medication to a fellow rocker. Meanwhile, Miss Pussycat’s “Puppets and Pancakes Breakfast” was a hit.

I somehow missed Kyp Malone from TV On the Radio’s performance in which he announced Whitney Houston’s death. Shortly after, San Francisco’s Mikal Cronin took the stage and delivered a solid performance with Segall doing double duty on guitar.

Things reached a fever pitch when an open bar was called during Quintron and Miss Pussycat’s energetic set. Then a feather-adorned King Khan & the Shrines followed as the final live act.

In one of the last dance opportunities aboard the ship, Quintron DJ’d a Swamp Stack Dance Party mixing Archie Bell and the Drells’ “Tighten Up” with the infectious Bohannon beat.

Three days on a cruise ship is ridiculous enough, but adding the Bruise Cruise to the mix is insane. You meet people, you make friends, but you’ll be happy to see your next show back on land.

We want the airwaves


MUSIC It was written in an email exchange more than two months before 90.3 FM, better known as KUSF, was abruptly taken off the air. “We expect there will be a vocal minority that will be unhappy with the sale.” That cold-corporate speak delivered plainly from one of the involved entities was an ominous and understated prediction.

One year has passed since Jan. 18, 2011, when the station eventually was silenced in a shrouded and complex deal involving conglomerates, brokers, and non-disclosure agreements. However, the University of San Francisco’s attempt to sell the station’s broadcast license to Public Radio Capital and the University of Southern California’s Classical Public Radio Network (CPRN) for $3.75 million is not a done deal.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has yet to approve the sale that has thus far been thwarted by a collective of volunteers who secured legal counsel in order to preserve over 33 years of independent, community radio and to resume broadcasting at the 90.3 frequency.

According to attorney Peter Franck, co-counsel for Friends of KUSF, a hearing would be the next step in the flurry of legal action if all goes well in the effort to save the station. He’s optimistic that the chances are greater with every day that passes that the sale will be denied and is confident the FCC is taking the situation seriously.

“I think it’s a very important case and the trend of college stations disappearing isn’t good. It’s about keeping the airwaves public,” he said.

CPRN initially said the move to acquire the frequency was out of a genuine desire to preserve classical music. But according to the group Save KUSF, Entercom — one of the top five largest radio broadcasting companies in the U.S., is a for-profit entity that was instrumental in orchestrating the deal. Classical and formerly commercial programming, previously heard on KDFC 102.1, took over 90.3 while the ubiquitous sounds of classic rock (KFOX) began emanating from 102.1 and Entercom’s studios.

Dorothy Kidd, a media studies professor at USF, who has adamantly opposed the sale because the university kept faculty and students in the dark, speculated that Entercom is footing the bill to keep KDFC afloat, presumably losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The much larger issue of media consolidation of course goes beyond KUSF. Tracy Rosenberg from Oakland-based Media Alliance noted that colleges and universities are selling their non-commercial educational licenses for millions of dollars.

WRVU (Vanderbilt University, Nashville) and KTRU (Rice University, Houston) are going through similar struggles with corporate radio lusting after their licenses. But on a positive note, Rosenberg said smaller, independent stations are banding together and that a coalition has emerged from this issue. “San Francisco is not the same city or as culturally vital without KUSF,” she said.

The absence of the station immediately sparked the ire of the community who felt deceived by USF. The man in the middle of it all who claimed responsibility for the decision and took some heat for it was USF President Father Stephen A. Privett. A day after the deal was made public; he held an uncomfortable public meeting on campus. There he repeated that KUSF would continue in an “online only” format. In addition, a promise was made that a “teaching lab” would be put in place for students. Though he couldn’t guarantee the full $3.75 million in would-be revenue was going to the department.

After talking to faculty, students, and alumni it became clear that no such media lab for students was in place. “The online station is not up and running and most likely will not be until the legal battle is over,” said Chad Heimann, a graduate from the Media Studies Department who was also a KUSF volunteer. He added that he thinks USF doesn’t want to invest in the online station until they know that the station will be sold.

“As far as I know, students are not getting an equivalent educational experience. The new digital studio has not been set up,” Professor Kidd concurred. She called any lab offers “rhetoric” on the school’s part, and that the money has been held up, while USF spends on legal fees. According to Friends of KUSF lawyers, CPRN and USF are using FCC lawyers in Washington for their joint response to legal action.

With costly litigation involved in the pending decision, there are claims that CPRN and USF didn’t comply with FCC law and that KUSF’s studios were dismantled prematurely in May. Additionally, questions have been raised about the operating agreement between the potential buyer and seller and the legality of their fundraising practices.

When the FCC asked for copies of emails from the University’s President regarding the sale, they were told Father Privett deletes his emails. “The IT department keeps backup copies. Their claim that they’re gone is ridiculous,” Franck said.

Father Privett could not be reached for comment as he was in Africa on business, but according to USF’s media relations department, they, along with CPRN, maintain commitment to the transaction and await FCC action, hoping the matter is resolved in the near future.

The legalese may leave you asking, where have all the DJs gone? “One of the issues moving forward is going beyond a grass-roots effort,” said Friends of KUSF treasurer Damin Esper. They did reach the milestone of fundraising $50,000 by November, mostly by holding benefits, like their upcoming DJ night at Bender’s.

Last spring KUSF- in- Exile emerged as a web stream coming out of the Bayview District’s Light Rail Studios with assistance from WFMU. With roughly 80 volunteers, and a music library being re-built from scratch, they remain committed to the cause, protesting in front of Entercom and playing local music, cultural and independent programming in a nonprofit, commercial-free format, all in the name of community.

Andre Torrez is a longtime volunteer and DJ with KUSF and now KUSF-in-Exile.



Fri/20, 9 p.m., $5–$10 donation

Bender’s Bar and Grill

806 S. Van Ness, SF

(415) 824-1800

Garage troubadour


MUSIC “I did something really stupid,” was pretty much the first thing Ty Segall said to me as we walked to Philz Coffee in the Mission. Originally the plan was to sit at El Metate, but that got nixed as we agreed an afternoon jolt of caffeine was more important.

I asked what he had done that was so stupid, but it wasn’t specifically clear which act he was referring to. On the defensive, he went off on a tangent about how he perceives his guitars almost as talismans. “It’s like voodoo,” he said. That’s how he explains his behavior when he gives a guitar away to somebody. Other times he goes with the more cliched rock ritual of destroying one on stage. This also led to his purchase of a 1965 sea-foam green Mustang Fender. The excitement in his voice as he described his new toy was apparent. Music is what makes him tick.

I interviewed him in 2009 when Lemons (Goner Records) came out, but that was forever ago considering his well-documented abundance of releases. Now that Goner is putting out a double LP, Singles 2007-2010 (out this week), it seemed like an appropriate time to catch up and see how constant touring may be taking its toll on the 24-year-old garage rock answer to a troubadour.

We settled at a picnic table at a nearby soccer park where Segall, clad in Ray Bans and a brown cardigan, explained his fatigue from life on the road. He had just wrapped up a slew of local gigs, including a Halloween show where he and his band performed as the Spits. There, they struggled for the spotlight as an unruly woman from the audience — who was allegedly “humping everything” — stole a purse, and had to be bounced. Then it was off to Austin for a couple of dates where he performed alongside Thee Oh Sees, who he considers the best live band San Francisco has to offer, Black Lips and the Damned at the three-day Fun Fun Fun Fest.

“We never really stop touring. I wonder how we’re still here,” he said in bewilderment of both the physical and mental drain bands endure. “Everybody hits a wall.” He was referring to breaking points, but was also responding to my prodding about a previous interview he gave to where he commented on the fragility of one’s mind, and how you can “lose it at any moment”.

Just as he was admitting his own sensitivity, three pugs walked over to him, as if on cue. I watched him pet the triplets in a moment of adorably comforting symbiosis. It appears he’s learning his limits, coping with an over-analytical brain and growing a thicker skin.

But that’s not to say his creative well is running dry any time soon. While the singles compilation is a retrospective, along with some unreleased material, Segall said he’s still “psyched” to record something new. 2012 promises to be fruitful as his booking agent claimed the native So Cal. surfer has three records coming out next year.

While he doesn’t see himself as being in a “party band”, he’s been given the unique opportunity to partake in the second annual Bruise Cruise. It’s a three-day cruise to the Bahamas loaded with garage bands, their fans, and 75 percent regular ol’ tourists, according to Segall. The concept seems a bit ridiculous in the sense that trash rockers will converge with such decadence. This year he’s joining a super group of sorts called the Togas with Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams, Phillip Sambol from Strange Boys, and Lance Willie (drummer from the Reigning Sound).

But for now Segall can hold off and breathe for a second before setting sail. He can enjoy what he considers the vacation of just being home, doing his laundry, and all the other domestic yearnings that come with wanting a house with a yard and a basement.

Video Premiere: Uzi Rash “Garbageland”


Beach squelch shimmy is back.

Just in time for its Halloween show at Brick & Mortar Music Hall, where it will take part in punk rock tradition alongside the likes of Nobunny and Ty Segall, Oakland’s Uzi Rash has gifted us this exclusive peek at its next album, a video directed Dan Shaw (big brother of Shannon of Shannon & the Clams).

I Was 30 in 2012, due out in November after some delay, features the song “Garbageland.” Enjoy scenes of what appears to be the band giving “Ring Around the Rosie” a go, mixed with horrifying images of half-human, half-beasts foraging for rotten foods. I would say that this is reminiscent of the “I am The Walrus” segment from Magical Mystery Tour on acid, but it’s fair to assume that was already the case. So take a gander here at this bum trip version — or perhaps it’s Uzi Rash’s take of a dystopian future, and remember to catch the band covering the Undertones for Halloween this Friday, Oct.28.

Uzi Rash
With Nobunny,Ty Segall, Apache, and Zulus
Friday/28, 8 p.m. $10, 18+
Brick & Mortar Music Hall
1710 Mission, SF
(415) 800-8782.