Review: METALLICA Guitarist's Raw Energy Infuses Offbeat Chamber Concert

September 17, 2005

Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle reviewed METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett's Sept. 15 appearance with string ensemble the FLUX QUARTET at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco as part of the Morrison Artists Series. A couple of excerpts from the review follow:

"Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist for the heavy-metal band METALLICA, was on hand to bring a measure of raw energy to an all-too-brief collaboration with the New York string quartet FLUX. Traditional values were represented by the ST. LAWRENCE STRING QUARTET, playing Dvorák with sweetness and vigor.

"Hammett's appearance was the evening's most glamorous aspect, but the whoops of appreciation from the balcony that greeted his appearance were the sole indication that there was a star in the house.

"He and Gropman, a classical guitarist, took up their positions alongside the members of FLUX like a true ensemble, and the music — a semi-improvised piece by FLUX first violinist Tom Chiu named 'SAS' — featured all the give-and-take of a genuinely collaborative effort.

"Like some kind of chamber concerto, the music alternated between full-bore sonic tumult and solo episodes by Hammett with Gropman's support. After a massive introduction, the guitarists came to the fore with some chunky walking chords, and soon Hammett's guitar was wailing and searing above the din.

"I don't know how much of the music was pre-composed and how much developed on the spot, but there was quick response on all sides. When Hammett took off into some virtuosic guitar patterns based on blues scales, those scales spread as if by osmosis to the quartet.

"Transitions seemed a little clunky, but at 12 minutes, the piece sounded, if anything, too short — its abrupt ending left plenty of provocative ideas still unexplored."

Read the entire review at this location. A couple of blurry photographs taken at the show can be viewed here.

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