Bottom of the Hill
August 3, 2005
Review by Meg Sharkey
Although it was a Wednesday night, Bottom of the Hill was pretty packed for the double bill of local favorites Scissors for Lefty and perennial favorite Mary Timony (formerly of Helium). The combination of these two proved a strong draw for girl rock fans, straight and gay, and it was nice to be on the predominant side of the gender equation at a show for a change. The foursome of Scissors for Lefty took the stage and something strange happened. People were dancing. They were dancing like crazy, full of excitement and infectious enthusiasm which spread to everyone around them. San Francisco *does* want to dance -- you just have to be playing the right music (see: Lovemakers).
And the music was great. Very catchy, danceable pop with inflections of Talking Heads, or "Make up the Breakdown" Hot Hot Heat, with some of the scope and depth of the Arcade Fire, and the angular quirkiness of Modest Mouse. The singer Bryan has great vocals, which he sometimes delivers over a CB, giving the delivery a warm staticky sound, like you've discovered some pirate radio broadcast on the FM dial. This is a really fun band to see live, and I'm enjoying bouncing around to the CD in my car as well. Go catch their show while they're still playing the small clubs, I'm telling you! You're missing out! Go!
Mary Timony's current line up is stripped down from previous incarnations I've seen. She took the stage as a duo, with her hard-hitting drummer Devin Ocampo. The new album Ex Hex (on Lookout! Records) is much more the rocker side of Mary Timony, in contrast to her last two albums of quirky faerie pop (which I also love). They definitely focused on the new material and rocked it up with some serious extended jam sessions, the best being on the last song of the set "9 X 3". Mary Timony is one of my guitar heroines, and it was great to watch her draw out these intricate guitar lines, and then punch it out with some Pete Townshend windmills and kicks. If only all my Wednesdays could rock this hard!