By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One of the Bay Area’s most unique and potent punk/metal bands, the action-rock heroes of ArnoCorps have been electrifying audiences for the better part of two decades. Founded back in 2000, the San Francisco sextet of musical combat veterans aims to take back the Austrian mythology and lore appropriated for American consumption by actor and former Governator of California, “Austroploitation” figurehead Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Dealing out such spectacular rock anthems as “Terminator,” “Predator,” and “Total Recall,” the dynamic outfit led by charismatic vocalist Graf Holzfeuer (pronounced holz-FOY-er) has built a rabid local base of fans while cultivating an international following with regular UK and European tours. In addition to 2015’s reissue of the group’s debut Greatest Band of All Time (made available on vinyl for the first time through Jello Biafra’s Alternative Tentacles label), ArnoCorps also teamed with AT to release the “Two More” 7-inch single which featured the pump-inducing tributes to the Austrian bodybuilding fable that Schwarzenegger would plagiarize for his ’70s film Pumping Iron.
In 2016, Holzfeuer and company announced the band’s next recording project, The Unbelievable EP. Answering the longtime demand of their fans to take back some of the more humor-filled tales of the Austrian mythos exploited by Schwarzenegger during the 1990s like Kindergarten Cop, Twins and Jingle All the Way, a Kickstarter crowd-funding effort for the album was met with a resounding response as disciples contributed over $20,000 to the cause. The EP came out on Alternative Tentacles a year ago to solid reviews, but it is the outrageous spectacle of the band’s kinetic live show complete with bass-case crowd surfing (ridden simultaneously by both bass players) and onstage demonstrations of physical strength and muscular symmetry by members and fans alike that has made ArnoCorps a longtime Bay Area concert favorite.
For these three greater Bay Area shows in Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose, ArnoCorps will be joined by another highly creative concept-driven crew, Santa Cruz’s menacing Dungeons & Dragons-inspired thrash/death metal outfit A Band of Orcs. First coming together in the mid-2000s, the five-piece band dove headlong into the idea with guitarist Cretos Filthgrinder, drummer Oog Skullbasher and bassist Gronk! Shaman anchoring the group’s earth-scorching debut EP Warchiefs of the Apocalypse in 2007.
Sporting frighteningly detailed costumes onstage that would make the average Comic-Con attendee wet their superhero tights with fear (and possibly envy), A Band of Orcs upped their axe-swinging metal brutality with their 2012 album Adding Heads to the Pile that earned the group a spot on a national tour supporting intergalactic theatrical metal legends Gwar the following year. While the band would take an extended break, re-emerging as a stripped-down quartet in 2015 to record the March of the Gore-Stained Axe Tribe EP and revive their Orctoberfest Halloween celebration.
The band brings it’s fearsome live set back to Bay Area stages for this tandem mini-tour with ArnoCorps. For Thursday’s opening show at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento, the groups are joined by Salem, OR-based blues rockers the Fools, while ArnoCorps’ triumphant return to the Bottom of the Hill on Friday will feature support from East Bay punks the Pathogens. The trio of shows wraps up at the Ritz in San Jose on Saturday.
ArnoCorp and A Band of Orcs
Thursday, Sept. 20, 8 p.m. $15-$18
Friday, Sept. 21, 8:30 p.m. $20-$25
Bottom of the Hill
Saturday, Sept. 22, 8 p.m. $15-$18