(Guest writer Ben Manzella returns to NCS with this review (and his photos) of performances by Inter Arma, Yautja, and Hornss in San Francisco on May 2, 2015.)
Saturday night in San Francisco; if this peninsula of a city doesn’t already feel crowded during the week, you feel it on the weekends. This weekend was interesting, though, considering that in one Saturday night you had to clearly define whether live music was your priority or instead stay in keeping with the modern culture and hype. Basically, sit at home or in a bar eating overpriced food for an overpriced event that ended up being underwhelming (the Pacquaio-Mayweather fight) or go see a metal show. For me it was never a question, the metal show was always going to win; but then it came down to which one?
See, 924 Gilman (a non-profit, volunteer-run, all-ages club beloved by the punk and hardcore scene) was hosting The Body and Full of Hell along with an assortment of what I assume was mostly local support, including Kowloon Walled City; Septic Flesh and Moonspell were incanting their darkness in Oakland; and then Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco (a bar turned venue as of almost 25 years ago) was hosting Inter Arma and Yautja with local support from Hornss. You see the choice I made.
There was a mixup at the door, but thankfully the bassist of Inter Arma (Joe) was kind enough to help me out and get me in without really any hassle. From what I’ve read, the Inter Arma and Yautja guys had done some combined dates with The Body and Full of Hell; I’m convinced though, that Bay Area show bookers did everything they could to prevent that in order to prevent an earthquake.
Humor aside, lets get down to the music. First up was Hornss, and when I see bands like this I’m reminded why I love San Francisco. These guys got up on stage to play some music, and play they damn well did! With a sound straight out of a cloudy rehearsal room, they treated the crowd to some headbanging jams. Instead of trying to list every band you could associate with this scene of music, aside from that one Sabbath band, I’d recommend you guys give Hornss a listen.
Trust me, if you fancy the kind of solid Rock music that really helped lay the foundation for Metal, I think these guys will be just what you’re looking for. According to their Bandcamp page, their next show will be supporting Uffomamut and Usnea on their upcoming US Trek at the Elbo Room here in San Francisco on June 3rd.
Yautja was on next, and they again got on that stage with a purpose. Luckily a few more fans had come in, but unfortunately for the great musicians who played that night, it still looked like it was going to be a smaller show than these guys deserved. Nonetheless, Yautja were blindingly fierce in the way they played their music. I don’t know how there couldn’t have been at least one moment of jaw-dropping amazement in their abilities for each person in the audience that night.
The trio shredded away at their respective instruments, all while sharing vocal duties at different times. If you’re into Metal, Punk, and especially both, give these guys a listen and your support.
Finally, it was time for Inter Arma to take the stage. They were performing as a six-piece as they played their long single-song EP, the monolith known as The Cavern.
The various waves this song goes through make it an interesting journey, both in hearing it as well as in seeing it performed. The additional member, whose name I don’t know for sure, played a Theremin. If you aren’t aware of this instrument, you should look up some YouTube videos about it, because it is an interesting device and has definitely provided some great texture when utilized by Metal bands.
Inter Arma played another song before ending their set, but I’m honestly not familiar enough to give you a track name. I can only say that these are great musicians who definitely have more endurance than most (probably more fight than what I heard about the Mayweather bout). Check their music out on Bandcamp or via Relapse.
Thanks to Islander for letting me do this write-up about the show, and to Joe for helping me get in the other night. Until next time.