Saturday night at Bottom of the Hill laid claim to an all San Francisco based line-up, and two very exciting vinyl releases. Split Screens released The Sinner, a 7-inch that is leading up to a debut LP due this summer titled Before The Storm. Headliner DonCat (Duncan Nielsen) released his debut LP amusingly titled Don Gato, which was made a crowdfunding reality through fans / friends / family.
First on the stage was Scary Little Friends, a musical powerhouse embodying California’s easy-going yet earnestly idealistic personality. Fusing Americana and pop hooks, frontman Chris Jones belted out songs from their full-length From The Beginning that wooed the crowd into swaying and dancing submission.
Next up was Split Screens, an updated bluesy outfit that incorporated a Nord keyboard and lap steel guitar alongside the expected electric guitars and drums. Frontman Jesse Cafiero was giddy as he announced guitarist Phil Prestia’s engagement, and if you were really lucky you could catch bassist Andrew Paul Nelson grooving and gyrating hard in the background the entire set.
Finally, DonCat sauntered on-stage to the (literal) screams of many of the females in the crowd. Immediately noticeable was frontman Duncan showing his quirky side by sporting the shiniest of black shoes accompanied with red Christmas socks…in the middle of March. Even though it was a rowdy Saturday crowd that escalated in drunken chatter as the night went on, DonCat’s “Steal Away” was a slow-burn explosion that shook the back of the house out of their inebriated distractions. Seriously, if there is one song you see them perform live, it’s this one. Nielsen has a voice that makes you want to take a shot of bourbon and then wander past tumbleweeds and cacti while waxing nostalgic about past heartbreaks probably better left alone. The absolute best part? The band closed down the place with the crowd chanting for a “Don-core.”
After the recent hype surrounding San Francisco’s current music scene, it was validating to be at an all local line-up of talented fledgling bands who are successfully cranking out vinyl. Keep it coming, and keep going to shows.
Even if you couldn’t make it to the show, you can still buy Split Screens’ 7-inch The Sinner right here.