By Dave Pehling

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of San Francisco’s most celebrated heavy power trios tops the bill at a benefit Saturday night to help the beloved community radio station formerly known as KUSF raise much needed funds to relaunch as a terrestrial station.

Launched as an FM station in 1977 at 90.3, the college radio outlet affiliated with the University of San Francisco had a decades-long reputation as a bastion of underground music and as an important cultural institution when the school unceremoniously sold the frequency out from under station operators, pulling KUSF off the air on January 18, 2011.

While USF made millions in the deal that sold the 90.3 frequency to the USC-owned Classical Public Radio Network despite the howls of protest from station and student volunteers and the opposition of city officials (SF Supervisors voted 8-3 against the sale the month after it happened), the people who worked to make KUSF one of the nation’s best college radio stations were suddenly without a home.

Luckily, a group of those volunteers would wage a dogged fight to return to the airwaves as the nonprofit organization San Francisco Community Radio. Initially known as KUSF In Exile, the group appealed the frequency’s sale with the FCC and maintained an online presence, with many of the original KUSF DJs broadcasting their music and community shows over the Internet from San Francisco’s Light Rail Studios for nearly seven years.

Late last month, the organization announced a major victory. The FCC granted the group a new frequency at 102.5 FM and approved its proposed call letters, KXSF, with plans to return to a terrestrial broadcast in January of 2018. However, the group still has a long way to go as far as raising funds for a new transmitter and other expenses to get the new radio station up and running in time for the January launch. With over half of the group’s goal of $80,000 already raised, the organization is hosting one of its biggest fundraisers yet this Saturday at Thee Parkside headlined by iconic SF doom-metal stalwarts Acid King.

Formed in 1993 by lead singer and guitarist Lori S., drummer Joey Osborne and bassist Peter Lucas (the first in a long string of rotating bassists), the power trio became one of the stalwarts of the San Francisco metal scene. Recording an EP and its debut album for the Sympathy for the Record Industry label, the group eventually moved on to Frank Kozik’s local Man’s Ruin imprint later in the decade.

 The band would refine its lumbering, hypnotic riff magic to new heights on the rumbling 1999 opus Busse Woods and their 2005 follow-up III for Small Stone Records. Acid King would go on hiatus for a time following that release, but invitations to perform at European festivals prodded the band back into activity. With Scorched Earth Policy guitarist Mark Lamb joining the band as its latest bass player, the trio began playing regular local shows and gradually got together for a new album.

In 2015, Acid King issued what may be the band’s crowning achievement with the trio’s first new album in a decade, Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere on Svart Records. Adding psychedelic atmospheres to their signature monolithic riffs, songs like “Silent Pictures” and “Coming Down from Outer Space” take the listener on an interstellar journey unlike anything Acid King has produced in the past. While the trio’s line-up went through another transition earlier this year with the return of bassist Rafa Martinez (who also plays in acclaimed metal duo Black Cobra) and the addition of new drummer Bil Bowman (a member of like-minded outfit Hornss), the band has maintained it’s high level of crushing intensity live with recent appearances at the festival-turned-hurricane-benefit End Hip End It in Houston and Baltimore’s Days of Darkness Festival.

The balance of the line-up for the Anchor Brewing-sponsored benefit show curated by Lori S. herself brings together a host of Bay Area heavy luminaries. Veteran sludge/doom band Noothgrush first came together at around the same time Acid King formed in the early ’90s and established itself as one of the Bay Area’s most virulent extreme metal acts. Though the group split up in 2001, renewed interest after labels issued several early recordings led the band to reunite a decade later. Fellow Bay Area doomsayers Cardinal Wyrm (featuring Leila Abdul-Rauf of Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune and Saros) and self-described hometown “speed doom” crew Hazzard’s Cure also perform. SF Community Radio DJs Carolyn and the Creep will play tunes before and between bands.

SF Community Radio Fundraiser with Acid King
Saturday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m. $15-$25 (sliding scale)
Thee Parkside