Frank Gallagher: El Rio Soundman, Self-Proclaimed "Old Bastard," and S.F. Rock Lifer

Categories: In Print

Juan Pardo
Frank Gallagher at El Rio
The Soundman: "President, Sound Engineer, and Bad Tempered Old Bastard," is the title on Frank Gallagher's business card. But the surliness there and on the card's slogan -- "Intimidating musicians since 1975" -- is contradicted somewhat by the man's demeanor, as well as his occupation. Gallagher is the longtime sound man at El Rio; he's run the mixing board at this beloved Mission dive bar and live venue for more than 25 years. And even he will admit that you don't spend a quarter-century improving the sound of bands most people have not heard of -- and will never hear of -- if you don't really love it.

"It keeps you young," Gallagher says of his work, with a gravelly chuckle. "When a band is on, and the hair on your arm stands up, you know they're doing something right, and you know you're doing something right -- it's as good as sex..." [continue reading]

The Return of Jess Scott: In March 2013, Tenderloin bar Aunt Charlie's hosted a rare event. Not one of the usual glamorous drag galas, but a rock show booked by Jess Scott as a farewell before her move to New York. Scott carried over gear from her practice space next door at Turk and Taylor, rigged up a rickety PA, and distributed copies of her Make-a-Mess fanzine to everyone who passed through the door. To enter the bathroom, bar patrons surmounted tom-toms and amps. Once the secret gig was stiflingly packed, Scott led her newest band, Flesh World, through abraded pop songs spiked by solemn leads from guitarist Scott Moore and throbbing backbeats from Diane Anastasio. Then U.K. indie-pop act Golden Grrrls played an unannounced set. The night bore the taste for pop music presented in a punk context that distinguishes Scott's work. The revelry was dimmed a bit, though, because everyone knew that the night's conductor was moving away... [continue reading]

Sizzle and Fizzle: Highs and lows from the week in S.F. music.

Hidden Agenda: Why you should try to see 10 small shows this week.

And we recommend more shows!

Panda Bear at the Fillmore on Thursday, May 22!

Kid Cudi at Bill Graham Civic on Friday, May 23!

Pink Mountaintops at the Chapel on Wednesday, May 28!

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