The age of Flower Power, hippies, be-ins and Haight-Ashbury represented a transitional period in pop culture, when old values were being forged into new, and love was the key to all things. It is easy to forget that the music which expressed those graceful feelings was rough, loud and hard-driving.
The San Francisco Allstars are here to remind us.
Appearing last night at the Bayou, the musicians presented a show that struck many nostalgic chords. From their shoulder-length hair to their vaguely cowboyish dress to the extended jams with searing guitar lines, the group was a vivid reminder of San Francisco's aquarian days.
The Allstars are former members of various well-known groups - Quick-silver, Jefferson Airplane and New Riders among others - and their sound is an effective combination of different styles. Buddy Cage's pedal steel guitar added a touch of country music that was contrasted by the surging guitar of John Cippolina and the rocksteady bass of his brother, Mario. Steve Love reached for high, bluesy vocal accents and his rhythm guitar cicked the way like a syncopated percussive instrument.
The San Francisco Allstars, like their counterparts in 1967, play with more feeling than precision, but they have an intensity that recalls the days when rock musicians, bred in a restive social environment, began to open their ears to new sounds and musical values.