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Going Backstage with the Metalheads of the East Bay

From grindcore to doom metal to blackgaze, the East Bay metal scene is real—and real loud.


Thor Atland (Face the Pain)

(1 of 9)

Nathan MacKerron (Face the Pain)

(2 of 9)

Scarlett Dark (Lipshok) 

(3 of 9)

Oriol Nieto (Arkaen)

(4 of 9)

Jason Ng (Face the Pain)

(5 of 9)

Phil Jameson (Lipshok)

(6 of 9)

Grey Rickher (Arkaen)

(7 of 9)

Joe Londeree (Lipshok)

(8 of 9)

Rev. Harlem Watts (Face the Pain)

(9 of 9)

Editor’s Note: This is one of many stories San Francisco is publishing over the next month as part of the June 2018 East Bay Issue. To read stories as they become available online, click here.

Weekends can get…heavy at the Red Hat in Concord, the beloved longtime stomping ground for East Bay metal bands like Dissident Souls, Absolem, and Gürschach. Scarlett Dark plays keys, does lead vocals, and writes all the songs for Lipshok, a symphonic metal band that gigs at the Red Hat and other metal-friendly venues including Toot’s Tavern in Crockett, Pine Street Bar in Livermore, and the Quarter Note in Sunnyvale.

“There’s a really big metal scene out here,” says Dark, whose real name is Debbi Douglas, which “sounds lame in front of a metal band, so I had to change it.” She lives in Hayward with her husband, who’s the bassist in Lipshok, and their son, Devin, who plays drums for the melodic death metal band Lychdom. Contrary to the stereotypical metal-band image of angry, animal-sacrificing death cultists, their home life seems downright cheery. (Dark’s a tennis pro by day.) “I’m just not that angry,” she says. “When I’m onstage, my husband says, ‘You gotta sound more mad!’ I tell him I’m trying!”


Originally published in the June issue of San Francisco

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