Fu Manchu is super heavy SoCal style

Fu Manchu
Fri Feb 1.
9 p.m.
Berbati’s Pan
21+ w/ID

Attention all you SoCal transplants. That’s right, you’re out there walking around with your bleach-blond hair, tribal tattoo and your-ever-so-depressing fading tans. You loathe the Northwest rock scene, don’t you?

“It’s too depressing and whiney.” Well, guess who’s coming to town this Friday? Fu Manchu is coming, and this pleases you.

This band represents all that is SoCal. Fu is all that is holy in SoCal: sunshine, surf, skate and last but not least, cheap watery beer. Why dwell on the bad times when you can repress it with hot rod rock?

This band is not trying to change the world or enlighten the unenlightened. There is nothing wrong with suppressing your emotions all year and letting them explode in a circle mosh pit with your fellow transplants and their sympathizers. Fu Manchu have proven themselves mentors, no, gosh dang it, legends in the rock scene. They are the ground zero of old school rock.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on the planet with anything tarnishing to say about these boys. They have staying power and they did it all without the any help from mainstream sources.

Fu has released another album, and it looks like they have decided to evolve a little. California Crossing is a wee bit different from the classics like Squash That Fly, Mongoose and Waisteoid. The new album has a lot more choruses and has lost that fuzz guitar sound. It is much more produced than anything they have previously released.

The story behind their new sound comes from a live show about a year ago. Before the show, an overzealous fan stole guitarist and vocalist Scott Hill’s distortion pedal. Not having another, they were forced to play clean.

“It was a bummer that it got stolen,” Hill said. “But I ended up really digging the cleaner sound.”

Don’t you worry your tan, little faces off kids. They have not lost their love for all things guitar, surf and skate-driven. They just want to mix it up a bit.

Fu Manchu has risen above the stoner-rock meets Sabbath tag (which is at once accurate and too limiting) and proven themselves to be in a category of their own. Just because they’re breaking new ground doesn’t mean the Fu of yore is gone, however. While the melodies now match the heaviness, longtime Fu fans needn’t fear. They will still be displaying some of the heaviest music on the earth.

Yes ma’am, run, run, run to this show, if you know what’s good for you. There are precious few things you can count on – or look forward to – in rock-and-roll. But like a great wave, Fu Manchu is a rare and welcome find.