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Den Fathers 

Lo-fi rules the Li Po

Wednesday, Aug 23 2006
Chinatown's Li Po Lounge — a former opium den sitting on Grant between Washington and Jackson — is one of the coolest fuckin' bars in San Francisco. Its exotic, faux-temple design makes the place look like some surreal set straight out of John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China, which is the greatest movie ever made about an inept California truck driver battling ancient Chinese demons underneath the streets of our fine city.

However, the Li Po is also wicked-sweet because its dank little basement serves as a venue for indie-rock acts and strange sounds from the underground. Case in point: Spencer Clark (one-half of the Mission-based duo the Skaters) is trying his hand at booking gigs around town, and he's lined up a killer show for Wednesday, August 23, featuring two side projects that have recently sprouted from the international cadre of lo-fi rock outfits and drone heads whom the Skaters run with.

GHQ — comprising drummer Pete Nolan of the Magik Markers, axeman Steve Gunn, and the Double Leopards' multi-instrumentalist Marcia Bassett — just released Heavy Elements, a collection of feedback-soaked fusions of celestial ragas, shattered Appalachian folk, and free-form ensemble play. It's a total stoner throw-down. And what's more, Bassett, an innovator of delay pedal freakery who also serves time in Hototogisu, has teamed up with out there six-stringer Tom Carter, whose primary project is the Oakland duo Charalambides. Under the tag Zaika, Bassett and Carter have released two records to date that see them alchemically mutate a dizzying array of undulating sonic effects 'n' fuzz into what sounds like flowing rivers of molten steel.

So go spray-paint "Porkchop Express" across the side of your car and head down to the Li Po; between the décor, the booze, and the trippy jams, yer head is gonna be swimming.

About The Author

Justin F. Farrar


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