The other day I was reminiscing with my buddy Jay Beaman about what it was like to see the Fucking Champs at 12 Galaxies right here in the Mission.
The Fucking Champs were sort of a metal band for non-metal-heads I guess? One serious metal fan laughed at me when I said I was a fan, explaining that the Champs were “hipster metal.” I was like, wellllll whatever you want to call it I fucking loooove it.
12 Galaxies was a gloriously scuzzy rock club in the spot on Mission near 22nd that is now called Balançoire. During the early-to-mid ’00s they booked seemingly every band I cared about, and they had cool wraparound mezzanine. It was probably the first place during my tenure in the Mission whose closure hit me really hard (other than KFC).
I was telling Jay that one of my favorite memories was during the period where Bender’s was closed and in limbo after being firebombed. Johnny Davis from Bender’s, one of my all-time favorite bartenders, had picked up a shift or two at Doc’s Clock (right next door to 12 Galaxies) and so I’d walk over there early, buy a drink from Johnny, go see a band, pop back over and buy a shot from Johnny, go back and see the next band, go back and do another shot, etc. etc. until last call. Gooooood times.
Our pal Lizzy (screaming over there on the far right), who relocated to Detroit a couple years back, but during her 6 years in SF, she had a lot of fun times at legendary Pop’s emo night “Diary” (RIP). She did a little #tbt remembrance today:
I’ve been to a lot of parties which ended because they were broken up, in college mostly. For whatever reason, it’s always going to be a little bit significant to me that the only San Francsico party I was ever at which was broken up by police was a Diary after party.
Unless someone told me something way wrong there was a noise complaint because everyone was singing Understanding in a Car Crash too loud.
The fine folks at Bernalwood today shine a spotlight on a local business which has managed to cultivate a vibe that is not ’10s SF or ’00s SF or even late- or mid-’90s SF — but early-’90s SF:
Want to know what counterculture looked like in the analog days before Tim Berners-Lee unleashed his Prometheus on our unsuspecting planet? What were the sensibilities of a young and alienated generation in an age of ascendant Reaganism, cassette tapes, and desktop publishing euphoria? What were the totems and signifiers of this edgy, halcyon time?
What did it look like? What did it smell like??
Wonder no more: It looked and smelled exactly like Thrillhouse Records.
Local nightlife historian David Enos takes a look back at happier times:
Edinburgh Castle, 2010. There used to be many “hot spots” in town. Uptown, El Rio, Hemlock, Elbo Room, Make-Out Room, Latin American, the Knockout. You usually walked in and spotted several friends right away, or people you had seen around, wanted to meet, and were soon having drinks with. A few years later it is an entirely remade city. Everywhere is crammed full of unremarkable strangers. [link]
I feel the same way sometimes. But maybe it’s just that David and I are in our 30s now and our friends are married and boring or moved to New York (or both), and we’re too old to try to meet new people. I dunno.