Amoeba is one of my favorite stores on the planet. An independent record shop that started in Berkeley and has grown to three stores including one in San Francisco and Hollywood. They offer a wide variety of music, movies, tour posters and pretty almost anything that involves entertainment. But what is more impressive is that the stores are so big they have the ability to house in-store gigs. The concert series takes place in all three stores and have brought acts like Elvis Constello, Akron/Family, The Dodos, Girls and Other Lives just to name only but a few. The stage is set up in a corner that overlooks the entire store. The sound quality is very good and there is no bad view anywhere unless your smaller than the racks that hold the music.
Tonights show was a local act, a band from the late 80's and 90's called Mermen. They were celebrating a new record release, their first in 10 years, called In God We Trust. Mermen specialize in instrumental psych rock and have a sound that is at times tame and melodic but then will hit you with deep baselines and tons of guitar freakouts and feedback. I was not familiar with the group having never heard their music before and by the demographic of the crowd that was forming around me in front of the stage and between the ailes these guys seemed to have a more mature appeal to them.
Mermen played for a solid hour with a few breaks inbetween long constructed songs to chat with the audience and share their love of Amoeba and independant music stores. As I walked away from the stage area to make my purchases I started to see more younger faces in the crowd who seemed interested and intrigued by the sound generated by musicians who had been playing long before they were born. Maybe because it was in San Francisco but Merman strike a note within people and for good reason. They are seasoned veterans in their trade who seem unconcerned about making it big or having a specific followings. Merman play the music they like and they love to play it in front of an audience. I was glad that my first in-store experience was one that unfolded the way it did and I will be back for more.