[Today: Spearhead burns down the house…]
Spearhead played The Fillmore in San Francisco on Saturday Night, and to my utter, jaw-dropping amazement, came out and opened for themselves as a high-energy Talking Heads cover band called The Rocking Heads. They proceeded to burn down the house with a mini-set of Talking Heads songs that stayed surprisingly faithful to the originals and whipped the capacity crowd into an ecstatic frenzy. In terms of pure sound, it’s hard to think of a whiter band than Talking Heads or a more afro-centric group than Spearhead, but that chasm was quickly bridged by ripping versions of ‘Psycho Killer’ ‘Girlfriend Is Better’ ‘Take Me To The River’ and more. Spearhead frontman Michael Franti was decked out in a big white suit (naturally) and dorky glasses, and looked like a genetic mutation of Bob Marley and David Byrne.
I could dig deep and try to find parallels between these groups, but it would be a disingenuous attempt to make sense out of a wild evening. And sometimes it’s better to stop making sense and just let the music flow. For those not familiar with their music, if Spearhead were a cocktail, this is what the recipe would look like:
1 part The Clash
1 part John Lennon
3 parts Bob Marley
Smoke a doobie
Like Lennon, Marley and The Clash, Spearhead is committed to addressing social injustice and changing the world through music. But their influences extend well beyond those musical muckrakers, and during their main set, they quoted bits of songs by AC/DC, George Gershwin, Seals & Crofts, Neil Diamond and The Police, among others. So perhaps I shouldn’t have been too surprised by their opening set.
“This was really fun for all of us,” Franti said at the end of The Rocking Heads’ set, and he could have been speaking for everyone in the building. The Fillmore is a legendary venue that has hosted an untold number of great concerts through the years. You never know when you’re going to catch some magic there, but Saturday was one of those nights…
Listen: Girlfriend Is Better [Talking Heads]
Listen: Everyone Deserves Music [Spearhead]
[Special thanks to our friends Tiffany & JD for getting the tickets and putting the evening together. We miss you guys…]