Back here on this side of the Bay, A Million Billion Dying Suns — the psych-rock project of busy guitar virtuoso Nate Mercereau, who tours with Sheila E., among others (last week he was backing Dave Chappelle at the SFJazz Center) — have embarked on a mini-residency of sorts at the Knockout, starting with a Feb. 11 show. They recently had a song featured in a GoPro commercial, accompanying Shaun White as he blasts through snow-covered hills, but the band's had my attention for about a year now, especially since the arrival last November's Strawberry EP, with its slow-building, expertly crafted wall of spaced-out guitar fuzz, particularly on "Strawberry Letter 23," a cover/homage to Shuggie Otis.
"I record a lot of stuff by myself, and Shuggie Otis has been a huge inspiration in that respect," says Mercereau, who recently moved to LA, though he finds himself back in SF "every two weeks or so" — the band's studio is still here. "Though it was also for our friend [manager and friend to many an SF musician] Steve Brodsky, who passed away last year. He really loved that song, and it felt like a way to do something for him."
The Knockout feels a little small for the seriously powerful five-piece, Mercereau will acknowledge, but he wanted a residency at "a place our friends can walk to, a down-home punk rock spot that's in the neighborhood." If all goes well, he says, AMBDS will have another few shows here shortly, regardless of his new home base. "It's easier than you might think," he says. "We just live on Highway 5."
With Rock N' Roll Adventure Kids, Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits, and the Gregors
Friday, Feb. 7, 7:30pm, $10
924 Gilman Street
924 Gilman, Berkeley
A MILLION BILLION DYING SUNS
With What Fun Life Was and Lemme Adams
Tuesday, Feb. 11, 8:30pm, $6
3223 Mission, SF