By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Celebrated all-star San Francisco psych quartet Heron Oblivion returns to the Chapel on Friday night for it’s first headlining show at the venue, sharing the stage with like-minded acts White Magic and Peacers.
Comets on Fire veterans Ethan Miller (playing bass instead of his usual six-string instrument) and Noel Von Harmonson (guitar) first teamed with Assemble Head In Sunburst Sound mainstay Charlie Saufley (guitar) and noted psych-folk solo artist and member of Philadelphia band Espers Meg Baird (drums and vocals) during informal jam sessions that started in 2013. The band would evolve organically, conjuring a sound that wraps Baird’s crystalline singing voice with ethereal guitars that gradually blossom into a feedback-laden squall equally indebted to Crazy Horse-era Neil Young and Japanese neo-psych giants like High Rise and Acid Mothers Temple.
After stirring a substantial local buzz thanks to a string of galvanizing club shows around the Bay Area, the band eponymous debut was issued on Sub Pop last spring. Quickly garnering rave reviews from such high-profile outlets as the New York Times, Pitchfork and NPR that celebrated the outfit’s gift for bringing together wispy psychedelic folk and corrosive guitar meltdowns, the record was earmarked by many critics for their year-end “best of” lists in 2016.
The band earned equally ecstatic praise from journalists and fans with a string of festival performances that included smaller fringe music celebrations (Portland, OR’s Sabertooth Music Festival and Marfa Myths in Marfa, Texas) and larger fests (San Francisco’s own Outside Lands). The quartet also performed on short tours and one-off shows with such luminaries as indie-rock guitar hero J. Mascis’ band Dinosaur Jr. and legendary krautrock group Faust (who the band supported at the Chapel last March).
Heron Oblivion tops the bill for it’s first San Francisco headlining show in over a year and it’s first time headlining the Chapel period this Friday night with support from NYC psych troubadour White Magic (aka pianist/songwriter Mira Billotte) and local openers Peacers, a potent power-pop/psych band featuring Mike Donovan of Sic Alps and former drummer for Thee Oh Sees Mike Shoun. KUSF’s DJ Schmeejay spins tracks before and between bands.
Friday, January 27, 8 p.m. $15-$18