My first show on Coheed and Cambria’s Good Apollo I Neverender tour was in Oakland on a Friday night. I went with some of the guys from Septacy, one of my favorite local bands. I was supposed to go see Coheed again on Saturday in Los Angeles, but Septacy was playing an album release show for their first full-length Bookends at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, and another of my favorite local bands Serf & James was opening. So I changed my plans and went to support my local bands instead. Coheed can wait.
It immediately felt like the right decision upon walking into Bottom of the Hill. It felt like a family reunion. Hugging all of Septacy and Serf & James, and all the people connected to them (girlfriends, friends, etc.), it hit me that this is my local scene. It’s so cool to have that. And I love these people.
Bottom of the Hill was killing it. Star Wars: Rogue One was playing behind the bar and all the Septacy guys were super excited about it. It was cute.
“We’re all a bunch of nerds.”
Septacy’s bassist Justin Vanegas rocked out with me to “Island,” which of course led to some Coheed discussions, as seems to be a normal thing for me these days.
Me: “I’m sorry but I love this album.”
Justin: “The Color Before the Sun is my second least favorite Coheed album.”
Me: “What’s your least favorite?”
Justin: “Year of the Black Rainbow.”
Me: “I love Year of the Black Rainbow!”
Justin: “Once you get past the godawful mixing, it’s not bad.”
Me: “I mostly got into it last summer and I think it’s an emotional thing. I listened to it like every day and it’s because like every song is so heart wrenching. All of them.”
Justin: “It’s the second best storytelling after Afterman.”
And then I had to give him a hard time for not moshing me at the show.
Me: “You didn’t join me in the pit last night!”
Justin: “I was trying not to upset Dad. He [Jason Bolich—Septacy’s drummer] just kept saying we have a very important show tomorrow so don’t go too hard.”
Me: “But your people needed you!”
Justin: “I KNOW!”
Random sidenote: All the members of Septacy refer to each other, and the guy who mixed their album, Justin Fritter, as “dad.” I don’t know where this originated, but I’m going with it, and they’re all my dads now too.
Serf & James
Serf and James had tried booking their own show at Bottom of the Hill recently, but were told they couldn’t draw a large enough crowd. Weirdly enough, they’re playing Napa Valley’s huge Memorial Day weekend festival, BottleRock, so I feel like drawing a crowd shouldn’t be an issue, at least not for much longer.
They were on first at this show, and of course they were awesome.
Their more-or-less manager Julia let me and bassist Yokoi’s brother record the band for their snapchat for a few songs, so I didn’t record as much for myself as I sometimes do.
We tried to mosh a little, but it’s never really appropriate to mosh to Serf & James. But we do it anyway, every time.
Serf: “I’m sorry for my dance moves.”
They played a cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.”
“We co-wrote this song with Drake. I taught him his dance moves for the video.”
That would actually be believable.
Yokoi jumped off stage to play in the crowd for a bit, so that was pretty cool.
Serf: “No stagediving. So we won’t be stagediving.”
Me: “I’ll catch you!”
Serf: “Yes, I’ll stagedive on the smallest girl in the room. You’ll catch me? I believe in you.”
And of course, they’re playing Bottom of the Hill, so they have to play their song “Bottom of the Hill.”
“We didn’t just write this song for tonight. It’s actually our most played song on Spotify.”
The biggest crowd was there for Strawberry Girls. Who are not even girls. I hadn’t heard of them before this show, but apparently they’re huge.
They’re like a metal-ish instrumental band, kinda reminded me of Polyphia. I have a bit of a hard time really getting into instrumental music. I like lyrics and melodies and singing along. But regardless, they were super talented.
Septacy killed it. It seemed like they were both really excited and really nervous, but they did a great job, so they had nothing to worry about. They were really tight.
Septacy’s music is very reminiscent of the Dear Hunter and Coheed and Cambria. They’ve got that proggy feel. I have written in my notes from the show “I love their soft/heavy thing,” which probably makes no sense, but we’re going with it.
I’m assuming a lot of what they played was from Bookends.
They’re a lot of fun onstage. Justin’s dancing made me happy, and guitarist Zach Rice made a commercial-like announcement in the middle of their set about how coming to a show isn’t enough and you have to buy merch too.
“Back to you, Nick [Redmond, frontman].”
“If you don’t sing along, you’re super lame.”
These guys could totally be playing bigger shows or getting signed soon. They have the talent for it. They’ve just gotta get in front of the right people I think. Their whole shtick seems to be what’s really hot right now, and I know a lot of people would be into it.