Spec’s is a North Beach bar filled with salty old-timers. The walls are filled with odd curiosities and ancient faces, and you would do best not to order a fancy cocktail or sit at a regular’s stool. Hidden behind the old Pearl’s (RIP) in a half-assed indent masquerading as an alleyway, this bar is one of my favorite in the City because I love old men who tell tales in dim light. Sadly, it’s being overrun by the Marina set these days, and this is partially due its growing reputation as a destination spot for out-of-town musicians. This is where (caution: name drop approaching) I drunkenly shared a booth with some of the gents from Franz Ferdinand, and it’s also where the good folks at La Blogotheque filmed Stars a few years back.
Stars of Canada have seen some travels as a band, and their album Set Yourself on Fire is so good, ’till the last drop, that it’s been in my rotation repeatedly since 2004. The featured video shows a roaming performance of “Your Ex-Lover is Dead,” an absolute beauty that gives you chills when seen live. This is a known truth; I’ve had the good fortune of finding myself in the crowd at a handful of Stars shows in San Francisco. One such night, at The Independent in June of 2010, I was even handed a white rose by their keyboardist. Charming.
These fine people return to San Francisco tomorrow night, September 17th, at Great American Music Hall with a follow-up show at Slim’s on September 18th. They are captivating performers that should not be missed. Maybe you’ll even walk away with a rose.