Last night really couldn’t have been more different from Friday even though it was in the same genre.
To get to Varnish, an art gallery nestled in the heart of SoMa, you have to maneuver one of SF’s shantytowns. The smell of urine abounds, shopping carts must be dodged, and tents and boxes line the street. A man is brushing his teeth on the corner and spits in my direction. I quicken my pace.
Varnish is a fairly large space for an SF gallery. The band’s gear is set up in a corner. I grab a glass of Sauvignon Blanc (in a real glass…at a metal show) and go upstairs to check out some of the art. It was just the kind of thing I love- work that looks like it belongs in a really dark and disturbing children’s book. Check out these artists: Jennybird Alcantara, Lucien Shaprio, Pierre Merkl, and Michael Page. All are based in San Francisco.
After rubbing elbows with some of SF’s finest in metal, including the artists from Secret Serpents, Photo Ray, and Umlaut, and listening to Slayer, it was time for the live music portion of the evening.
Acid King have been an SF staple on the metal scene since the ’90s. Their psychedelic stoner metal sound consumed the room and everyone in it. Singer Lori S.’s voice sailed above the sludgy guitar and the raspy beats. The black clad crowd nodded their heads in approval.
This would be UFOMAMMUT’s second US show, after playing LA last weekend. When I received the press release for it, I was confused because it talked about poster art as much as it did the band. Well, it turns out that they create some amazing poster art on top of their very satisfying psychedelic doom metal. Ah, the Italians…mi piace molto gli Italiani.
They launch into a pretty intense 45 minute set that shook the room. The bassist/vocalist had mannerisms very reminiscent of Troy Sanders. The drummer would stand up and bow between songs. At one point, he took what I assumed was a setlist out of his pocket and glanced at it. The guitarist swayed back and forth headbanging along nonstop. I completely forgot that I was in an art gallery for the duration of the set. They were really great and exactly what I wanted to hear.
It was a very unique evening of music and art. I was really entranced by this one poster of theirs– a pregnant woman with a glitter baby inside. I might have to order it. I did pick up a poster from the LA gig to hold me over in the meantime…