There's a bar/venue in San Francisco on Polk Street called The Hemlock. Polk Street has a long history of being a cruising spot for hustlers, drag queens (and kings), entertainers of all kinds and much more. A friend of mine who grew up here said he used to drink at Kimo's Bar when he was underage, and he was funded by older men who were trying to fuck him. Years later, I would hang out with him when he worked the door there during bad metal shows and we both drank for free. These days, most of that era of Polk is long gone. Kimo's was sold. My friend moved away. You can probably still find some old men who want to fuck teenagers (easily), but I'm not sure which bar they frequent. What was my point? Oh yeah, the Hemlock.
They're a few blocks down from where Kimo's used to be. They've gone through this phenomena that many businesses in the city have gone through: When they opened in 2001, they were considered to be kind of fancy, evil gentrifiers. Now that Polk Street is even more of a hot spot for white partiers and fuck heads, the neighborhood has built up around the Hemlock, making them look, honestly, a little dumpy. I'm not meaning to cast a sympathetic eye on the place because, even though I know almost every single person who works there (and consider most of them a friend), I don't care much for it. And even though I've seen many, many good bands there (from RADIOACTIVITY to YI to BLACK PUS to FLESH WORLD to THE GIZMOS to everything in between), I never actually expect to see good bands who I've never heard of. Much less DIY bands who sell tapes for $2-3.
So, yeah, I was surprised and excited to see VIAL when they came up from Los Angeles. I was in the back of the room when they started, but I knew within the first song that I needed to be in the front of the room watching them....but I remained in the back of the room because it was fuckin' packed and I'm not one of those dudes who pushes himself up to the front of the room because their experience is more important than anyone else's trip. I mean, if everyone was throbbing and foaming to the music in that fun way where everyone gravitates toward the stage at some point, sure, go for it....but let's be real...it was a bar show in SF and everyone was standing there bobbing their heads and hoping no one would bump into their $5 micro-brew. More simply, VIAL was ruling. They play fierce, direct punk that is equal parts Dangerhouse Records and everything you already love about DIY punk in 2014 with no hint of professionalism or ego. I could have left as soon as their near-20 minute set ended....but I was actually there to see FLESH WORLD, so I figured I should stay. They were really good too.
Ask VIAL if they have any tapes left.