By Dave Pehling
SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Delivering an extended evening of heavy riffs and headbanging sounds, Epicenter 2017 offers up a packed bill of nine metal, stoner rock and doom outfits at the Ritz in San Jose Saturday topped by Bay Area heroes High On Fire. Presented in collaboration by Oskar Blues Brewery and Heavy San Jose, Epicenter 2017 will kick off early at 5:30 p.m. with an array of bands from the here and abroad.
One of the few bona fide six-string heroes to emerge from the Bay Area in past quarter century, Matt Pike has established some impressive guitar-god credentials between his work with pioneering South Bay stoner-rock trio Sleep during the ’90s and his continuing success leading his monolithic metal power trio High on Fire.
Partnered with monster drummer Des Kensel since moving to Oakland and founding the band in 1998 after the dissolution of Sleep, Pike and company have built a rabid following with its reputation for savage live performances and a string of classic albums. Brutal early efforts like Surrounded By Thieves and Death is This Communion (their first to feature current bassist Jeff Matz) have given way to their more recent mind-bending conceptual opuses De Vermiis Mysteriis and 2015’s celebrated release, Luminiferous.
While High on Fire occupies a majority of the guitarist’s time with its extensive touring schedule, Pike has still regularly performed and toured with Sleep since the band first reunited to much acclaim in 2009. With new albums in the works for both bands, High On Fire’s set at the Ritz in San Jose for Epicenter 2017 may be the best chance South Bay fans have to see Pike and company play in a relatively intimate setting.
Also featured on the Epicenter bill will be several bands from the Pacific Northwest including renowned heavy rock duo Big Business — the duo of drummer Cody Willis and bassist Jared Warren were originally from Seattle before relocating to Los Angeles to work as the rhythm section for experimental heavy rock pioneers the Melvins — as well as soulful Washington State doom trio Mos Generator and Portland, OR-based band Holy Grove. The balance of the line-up offers SoCal bands Great Electric Quest and atmospheric LA metal band Future Usses and Bay Area entries Brume (a powerhouse doom band from San Francisco), San Jose’s Kook and Oakland classic metal crew Mesmer. Special guest Kelley Juett, guitarist from Austin, TX heavy hitters Mothership, is scheduled to sit in with both Mos Generator and Great Electric Quest.
Epicenter 2017 with High On Fire
Saturday, Sept. 16, 5:30 p.m. $45-$75