Tom Hayes 18-Oct-2006 San Francisco's Shiver

Hard to fathom now, but San Francisco was once a blue collar town filled with longshoreman, canning slugs, underpaid brewery and chocolate factory workers. Even the beats like Jack Kerouac championed it. Despite this, there were a surprising few bands that represented that downtrodden underbelly of SF Society, and today are all but forgotten as the mega-millionaire software moguls, leftist academics and clueless hipster culture freaks have overrun the place and celebrate what they don’t understand. Enter Shiver, one of the most insane power trios to ever play anywhere, anytime. Recorded in that uncertain time between hippy-dippy psychedelia and the gritty days of post OPEC oil embargos, Shiver gives us a peek into a time/place that is largely forgotten. We’ll make this review real simple: If you like long instrumental jams, with loads of effects applied to the guitar, and a relentless rhythm section, then you need this. Yesterday. The songs themselves are mere blues rock skeletons (with male Joplin-like vocal grittiness), in reality nothing more than excuses to launch into the next crazy jam. ‘Tough as Nails’, ‘Fixer’, ‘Bone Shaker’, ‘Interstellar Vision’ and the 14+ minute ‘Alpha Man’ are all about rocking you into oblivion. Rockadelic originally unearthed these archived recordings a few years back, and now Shadoks has taken the role of the CD issuer. Certainly in the top echelon of amazing finds from the good investigators of Rockadelic, an LP specialist label that has found more rare treasure than anyone else. Soundboard recording is in amazing shape, and isn’t too far removed from a major label live release of the era. Shadoks’ CD adds 4 more tracks, in lesser sound, and quite frankly, lesser quality, as they call out Shiver’s more basic blues rock roots to no purpose. Quit at the original Rockadelic release and you have a full album that is essential for those that dig cosmic blues jams. More rough and ready than the spaced out Krauts of Ash Ra Tempel and Guru Guru, but we’re in the same ballpark here.

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