Review and Photographs by William Wayland
Everyone has a band they’ve heard of but haven’t gotten around to listened to.
Oh, hey, I’m going to check out (insert band name here) tonight.
Yeah, (insert band name here). Cool.
Have you heard (insert band name here)’s new album? It’s killer. I have it on repeat.
Oh, uh. No. I’ve heard of (insert band name here) but I don’t really . . . They’re from Santa Cruz, right?
The Stone Foxes were my (insert band name here).
The problem is I have this ancient commandment:
Whenest a band having releasethst seven albums and yet forsooth, even two EPs but unsurest whether thine ears havest heard thine music LISTEN NOT, for surely someoneth in thy friend group should’vest played this at one time or another, maybe in the car, and havest saideth, “Hey, checketh out this band for their music is pleasing to mine ears.”
But the commandment I really need to listen to goes like this:
A band that havest releaseth seven albums and, forsooth, even two EPs musteth have fans becauseth it’s expensiveth to keep producingeth music if the buyers are but none, not even the oxen in the field. GIVETH THIS BAND A LISTEN.
What you don’t get from the Stone Foxes’ albums, though, and what everybody probably knows except me, is how fucking explosive they are. They kicked off the show with “Man’s Red Fire” from their newest album, On The Other Side. Except the version they played at the Sweetwater was louder, faster, and more urgent than the album. And then they keep going. Powering through a set of new songs and favorites.
It’s like the stage is too small to contain all the energy coming from it. Do they bring it like this every night?
I think the answer is yes.
They don’t stop until the show’s almost over and everyone’s sweaty and spent and Shannon (lead singer, drums, harmonica) wades into the crowd to lead the audience in, “If I Die Tonight” off their EP, Visalia. It’s a real and true moment and a reminder that we’re lucky to be alive and to have each other so don’t leave this world with any regrets. You have to be pretty cynical to be unmoved. It’s a perfect close to the evening.
I don’t want to forget to tell you about a band I’ve now seen several times around the Bay Area. The Coffis Brothers are a great harmony-driven rootsy complement to the Stone Foxes. They deserve a few more lines than what I’m giving them here but I’m sure some new fans went home Sunday with some fresh merch or a copy of their latest LP, Turn My Radio Up.
These guys have been in the studio so look for a new album soon.
Before I go, I also want to make sure you’re well-prepared for future trivia nights. The next time you get this one:
On the 19th of February, 2023, two brother-led Bay Area bands played the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley. Name those two bands and for ten extra points, name the brothers.
You’ll know to answer:
The Coffis Brothers and the Stone Foxes.
Jamie and Kellen Coffis of the Coffis Brothers.
And Shannon and Spence Koehler of the Stone Foxes.