Spanish Gold, Clear Plastic Masks and Local Upstarts Yesway Rock Rickshaw Stop


Wednesday night, The City was treated to a solid trio of acts touring on amazing new albums. SFCritic photographer Pedro Paredes was armed with his camera, and I was sporting my Giants cap fresh off the Tim Lincecum no-hitter as we took in a show that, on paper at least, was a rather odd pairing of acts.

The opener was SF local Yesway. Even though I had listened to their newly-announced, self titled album Yesway, I was a little surprised to see a vibraphone (yes I had to look it up) on stage. Friend’s Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing moved the crowd with vocal harmonies that paired with synchronized folk guitar melodies. A little meek when talking to the crowd, once they were performing the soulful lyrics poured from the duo’s bodies, creating a great base for the shredding rock that followed.

Listen to single “Howlin’ Face:”

I have to admit that Nashville-based Clear Plastic Masks stole the show for me. I had also listened to their recent LP Being There, and, while I expected some good psych rock mixed with focused, smooth lyrics, nothing prepared me for the shred-fest that lay ahead.

I should briefly relay my impressions of the band in my notes. (Note: I had a couple beers at the show.) Lead singer Andrew Katz had me laughing the whole show and was one of the most charismatic, soulful frontmen I’ve seen in a while. Bassist Eduardo DuQuesne played the whole show with his massive, curly mane covering his face like ‘Cousin It’ from The Adams Family. Drummer Charles Garmendia kind of looked and played like someone put ‘Encino Man’ in a polo shirt and  strapped him to a drum kit. The lead guitarist Matt Menold was in constant motion, and his rhythm and hard-driving chords melted my brain, for real.

Seeing them is like being transported to Nashville, Austin or even the set of ‘Roadhouse.‘ Check out “Pegasus in Glue” to get a sample of their style:

Headliners Spanish Gold are a buzz band and supergroup of sorts touring on well-received debut album South of Nowhere. The trio ballooned to a six piece ensemble for the tour, as they played a brand of music influenced by soul, southern and folk rock. At times they have the feeling of The Black Keys, but with a much fuller sound that you can only get with two guitars, a bassist, keys, and layers of male and female vocals.

The music is anchored by driving bass with guitar jams that got the crowd moving on their feet. They didn’t disappoint the packed floor playing favorites such as “Out on the Street.” Singer and guitarist Dante Schwebel’s (City and Colour) silky-smooth lyrics are complimented by wicked guitar riffs from Adrian Quesada (previously Grupo Fantasma). Behind the drum kit is Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket), who during the opening song he was jamming so hard that he had to stop the show to secure his bass drum to the stage.

Beyond the awesome new album, they played a fantastic cover of Ghetto Boys’ “There is Something In My Heart” that they recorded for Record Store Day:

Overall a great evening of music. Thanks to Pedro Paredes for the great photos. Check out his work here.