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Savage Republic brings new tunes, 40-year-old catalog to Bottom of the Hill

SAN FRANCISCO -- Savage Republic, the experimental post-punk band that entranced audiences in the '80s with a stage show that felt more like a tribal ceremony than a rock concert, is bringing back their steel-barrel drum beats and Middle Eastern-tinged guitars to San Francisco's Bottom of the Hill this Friday.

The band, originally called Africa Crops, started in 1982 by UCLA students Bruce Licher and Mark Erskine. The band became Savage Republic before expanding into a five-piece and releasing their first EP, Tragic Figures, which contains an early hit for the group, "Real Men."

Real Men by Savage Republic - Topic on YouTube

Savage Republic developed a reputation for their do-not-miss shows, which included members seemingly exchanging instruments constantly and at least one member always beating some kind of drum. While some of their best known songs had vocals, most of their tracks were instrumentals, making their albums more like soundtracks for movies that didn't exist. "I always hear our music as guided imagery," Savage Republic's Ethan Port once told author Richie Unterberger. "It's like a psycho-sonic slideshow in your brain."

Their Western Sahara-industrial sound combined with incense and even fire inspired future industrial groups known for their remarkable live shows, such as Crash Worship and ¡Tchkung!.

Savage Republic “Meteora” by Savage Republic on YouTube

The band went on to release several records before splitting up in 1990. They reunited around original member Licher in 2002 and have continued playing since then with longtime members Thom Fuhrmann and Ethan Port. Meteora, the band's 8th studio album, was released in 2021, and will make up the majority of their set at the Bottom of the Hill on Sept. 30. Opening for them are local rockers Macerator and Silent Pictures.

Savage Republic
Friday, Sept. 30, 7:30 p.m. $15-$18
Bottom of the Hill

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