SAN FRANCISCO -- This Sunday afternoon show at the Bottom of the Hill pays tribute to SF musician and sound engineer Lars Savage with sets from friends and former bands Terry Gross, Hot Fog and more.
Savage, who died last September in a tragic bicycle accident, was a regular presence behind the soundboard at the Bottom of the Hill and many other San Francisco clubs. He also worked extensively as a recording engineer for a number of local bands as well as such notables as Mastodon, Sleep and Bongzilla. He also played guitar and bass in several SF acts including instrumental rockers Roland and metal revivalists Hot Fog, both of whom will perform at this tribute concert and benefit for the SFSPCA.
The show will be headlined by powerhouse trio Terry Gross. Contrary to what one might expect from a band named after the unflappably calm NPR interviewer, the threesome bashes out a bruising, kinetic style of krautrock-influenced groove displayed on their debut recording Shameless Imposter, a two-song 10" vinyl EP released on Valley King Records in 2018.
Featuring the six-string heroics of noted local guitarist Phil Manley (Golden,Trans Am, the F--king Champs, Life Coach), Terry Gross came together three years earlier when Manley started playing with his El Studio co-owner, bassist Donny Newenhouse (Film School, Hot Fog, Buffalo Tooth). The split of Newenhouse's band Peace Creep with talented drummer Phil Becker (Pins of Light, ex-Triclops! and Lower Forty-Eight) and Triclops!/Anywhere guitarist Christian Eric Beaulieu led to some informal jam sessions with Manley and the rhythm section at the studio, sparking the new project.
Digitally recording their freewheeling improvisations at El Studio, the trio began developing its unique chemistry that found the musicians exploring hypnotic extended grooves that at times recalled the droning motorik workouts of German rock experimentalists Can and Neu, but with the added heft of modern rock titans like the Melvins.
Terry Gross started playing live shows on both sides of the Bay, sharing stages with the likes of Big Business, reunited Oakland favorites Drunk Horse and Hot Lunch and establishing a reputation for dealing out their unusual style heady, muscular extended tunes.
Manley's connection with indie label Thrill Jockey -- which had released albums by Trans Am and Life Coach -- led the trio to a record deal. Using their studio as an editing tool much in the same way Can would piece together its songs by drawing from raw recorded material, Terry Gross distilled its best sonic exploration into the three sprawling tunes heard on it first full-length album, Soft Opening.
Also appearing at the memorial concert will be SF metal favorites Hot Fog. Long dormant outside of a one-off show at the Bottom of the Hill six years ago, the band released the stellar double LP Secret Phantasies of the Dragon Sun in 2013 that showed the band moving easily from Sabbath-tinged doom to headbanging New Wave of British Heavy Metal-inspired thrash epics that recall Maiden, early Metallica and the Celtic metal of longtime local heroes Slough Feg. The reunited crew takes the stage after sets from Savage's other main band Roland -- which released a pair of albums full of complex prog/mathrock instrumentals -- and garage-band Ezeetiger
Lars Savage Memorial Concert with Terry Gross and Hot Fog
Sunday, June 26, 3 p.m., $15
Bottom of the Hill
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