Live Shots: Hightower, Walken, and Black Cobra at YBCA


It was all head banging and high-flying guitar yesterday evening in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' outdoor sculpture garden. With the wailing thrash of Hightower, the electric doom of Walken, and two-man hardcore power of Black Cobra, the event, dubbed Metal Mania, was a success.

Groups of bewildered black-shirted fans slowly started to gather near 6 p.m. to catch Hightower, mostly climbing to the stone bleachers to sit for the still-early opening set. Hightower didn't seem to mind, they appeared genuinely stoked to be there, all big hair head shaking and quick-footed shoeless drumming. But no one seemed more appreciative then metal maniac-quilter Ben Venom, the artist who pitched the show to YBCA in the first place.

He stood for every band, nodded along with the rapid-fire drumming, and at one point during Black Cobra's sublimely heavy performance (extra credit: the band's next SF show is with Kyuss and the Sword), I believe Venom spun around to give the finger to the upscale highrises behind us -- but that could just be wishful thinking on my part.

Those who attended owe Venom a thank-you because it was a incomparable experience, such noise and vigor in such a peaceful space, opportunity otherwise unknown. We got to wander the museum's decorated halls, then head outside to catch three epic local acts. Let's say it together: Thank you for bringing metal to the museum, Venom.


All photos by Chris Stevens.