April 11 2012 01:00 PM

Newly reunited San Diego icons finish off West Coast tour

smoking1
Hot Snakes' Gar Wood (left) and John Reis
Photo by Peter Holslin

Abandon all hope, ye who enter the pit at a Hot Snakes show. When the recently reunited San Diego band played at The Casbah last Friday, the wall-towall crowd was an unstoppable whirlpool of sweat, flesh and bone. With discarded PBR cans crinkling underfoot, a cameraman was thrashed around and my notes were reduced to chaotic scribbles. Stray shoes bobbed atop the mass like orphaned dinghies.

The show was the final date in Hot Snakes' short West Coast reunion tour, and it sold out almost as soon as tickets went on sale. Naturally, the turnout included a who's-who of San Diego scene vets, giving the night a distinctly down-home vibe. Indeed, both Hot Snakes and the opener, Beehive & The Barracudas, played several renditions of “Happy Birthday to You” to friends in the crowd.

In the years since Hot Snakes' breakup in 2005, singer / guitarist Rick Froberg and guitarist John Reis have kept busy with Obits and The Night Marchers, respectively. But the quartet's reunion last year came at just the right time, offering a ferocious alternative to the recent wave of sax-tooting soft-rockers and green-haired “seapunks.” (Seriously, look it up.)

As they roared through much of their discography in about an hour-and-a-half, their primal rock was an imposing presence. My guts were filled with the sledgehammer rhythms of bassist Gar Wood and drummers Jason Kourkounis and Mario Rubalcaba, who traded duties halfway through. As I rocked back and forth to Froberg and Reis' slithering, armor-plated riffs, I took out my earplugs to experience the full effect. I could still hear a faint ringing two days later.

Hot Snakes might not be working on any new material, but these musicians clearly aren't retiring any time soon. As the show drew to a close, the churning pool of human flesh grew ever more placid, but the musicians still tore through four encores, like sharks in a blood-scented sea.



Email peterh@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter at @peterholslin.

Calendar

  • Known as the ‘Official Scripps National Spelling Bee Watch Party for Adults,’ guests can cheer on kids in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN before competing in a spelling bee themselves
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • A mass action against the closing of the UCSD University Art Gallery. Participants will meet at the Silent Tree (located near the Library Walk) and march together toward the Gallery
  • Local science illustrator Melissa Walter presents new abstract works that are literal interpretations of astronomical theories
  • So Say We All invites listeners to hear stories about real life, the internet, the ways those places intersect or the way they don't intersect at all, told by seven locals
  • The author, comic book writer, and son of Stephen King will sign his new apocalyptic thriller, The Fireman
See all events on Thursday, May 26