By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the leading lights of the Bay Area hard-rock scene, Oakland-based heavyweights Lecherous Gaze have been making a compelling noise with their mix of garage punk, psychedelia and ’70s riff rock for the better part of the past decade.
Rising from the ashes of the late, lamented punk-metal outfit Annihilation Time, Lecherous Gaze came together in 2010. Featuring guitar hero Graham Clise as well as AT’s potent rhythm section of bassist Chris Grande and drummer Noel Sullivan, the group cycled through a couple of lead singers before teaming with outlandish frontman Zaryan Zaidi for its bracing first full-length album on Tee Pee Records, On the Skids, in 2012.
Anchored by Zaidi’s gruff Wolfman-Jack style growl and Clise’s blazing arsenal of riffs, the album touched on heavy sounds from all eras. The urgent opening track “Scorpion” alone simultaneously echoed Jimi Hendrix’s “Stepping Stone,” Love’s “Seven and Seven Is” and Devo’s “Gut Feeling.” Regular performances at Bay Area clubs and house parties as well as regular stretches of national and international touring (not to mention Zaidi’s bizarre costumes and freaky onstage antics) helped Lecherous Gaze build a solid global reputation as a formidable live act.
Two years later, Lecherous Gaze issued Zeta Reticuli Blues, garnering another round of glowing reviews for the psychedelic punk savagery and fractured Chuck Berry riffs heard on “End Rising” and “Animal Brain.” A ripping version of the oft-covered rock chestnut “Baby Please Don’t Go” stands toe-to-toe with earlier takes on the tune by such legends as Van Morrison and Them, Budgie, Ted Nugent’s early band the Amboy Dukes and AC/DC.
In 2016, the band celebrated the release of its third album, the epic sci-fi concept album One Fifteen, also on Tee Pee Records. Delving into ambitious sonic territory, the recording adds swirling synthesizers and more complex arrangements to the unhinged caveman stomp of the Lecherous Gaze template. It is also the first recording to feature the band’s second guitarist, Zach Dellorto-Blackwell.
Though Clise relocating to Australia in 2016 has limited the band’s activity (their last tour was a trek across Europe was two summers ago), Lecherous Gaze return to Bay Area stages for a pair of shows in San Francisco and Oakland this week. For Thursday’s show at the SF Eagle, the band will be joined by longtime co-conspirators and Bay Area hard-rock favorites Hot Lunch (who celebrate their recently released a new 7-inch single via European imprint Who Can You Trust? Records) and East Bay outfit Smokers. On Friday, Lecherous Gaze tops a four-band bill at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland with trashy, all-female riff rockers Genuine Parts, like-minded Ventura, CA-based crew Pink Mist and caustic East Bay hardcore quartet Provoke. The Friday gig will also fans a chance to try the new “Lecherous Haze” Hazy IPA made by show sponsors, West Oakland’s Ghost Town Brewing.
Thursday, Aug. 9, 9 p.m. $10
Friday, Aug. 10, 9 p.m. $10
Eli’s Mile High Club