There is rarely a smile on Adam Stephens’ face. The singer and guitarist of the San Francisco-based band Two Gallants – named after a short story in James Joyce’s “Dubliners” – often makes a grumpy or even angry impression during concerts. That’s not surprising, considering that Adam goes through all the emotions that make him write a song every time when he’s playing live. And Two Gallants songs are certainly not happy, with themes ranging from murder to theft, racism and American history. Adam’s fondness for US-blues music from the 1930s and 1940s expresses itself not only in the topics of his songs, but also in the way he fingerpicks his guitar. Tyson Vogel completes the rough, rumbling Two Gallants style – often referred to as folk-punk – with his incredible drum play and screaming background vocals. Watching Two Gallants perform live is a very intense experience. Whether it’s the vein on Adam’s forehead on the brink of bursting, or Tyson’s hands flying over his drum-set, both of them radiate a remarkable amount of energy from their meagre bodies. In September 2007 they released their self-titled, third full-length-album on Saddle Creek Records (http://www.saddle-creek.com/).
Arena is a cultural center and music venue in the industrialized district of Erdberg. Its beginnings hark back to 1976, when some thousand demonstrators gathered around the former St. Marx Auslandsschlachthof to save it from demolition and subsequent commercial use. While they were not able to save the huge building complex, the vast social movement did succeed in reaching the foundation of an autonomous cultural center on the smaller area of the former slaughterhouses, which represents today’s Arena. Presently Arena has integrated a wide musical spectrum to its programme for various crowds and commercial use. Yet Arena’s dictum “Love Music, Hate Fascism!” is more than a relict of old days as it is still the venue with the most punk concerts in town.