Fuzz (Photo: Jason Shane)
In what should be remembered as one of highlights of this year’s installment of Noise Pop, OBN IIIs and Fuzz – the latest brainchild of SF-wunderkind Ty Segall and old pal Charles Moothart – co-headlined a spectacular and unpredictable night at The Knockout last Thursday, filling the tiny venue (capacity: 132) with their respective modern-day hardcore furor and paint-peeling throwback psychedelic blues metal.
Opening the evening was Sacramento/Davis/Oakland quartet G. Green, playing punk-influenced indie rock with dueling guitars, a booming bassline, and the ripping drum work of Liz Liles. After tearing through a set full of tracks off their 2012 LP Crap Culture, frontman Andrew Henderson told the crowd, “Stay tuned for…the other acts,” providing the perfect introduction for an evening featuring Segall’s “anonymous” new band, out-of-towners OBN IIIs, and an explosive performance from locals Blasted Canyons.
Blasted Canyons kicked off their set with a vicious take on “Death and a Half”, a track from their 2011 debut #1, and the band followed with its usual musical chairs routine throughout, as members Hether Fortune, Matt Jones, and Adam Finken rotated between guitar, keys, and drums. Unfortunately, the trio’s set was plagued by technical problems, and after her guitar cut out during “Blood on the Wall” (another song from #1), Fortune tossed it on the ground and walked off stage, clearly frustrated with a set that wasn’t living up to her expectations – despite the apparent enjoyment of their audience, including yours truly.
Jones and Finken tried to keep the noise going while they coaxed their bandmate back onstage, and she eventually returned, expressing her exasperation by displaying the uncooperative equipment over her head for all to see, straddling it, and randomly and violently playing it in a performance she later characterized on social media as an act of auto-destructive art à la Pete Townshend’s famed guitar smashing (at press time, it appears her post has been deleted). Shortly thereafter, the band went through another rotation with Fortune heading back to the drum kit, and Blasted Canyons finished out their set without further issue.
[JS: Following Blasted Canyons' set, I tweeted that their night was cut short by technical problems, but Fortune was quick to note that they did, in fact, finish their set, despite not finishing "Blood on the Wall".]
Following the volatile set by Blasted Canyons, the members of Fuzz rolled their giant (relatively speaking, considering the size of The Knockout) amps onstage and quickly got to work. With Segall at center stage and Moothart and bassist Roland Cosio (Epsilons) facing inward toward him, the nacent trio ripped through an unreal set of face-melting blues metal that included both tracks off their debut 7-inch, “This Time I Got a Reason” and an extended take on b-side “Fuzz’s Fourth Dream”.
Introducing a track called “The Preacher” (or was it “The Creature”?) for the first time, Segall noted that, “This song is new…well they’re all new,” prompting a swell of noise from the small but packed house, which was greeted by yet another round of Moothart’s awe-inspiring guitar work and Segall’s prowess on the kit. The track had a bit of a “Supernaut” feel to it, with the frontman’s eerie voice hovering over the a wall of distortion and explosive blues-inspired riffs.
After tearing through two more tracks (including one tentatively titled “Fuck the Words”, with the band seemingly content to speak through their instruments), Segall and company left the stage as quickly as they took it just 45 minutes earlier, albeit with three wide smiles and their drummer soaked after a ferocious evening’s work of work with his latest and greatest ensemble.
Austin’s OBN IIIs closed out the night with a raucous set of hardcore punk that one of our cohorts from SF Weekly opined would be the closest he’d ever come to seeing Black Flag. The band’s frontman – Orville Bateman Neeley, III – didn’t let a shredded set of vocal chords (or the small exodus of fans post-Fuzz) ruin his first Noise Pop appearance. He spent much of the night wading into the crowd and interacting with the adoring throngs at The Knockout, while his audience took to returning that kindness by spraying beer and dancing like it was the last show of their lives. The frenetic set was highlighted by OBN IIIs’ take on their single “That’s No Way to Rock and Roll”.
Check out pictures from last Thursday night at The Knockout below.Blasted Canyons - Fuzz - G.Green - Noise Pop 2013 - OBN IIIs