San Francisco Sound: At El Rincon, SF, CA, July 10, 2009 By Federico

Oh, it was quite a weekend of shows last weekend here in San Francisco. Hard to decide what to do sometimes! So many good choices! But, in the end, the San Francisco Sound and Buttholes Urfers show won out for Friday night. I’ll only write here about San Francisco Sound, as I did not see Buttholes Urfers’ (Butthole Surfers cover band) whole set (the sound and music were excellent but the imitations of the demeanor of the Butthole Surfers got tiring pretty quickly).  

So, San Francisco Sound at El Rincon. First of all, I should say that I’ve never been to El Rincon (http://www.elrinconsf.com/) before and I quite enjoyed it. It’s a Mexican and Cuban restaurant by day. Apparently, they also regularly have DJs and live bands. I found the décor to be delightful, with its large (cheesy) pictures of white tigers and sharks, and trippy colored lights. Although it’s not a huge place, there was ample room for checking out the band, and the sound was pretty good.

My friend had explained to me a little about what San Francisco Sound (SF Sound) is about, but I didn’t exactly get it until I saw them. I believe it was put together by Weasel Walter (of The Flying Luttenbachers and Lake Of Dracula [plus a zillion other things) fame] after he moved to California, as a continuation of his Chicago Sound band.Basically it’s a bunch of people from other San Francisco bands (including, amongst others, Erase Errata and Bronze), who do covers of popular songs, but, from what I understand, they don’t practice beforehand (nor do they really tune their instruments, apparently). Instead, they are supposed to learn their individual parts on their own, and then when they do play out (which I don’t think is terribly frequently), they can hear the songs through their monitors (kind of karaoke-style) for a bit of help.

When I saw them on Saturday the line-up was something like this:
1 drummer
2 singers (1 male, 1 female)
1 woman with a guitar who was not playing it, but who, rather, was holding it, jumping around and singing back-up
1 bassist
1 main vocalist, who also played guitar
4 other guitarists, who also sang back up

I think that’s everyone. Many of them had costumes on: masks, wigs, ape suits, whatever.

There was a lot of beer drinking going on. Some of the songs they covered include: “Roxanne” (Police), “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” (Journey), “We Will Rock You” (Queen), “Welcome to the Jungle” (Guns ‘n’ Roses), and “Sweet Emotion” (Aerosmith). It was very entertaining. On some songs they did better than others, and actually produced some kind of coherent tune. Sometimes, they actually rocked a bit. You can’t beat five guitarists for pure rhythmic fury. Sometimes, they sounded pretty punk – again, the five guitars, it really kind of turned things up a bit. But a lot of the time they sounded like a complete train wreck. It was fantastic.

At the end, there was some guitar smashing and drunken stumbling and falling. I’m not sure how many times I’d need to see SF Sound – they can be a little confusing, and I don’t think I’d ever call it “good” – but I would certainly check them out a few more times, because they made me laugh like hell.

And I’ll definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a fun time!