Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 21, 2008
Blue CheerEmo's Annex, Friday, March 14
"We're Blue Cheer, and this is what we do," said finely grizzled bassist/vocalist Dickie Peterson before launching into a five-song, 40-minute set of blues-rock thunder custom-made for an arena full of stringy-haired men in ripped jeans and black T-shirts from 1971. Formed in 1967, Blue Cheer were progenitors of the sound that immolated the Summer of Love and made way for the heavy metal coliseum bacchanal of the 1970s. The S.F. trio features original members Peterson and drummer Paul Whaley alongside longtime guitarist Duck MacDonald, all of whom turned Mose Alison's "Parchman Farm" into blunt-force trauma and serenaded stoners with "Rollin' Dem Bones," winner of this year's High Times Doobie Award for Best Pot Song. No Blue Cheer show would be complete without its hit rendition of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" from 1968's Vincebus Eruptum, but the (ahem) high point of the show was MacDonald's marathon guitar solo on "Doctor Please." This type of six-string showboating has long since been worn into Spinal Tap-style cliché, but if you took the time to imagine how utterly cataclysmic this must have sounded on a warm San Franciscan night back in 1967, the awesomeness of MacDonald's monster shred became obvious once again.