Post-Punk Heavyweights Gather At Bottom Of The Hill

By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Reunited Kansas City-based ’90s post-punk band Shiner brings it’s current tour to the Bottom of the Hill with Bay Area favorites Porch on Friday for an evening of intricate heavy rock.

Formed in 1992 in Kansas City, Missouri, Shiner coalesced around guitarist/singer Allen Epley to craft a sound that touched equally on the melodic, emotive mix of punk and metal influences heard in Northwestern grunge bands and the chugging riffs and complex time signatures employed by NYC post-hardcore heroes Helmet.

The band established a regional following and toured with like-minded acts including Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbox and Girls vs. Boys after self-releasing their debut EP. The band’s 1996 debut Splay for DeSoto Records produced by Shellac bassist Bob Weston placed Shiner in the same league as such lauded melodic post-punk groups as Failure, Quicksand and Hum.

The group released it’s sophomore effort Lula Divinia the following year, attracting the attention of Sub Pop Records, who would issue a single by the band. The group eventually work with Owned & Operated, a label affiliated with punk legends the Descendants, for 2000’s Starless. Though they would return to DeSoto Records to release arguably their most acclaimed effort yet with The Egg the following year, by 2003 the band had split up.

Much like their above mentioned brethren, the passage of time found more and more fans discovering the band’s aggressive mix of melody and muscular riffs. A decade after the band hung it up, Epley reconvened Shiner for a string of reunion shows to celebrate the vinyl reissue of The Egg in 2012.  For the band’s current tour, Epley and the current line-up featuring bassist Paul Malinowski, guitarist Josh Newton (who both play in noise-rock band Season to Risk) and rotating drummers Tim Dow and Jason Gerken will mark the reissue of Lula Divinia on vinyl.

For this San Francisco show at the Bottom of the Hill, Shiner is joined by onetime touring partners and Bay Area guitarist Todd Huth’s longtime band Porch. Huth first rose to prominence during the mid-1980s as the original guitarist with future Bay Area alt-rock heroes Primus before his replacement Larry LaLonde would recreate Huth’s guitar melodies on most of the material that made up the band’s early studio albums Frizzle Fry and Sailing on the Seas of Cheese.

While the guitarist would once again work with Primus mainstay and bass virtuoso Les Claypool in the band Sausage (essentially a reunion of the original Primus line-up featuring Huth and drummer Jay Lane) in the ’90s, he also made waves leading his own group Porch. Exploring a more aggressive, dissonant sound that echoed iconic noise-punk acts like the Jesus Lizard and Unsane while still indulging in the complex time signatures of Huth’s earlier band, Porch released its self-titled album in 1994 and played the Bay Area extensively before eventually splitting up.

Porch would resurface a few years ago when Huth and bassist Christopher Frey brought drummer Michael Jacobs into the fold to record the trio’s first new album in 17 years, Givin Up. In 2013, the band recorded a stunning follow-up effort entitled Walking Boss with noted producer Tim Green at his Louder Studios in Grass Valley. Fellow Bay Area rock outfit Pine and Battery opens the show.

Shiner with Porch
Friday, March 3, 9 p.m. $15
Bottom of the Hill

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