Tony Papanikolas

History today

Black Cobra provide irrefutable evidence of underground metal circa-2009
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

TREATISE If, 20 years from now, recumbent in your easy chair with your slippers and favorite bong, some snot-nosed younger sibling should ask you about the zeitgeist of late '00s underground metal (apparently the kid took an art history class), you might consider introducing the shaver to San Francisco's Black Cobra, a two-piece that almost certainly could not exist at any other point in time.

From the tarry primordial soup of Cobra's cavernous low-end emerge the various slimy, naked hallmarks of an increasingly protean metal scene — unapologetic Sleep Read more »

The ring

BAY WRESTLING: Pro wrestling comes alive again in one of its oldest, most devoted homes — the Bay Area
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

COVER STORY Going to the DNA Lounge during the middle of the day is a strange proposition. But on a Saturday afternoon in late June, the San Francisco bar is filled with a hundred or so people, including, strangely enough, Kris Kristofferson, whose son Jody is trying out a different kind of public career. There's a smattering of people hanging out on the balcony level, but most of us are pressed against metal guard rails that surround a ring set up in the center of the dance floor. Read more »

We walk with a zombie

Nights and days of the dead economy and culture -- in art, movies, books, and song
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PHENOM In our heads, in our heads: zombies, zombies, zombies.

Don't blame me for taking a bite out of your brain and inserting an annoying tune in its place — once again, not long after the last onslaught of undead trends, our culture is totally zombie mad.

The phrase "zombie bank" is multiplying at a disturbing rate within economic circles. In music, the group Zombi — hailing from the zombie capitol Pittsburgh — is reviving the analogue electronics of George A. Read more »

Forever our kings

Pentagram forges a five-star caliber five-pointed star of sound
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a&eletters@sfbg.com

The simplified, VH1 history of rock music tells us that Black Sabbath's landmark first two albums Black Sabbath (Warner Bros., 1970) and Paranoid (Warner Bros., 1971) buried the 1960s rock aesthetic with the strength of a thousand Sha-Na-Nas at Woodstock. But Sabbath wasn't quite the peerless anomaly that popular mythology makes out. Read more »

Hightower, One in the Chamber, Futur Skullz

A revelation to anyone whose nights out have been lacking raw power
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PREVIEW Hightower is quite possibly the only prog rock group that could be accurately described as "gnarly" (sorry, Van Der Graaf Generator). Proving that complex compositions and unpretentious rock 'n' roll aren't mutually exclusive, the San Francisco power trio mixes unpredictable tempos and spacey guitar shredding with beer- and weed-fueled skate thrash to create a style tailor-made for raging circle pits and blacklight poster stare-downs. Read more »

Mayhem

Architects of the modern black metal sound
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PREVIEW Since 1984, Oslo's favorite sons Mayhem have had a reasonable claim to the title of most fucked-up band on the planet, the eagerly repeated stories of the lurid spectacle that is their live show representing only some of the milder aspects of their mythos. Read more »