This unholy trinity took place at Eli’s Mile High Club, a dive in sketch Oakland where Sleep played that “secret” show less than two weeks ago; the vibe was still present. The bands all brought a slightly different approach to the metal madness, but all coalesced into a seamless three hours of head-bobbing fun.
Begotten: Stoner doom from San Francisco/Oakland. They only formed within the past year, and lost their lead singer within that time. Now the guitarist has vocal duties. Sabbath and Vitus inspired….needless to say. But regardless of the standard, heavy riffs, Begotten is one of those bands led from the back. Ben Richardson smiles away from behind two bass drums, pounding out the low end with deft precision. Download tracks here and go to their next show at Retox on July 14.
On Lock: The one non-local band of the night, On Lock is a three-piece from Vancouver melding punk, thrash, and rock ‘n’ roll. Despite broken guitar strings and other technical difficulties, the frontman kept his shit together with ease. The bassist reminded me of Green Day, but I think that was only due to the throbbingly fast punk undercurrent.
Owl: Very, very excited about this band; I also saw them a couple weeks ago at the Knockout with Hollow Mirrors and Flood, two other SF bands. Not so excited about the name. I mean, the all-seeing, all-hearing bird of prey is great, but there’s already a duo in town called Barn Owl,
and I’m so sick of seeing owl imagery from one hipster boutique to the next. I suppose “Hawk” is too derivative of “Hawkwind”? What about “Osprey”? “Falcon”? “Condor”? “Black Blood Owl Witch”, at the very least….! But their gimmick is solid: three brothers — the youngest shredding away on lead guitar at supposedly a mere age 16 — and a bassist named Melanie Manslaughter. From Magick Hermit: “Three brothers wanted to make some heavy music and they did. They hail from Oakland, playing everything from Allman Brothers to Black Flag, and Blue Cheer to Bathory.” And though this Partridge Family composition is cool enough in itself and allows for an inherent, genetic cohesion (a friend who plays with the drummer said he plays way better with his bros than in my friend’s band!), the quality of the music trumps the lineage line-up. Kept challenging with tempo changes and guitar fills dripping with technical thrash, Owl feels fearless and bold from the beginning. They’re playing again at Eli’s at the end of the month, July 30th. You should go.
But first, go see Mr. Ben Venom’s mind-blowing quilts made of metal band shirts, starting on Friday, July 8th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (and you can talk to the master seamster himself that evening, bonus). As with cupcakes and plants, fabric and metal is a uniquely awesome synergy, if I say so myself. Read an interview and see more photos of Venom’s work here.