By Dave Pehling
CUPERTINO (CBS SF) — The promoters behind 2017’s massive all-day heavy rock festival Epicenter 2017 and last year’s More Beers in Hell at Winters Tavern in Pacifica have put together another celebration of metal and hopped beverages with Bowling and Beers in Hell this weekend.
Presented by Heavy San Jose, the three-day event gathers a wide ranging line-up of 24 psych, stoner metal and hard rock bands from across Norther California and beyond to Homestead Bowl and the X-Bar in Cupertino. Among the brew houses participating in the event by providing special kegs are Ghost Town Brewing, Alvarado Street Brewery & Grill and Laughing Monk Brewing.
The party kicks off on Friday night with six rising bands from the stoner-rock underground including Portland, OR-based fuzz merchants Robots of the Ancient World (who released their latest effort Cosmic Riders earlier this year), a pair of Los Angeles bands — desert rockers Solar Haze and the soulful occult/doom crew Old Blood — and rounded out by San Jose’s modern metal act Infinite Sleep and Santa Cruz experimental psych/sludge acts Cosmic Reef Temple and the Bad Light.
On Saturday, the number of bands playing is raised to 11 with an early 5 p.m. start that stretches until 1 a.m. with headliner, Seattle-based experimental duo Pound. Exploring extreme metal, mathrock and grindcore, 9-string baritone guitarist Ryan Schutte and drummer David Stickney (who switches between two specialized kits), Pound bashes out a dizzying onslaught of hectic riffs and neck-snapping time signatures that nods to complex sounds of metal avatars Meshuggah, mathcore group Coalesce and avant-garde saxophonist John Zorn.
The balance of the Saturday line-up includes such highlights as San Francisco’s own Turn Me On Dead Man, a long-running local act that delivers epic, Bowie/Bolan-esque space rock played at paint-peeling volume, Auburn, CA’s heavy blues rock power trio and More Beers in Hell veterans Shotgun Sawyer (who released their blistering new album Bury the Hatchet for Bay Area imprint Ripple Music last spring), Sacramento post-metal/ heavyweights Horseneck and Chrome Ghost, South Bay blues punks Grimace and the Fakers and much more.
On Sunday, Bowling and Beers in Hell brings the celebration to a close with arguably the strongest group of bands during the entire weekend. Oakland heroes High Tone Son of a Bitch were a sludge/stoner supergroup formed in the early 2000s by members of Cruevo, Kalas, Noothgrush, Hammers of Misfortune, Christ on Parade and other notable Bay Area metal and punk bands. While the group came to a sudden end with the untimely passing of Andrew Kott in 2008, over a decade later his brother Paul was encouraged to resurrect the band with a new line-up that includes bassist/stoner-rock producer extraordinaire Billy Anderson (Melvins, Acid King, Sleep and Neurosis to name a few). In addition to releasing a new two-song EP that includes an epic stoner/fuzz version of the Alan Parsons Project hit “Eye in the Sky,” HTSoB made a welcome appearance at this year’s inaugural Desertfest NYC and is playing Bowling and Beers in Hell as part of a West Coast tour with another anticipated Sunday act, Holy Grove.
Along with fellow doom acolytes Windhand, Witch Mountain and High Priestess, Portland, OR-based quartet Holy Grove has helped establish a powerful sound for modern Sabbath-influenced stoner rock. Fronted by talented singer Andrea Vidal, the group has put out two towering albums that showcase Vidal’s impressive pipes and the molten riffs of guitarist Trent Jacobs. Last month, the band released an explosive live recording tracked at the eighth annual Ceremony of Sludge in Portland earlier this year that is helping raise funds for a young cancer victim. Additional must-see bands on the festival’s final night include psychedelic doom/blues juggernaut Kook (whose membership includes the main organizer behind Bowling and Beers in Hell), Portland, OR heavy rockers Hippie Death Cult and SF veterans Disasteroid. For more information, a complete schedule and tickets, visit the Bowling and Beers in Hell event page.
Bowling and Beers in Hell
Friday-Sunday, Sept. 6-8, $10-$30
Homestead Bowl and the X-Bar