By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the East Coast’s best purveyors of heavy music finally make their way to the Bay Area this Sunday when Boston band Gozu headlines the Elbo Room in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Made up of veterans from a variety of Boston metal and hard rock bands including Wargasm (the notable thrash band drummer Barry Spillway played with for a decade starting in the ’80s), stoner-punk outfit Clouds, alt-metal crew Miltdown and — oddly enough, soul/funk group SuperHoney — Gozu first started playing together in 2007. The quartet of guitarist/singer Marc Gaffney, guitarist Doug Sherman, bassist Jay Canava and aforementioned drummer Spillway soon caught the ear of Craig Riggs, a member of established Boston stoner-rock band Roadsaw.
A two-song demo and Riggs’ endorsement led to a deal with Small Stone Records, who released the band’s first full-length album Locust Season in 2010 (it was preceded by a self-titled EP on Wonderdrug Records a year earlier). The tuneful but pummeling songs heard on the album showed off Gaffney’s powerful singing voice that at times recalled Chris Cornell and Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme and a gift for melodic songwriting.
The band became a regular support act for like-minded groups passing through Boston while also building up their own regional following with regular tours. The band’s follow-up effort The Fury of a Patient Man was another potent salvo of riff-rock ear candy that proved the foursome was only refining their top-level songwriting further with time. The album was also the last to feature original bassist Canava, who departed amiably due to other commitments (Joe Grotto has since stepped in as a permanent replacement).
Gozu would ramp up their touring, playing Europe for the first time and continuing to raise its profile on the eastern seaboard. Last year, the band put out it’s third album, this time working with San Ramon-based label Ripple Music to produce Revival. The first to include former Warhorse drummer Mike Hubbard, the latest collection finds the group exploring more extended psychedelic grooves while still laying down the punchy, concise type of radio-ready tracks that have become their trademark.
The band played a blazing set at last year’s inaugural Psycho Las Vegas festival in August which unfortunately got cut short when Hubbard’s furious playing destroyed his bass drum pedal, but that didn’t keep their performance from being one of the weekend’s highlights. Late last year, it was announced that the crew had signed to Blacklight Media/Metal Blade Records to produce its next record. For this first visit to San Francisco, Gozu play the Elbo Room in the Mission District alongside a pair of Ripple Music acts: Portland, OR-based powerhouse group Ape Machine and the South Bay’s own Zed, who released their hard-swinging third album Trouble in Eden through the label last fall. San Francisco doom trio Brume also performs.
Sunday, April 16, 8 p.m. $8
The Elbo Room