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San Jose heavyweights headline Bottom of the Hill barbecue

SAN FRANCISCO -- Laying down their hard-swinging style of blues-tinged heavy rock for the past dozen years, San Jose-based quartet ZED headlines this Sunday afternoon barbecue at the Bottom of the Hill.


Core players Pete Sattari (guitar/vocals) and Mark Aceves (bass) have been making music together since the late '90s. They had collaborated in the metallic, alt/indie-rock outfit Stitch -- which had their self-produced debut picked up by Metal Blade/Prosthetic Records in addition to recording with noted producer Alex Newport (Melvins, The Mars Volta) -- and the group Mercury Sound prior to founding ZED with Stitch drummer Rich Harris and lead guitarist Greg Lopez in 2007.

Lunatics And Liars by zedrocknow on YouTube

Taking their time to develop a sound that drew on both classic '70s metal and hard rock influences as well as the more modern sounds that emerged in Seattle in the late '80s (particularly Soundgarden and Alice In Chains), the quartet released their debut album The Invitation in 2010. Embracing a crunchy, groove-oriented attack on tunes like "Lunatics and Liars" and "Leave Me Alone," ZED crafted a style of tuneful heaviness that fit comfortably alongside established bands like Clutch, Audioslave and Queens of the Stone Age.

The group further refined its approach over the next three years of writing and recording its sophomore effort Desperation Blues, an accomplished effort that added elements of funk and languid balladry to the mix. The album also caught the ear of East Bay heavy rock imprint Ripple Music, who signed the band and released the third ZED album, Trouble In Eden, in 2016.

ZED - Royale by zedrocknow on YouTube

Another exponential leap forward, the recording garnered the band critical praise and paved the way for some of ZED's most extensive touring yet with trips to Texas and Europe. While Harris would depart from the band following the album's release, the quartet landed on its feet with the addition of veteran Bay Area drummer Sean Boyles (Death Angel singer Mark Osegueda's side project All-Time Highs, Bloodline, Insolence). The album would later get a deluxe reissue with bonus tracks on the group's new label, Ripple Music.

Since then, the band has continued to spread the word of its muscular sound, making multiple appearances at South By Southwest as well as playing such notable metal festivals as the Maryland Doom Fest and DesertFest UK in London in 2019 ahead of the release of Volume, the quartet's fourth effort. Another crushing salvo of tuneful heaviness that earned the crew some of its best reviews yet, it should have been followed by more extensive touring, but the COVID-19 pandemic derailed any plans ZED had. While the group largely laid low during the downtime, but returned to activity this year with appearances at San Jose's Sofa Street Fair and the returning Maryland Doom Fest in June, where they shared the stage with the likes of Coven, Heavy Temple and the Age of Truth.

ZED - Chingus (LEGO Stop Motion) by zedrocknow on YouTube

The band headlines this Sunday afternoon barbeque show at the Bottom of the Hill sponsored by Sierra Nevada Brewing, RWS and Subliminal SF, marking its first San Francisco appearance in over two years. SF heavy rockers Flexx Bronco plays the middle slot. Santa Cruz outfit Doors To No Where were scheduled to perform, but had to drop out due to a case of COVID. Filling in will be ZED's South Bay brethren Kook featuring veteran guitarist Karl Larson, who was an early member of Sleep guitarist Matt Pike's band High On Fire before they decided to strip down to a trio. The quartet rounded out by bassist Jeff Wilson, singer Troy Aschenbrenner  and drummer Eric Wilkins crafts a wildly diverse sound that -- while rooted in 'the classic blues-tinged template of 70s heavy rock -- drew freely everything from '60s psychedelia to '90s alternative rock and grunge to modern doom.

Sunday, Aug. 14, 3 p.m. $12-$15
The Bottom of the Hill  

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