R.I.P. Pound SF

Wanted: mid-sized club for total mayhem

When the Pound SF allegedly closed its doors for good after a final show on Oct. 22nd because of the club's pending eviction by the San Francisco Port Authority (as reported on the siN's Metal News Web site and local metal writer Cosmo Lee's blog, invisibleoranges.com), the move didn't register much of a blip on the city's nightlife radar. Unless you were seriously committed to black metal or hardcore, you probably never had a reason to make the long trek to the remote location in the sketchy no-man's land of Pier 96. With its grim, primer-black interior, wildly erratic sound, and a penchant for shoehorning way too many mediocre bands onto the infrequent bills offering a quality headliner, the Pound SF was a little too reminiscent of such long defunct Bay Area hellholes as the Stone and the Omni. To its credit, the Pound SF staff wasn't quite as surly and abusive as the headbanger-hating reprobates who made those notorious clubs such an ordeal for underage, dope-smoking kids during the '80s. However, even the promised "acres of parking" wasn't enough to inspire much repeat patronage from casual fans of heavy music.

Despite its many drawbacks, the Pound SF filled an important niche in San Francisco's music scene by catering to bands on the extreme end of the metal and punk spectrum that had outgrown smaller venues, as well as offering haven to veteran acts like Thin Lizzy and Manowar who now may only have Bourbon Street in Concord as an option for Bay Area tour stops. Though the Slim's/Great American Music Hall axis will surely pick up some of the slack, another mid-sized club could easily step in to fill the need. Granted, there are the headaches of additional security and the inevitable drunken shit-starters drawn to extreme sounds, but the financial benefits of attracting metal and punk loyalists (and the prodigious amounts of alcohol they consume) could outweigh the negatives. So, to Mezzanine, the Rickshaw Stop, 12 Galaxies, Bottom of the Hill, and any other S.F. club that fits the bill: The metal/hardcore gauntlet has been thrown before you; it's your move.

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