That said, he's consistently amazed by the enthusiasm of audiences for the broad spectrum of acts they pack in. "We're really proud of our diversity. That's something I've always strived for. And our staff really clamors for. They don't want the same thing every night."
One random week at the club might play host to an up-and-coming rock 'n' roll band, a Nerd Nite talk or Moth StorySLAM, and a lesbian dance party. This week, however, will be an even glitzier lineup — a sort of best-of mix of the lively venue's thrilling past decade.
I'd be remiss if I didn't note a certain pang of despair after learning in late December of John Dwyer's SF abandonment. The Thee Oh Sees front person is much more than his current band (now on hiatus). He's a San Francisco art punk-garage rock icon, having cutting his teeth in the late '90s and early aughts in seminal SF bands Pink and Brown and the Coachwhips before achieving even more national acclaim with Thee Oh Sees. He screamed into megaphones and invited the crowds to circle in closer, closer even.
He was one of the last holdouts of a dwindling local DIY scene, and news of his departure for sunny LA sent shockwaves through the blogosphere. One friend posted: "Somewhere I read, 'If John Dwyer leaves, you really know it's an end of an era' and well, it's an end of an era." SF Weekly was first to report the move, quoting Dwyer at the Great American Music Hall — "This will be the last Oh Sees show for a long while, so dig in" — and confirming with the band's booking agent, Annie Southworth, that Thee Oh Sees would indeed be going on indefinite hiatus. In the meantime, hold your rockers closer tonight.
CHAIN & THE GANG AND THE SHIVAS
Speaking of art punk legends, Ian Svenonius' Chain & the Gang is back! The DC group, led by the lithe former Make-Up, Nation of Ulysses, and Weird War front person has a sound that matches its moniker. It's the shrieking, chain-dragging rock 'n' roll of weirdo outlaws (the Gang including organ, saxophone, and traditional guitar-drums-bass). Svenonius' gang comes to SF with the Shivas, a quite young fellow K Records act that pays tribute to fuzzy '60s dance rock and throws in some horror surf in all the wavy, beat-filled, harmonious ways you'd hope for. The Shivas released its debut LP, Whiteout, on K this past April. A few spins of the record are highly recommended before the show. It makes you want to make out on the beach at night. Thu/9, 7pm, $8. Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF; www.makeoutroom.com. *