The gray and brown skies above Interstate 5 gave way to smooth, high wispy clouds and dangerous winds at the 580 split. Shawn “Son of Trucker” Nourse fearless held the Yukon steady as the 60 mile-an-hour gusts tossed our tall SUV about. San Francisco forces this difficult passage on travelers who wish to reach its cold and foggy streets. This airlock, this threshold, this unseen portal, protects the peninsular city from the flighty demons and weightless fairies that hover like insects over tortured San Joaquin souls, buzzing in their ears and driving them mad. O sunharshed Valley.
Of course, San Francisco is full of its own devils and witches, more than enough to bedlam its inhabitants. We Hawks have several family members who live by the shark-filled, dangerous bay waters who are driven periodically mad by these dark spirits. Alcatraz was not built on that jagged rock for nothing. When the one thousand cell doors slam simultaneously shut, it is terror itself that is released into the atmosphere, like a bell tolling the long dead escapee souls scraping along the bottom of this sad and salty sea. Tookie, tookie, tookie, b’gaw, b’gahw, b’ghawww.Yes, the Bay Area and surroundings are dark at the core. L.A. has its Ellroy, but who of the north will exorcise in print the regional horrors corked by edifices of Silicon Wealth, shouted down by new age manipulaspeak and habitual radicalrant? We volunteer.
Shall we speak of the high powered Palo Alto lawyer who drove her interior decorator to a nervous breakdown? Shall we speak of the Mount Tam two grand mountain bikers seeking death by cliffplummet, Peets tripleshot tightening their chest as bravado yields the floor to horror? Shall we ponder a haighthaunted populace, haight haunted by the Dead, its Dead departed and its Living Dead, a legacy of giants eternally unrivaled? Rome has its Caesars, SF its Jerry and Janis. Oh, horror. Oh fog. Oh dotcom.*Nevertheless, a small spark sparks deep in the heart of this Mill Valley relic in relic strewn Mill Valley, downtown, peetsfulsome and chicorganic. We roll down Throckmorton towards a sun swallowed by forested ridge and pull up in front of the club, greet family and old friends at the entrance while Porsche Cayennes and Mercedes convertibles fight for the limited parking spots beneath the wise and weary redwoods.
Every Hawks journey has a patron saint, and our nominee for this one is Mars Arizona, who have set up this show and handed the Hawks the headliner slot. Inside Sweetwater they are soundchecking, and it’s sounding good. A good sounding room, sounding with songgood.** The family lovefest continues as siblings, in-laws, godfathers, Mom Lacques and Papa Olguin show up, and many eventually wind up on stage. Mars Arizona harmonize a sweet acoustic set, with their badass guitar player adding the sting. We Hawks had a betterthandustingoffthecobwebs set, pushed by our northern steel brother Dave Zirbel. Satisfaction.
Nearly Beloved, with BrothersLax and Eric Banjo and rocksteady DrumRubin and aforementioned Zirbel and aforeaforementioned Papa Olguin, Olguin of Santa Monica, SM when pure and neglected, soggy and soulful, BritInfused and snoringbeachfogside, Young Papa Olguine bass virtuoso on the L.A.1980neowwave scene, thrift store suit and Beefheart noizdevotion, Cathay de Grande and Rae’s on Pico, kids trying to be adults not adults trying to be kids. Our current state of the nation. Never mind. Papa’s unbowed and wiser.Nearly Beloved broke out a nice new MattLax original “My P-role Officer”, from Matt’s days trying to graft a Future onto the twisted limbs of 14 year old gansta killers in the steel grip of Special Ed. Everyone in the band is a fine soloist, and the night concluded with a jam on “Whipping Post,” yes, that very whipping post, and in 2007 Greg Allman is tied to Harrahs Reno, see him tonight, or see the Hawks 50 miles to the west in Camino, in the brown foothill prelude to the high heights.
Next day some hiked Mt. Tam, some wandered Tiburon, but all boarded the Yukon in mellow late afternoon, across the Tookie Memorial Bridge once more for what some would call Oakland, others might deem Emeryville. A nondescript brick and glass façade patrolled by tall hotpantstreetwalkers, and real hippies, graying hair and bluing eyes twinkling, greet us and escort us into a magic room, more magic in contrast to mean street outside, San Pablo, that’s all we’re going to tell you. *One of these scribes is on a jamesjoycebinge, halfwaythru and driven mad by Ulysses, so please understand and indulge any retroavantgardean prose you might have to thicketweave through. On a happier note, the Hawks are launching a web based service: ReJoyce. We will convert your prose to 1904 Hibernian in Exile near impenetrable neospeak.
**This is tough to shake.