The night began at SF General Hospital where I found my camera thanks to the very helpful labor and delivery staff, but that’s a long story. I got to the Rickshaw just as Tim Cohen‘s latest band was taking the stage. He claims they are trying to come up with a name that doesn’t have someone’s name in it. Top runner at the moment is Magic Tricks. The small crowd seemed semi-supportive of the proposal. I’m not surprised Tim is having trouble coming up with another band name. He has already come up with some great ones including The Fresh & Onlys and Black Fiction.

Tim Cohen – “Haunted Hymns”

While this new line-up has some similarities to his other groups, mostly there are major differences. The band has two lovely ladies for the harmonizing, and they also provide some nice keyboard work, bass and the often overlooked tambourine. Me likey. The tunes are generally a little slower and most are quite haunted. “Spirits Inside” came replete with a Casper-like vocal harmony. “Haunted Hymns” suggests you ‘move much closer to me than it’s possible to be’ complete with ghostly echos. They even played a ‘snap along’ about vampires. All told it is kinda like the Beach Boys meets the 13th Floor Elevators downtown. Mr. Cohen has done it again, churning out more great music and injecting endless creative energy into the simmering Bay Area scene.

SF’s Seventeen Evergreen had the best video of the evening hands down. There were dancing astronaut women, flowers blooming and other psychedelic goodies. Add to this the drum machine and keyboard-driven pop, and I couldn’t help but think these guys must be big fans of the last three Flaming Lips records. I’m more of a Clouds Taste Metallic guy, but nevertheless, I approve. 17EG also displayed the most beautiful LP covers I have seen in some time. I would like to see a real drummer on a few songs, but it’s not all about me, is it?

Los Angeles psychedelic beach guru Farmer Dave Scher put together quite the super group for this evening including East Bay rock idol Bart Davenport on back up vocals, tambourine, and honky-tonk harmonica. Bart provided his usual high energy enthusiasm to the evening, shaking his stuff both on and off the stage. He also showed up briefly as special guest DJ spinning some obscure vinyl between bands. He seemed a strange pairing next to Dave, who was pretty deadpan, but it worked.

Dave commented on how good everyone looked and busted out a long set of new material plus a few oldies including “Daylight Till Dawn,” the title track from the 2004 All Night Radio release. The version was spot-on and a real highlight. The new material, too, is still right at home in the sand.

Farmer Dave switched from lap steel to harmonium to flying-V guitar oh so naturally. I haven’t seen him perform since The Beachwood Sparks days of 2000-01, and it was great to see him back in action. The Sparks made some amazing music and evolved into many great side projects: The Tyde, The Mystic Chords of Memory, Frausdots, Fairechild and the previously mentioned All Night Radio. Dave even found time to play keyboards for Interpol in 2007, and I think we can expect much MORE from this prolific farmer. The night concluded ‘Hawaiian style’ (according to Dave) as he invited everyone to join them on stage for the last song. They didn’t all fit, but with a few drummers and a dancing Bart in front of the stage, they pulled it off. Aloha and Mahalo.

Apologies to SoCal’s Night Control, I just couldn’t make it in time. I am very fond of the tune “Good Looks” on your MySpace page, and everyone I talked to enjoyed your set!