Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Just Like Honey

The Jesus and Mary Chain
The Warfield, San Francisco
May 16, 2015


This run of special shows celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Jesus And Mary Chain's seminal debut album was limited to 10 shows in 9 North American cities.. with 2 of those shows in San Francisco that included tonight's opening night sell out.  However, since this show was originally announced in January it kind of snuck up on me these 4 months later.   Part of me had second thoughts about why I wanted to attend since the last time I saw JAMC 8 years ago the show had left me underwhelmed (mainly because Jim Reid left his voice at home that night).  However, The Rock Godz work in mysterious ways and tonight ended up being one of my favorite shows of the year so far.

For better or worse, I completely ignored the opening set by The Black Ryders due to lobby socializing... This despite the fact that the wife of Ian Astbury of The Cult is in the band.. and evidently he was in attendance.  Oh well...  Anyway, after being around 30 minutes late, the Jesus And Mary Chain walked onto a dark stage... Jim Reid mumbled something in Scottish... and the band slid into a mesmerizing half hour, 7-song opening set of hits and other songs not on the Psychocandy album.  This portion of the evening featured the band on a minimalist stage with literally only white lights and white strobes to punctuate the songs.


The opening blast of 'April Skies' into 'Head On' got the crowd into the show and behind the band perfectly and immediately.  I was hard pressed to remember the last time a band opened a show with a pair of their most well-known songs like that.  Other bands should take note and for the record 'Reverence' was the highlight of the set for me ("I wanna die just like Jesus Christ.. I wanna die on a bed of spikes.."). It was fookin' gleat!  Then it was time for the main attraction of the evening.

After the opening set the band left the stage briefly.. and then returned accompanied by a blast of onstage color via a video screen backdrop that had not been used during the graphite themed opening set.  The unexpected blast of color was jarring as it flashed the iconic Psychocandy album cover and then thematic archival film footage and images for the second half of the show.  The video presentation fit perfectly as the band launched into the debut album from start to finish.

  [Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

Tonight was far and away the best JAMC show I've seen in years and completely different than the last time I saw them at that bad 2007 Fillmore show.  It was compelling how strong and booming Jim's voice was tonight and I was reminded that William's dirty guitar fuzz tone is one of my favorites this side of Tony Iommi.  Whatever the Reid brothers have done to recapture their magic onstage left me almost teary-eyed because I've loved their songs so much over the years.. decades... lifetimes.

As the album's 14 songs unfolded onstage I remembered how cutting edge Psychocandy was when it was released... which seems weird now.  When I first heard the album in 1986 not long after its release it was so abrasive and non-traditional.  Like the Velvet Underground being put into a blender while the blender was being crushed by a hydraulic press.  Fast forward to the 21st Century and it's amazing how obvious JAMC's influence has been on the generation(s) of bands who followed them. 

Long story short:  In the mid-80's, as most others were just getting their denim vests dirty with Thrash Metal, Umlaut basically dropped out of the Metal Scene.  Metal was getting more popular, people who had previously dismissed me for being a Metalhead were suddenly showing up at Metal shows.  I grew disillusioned with Metal and I sought out other music to engage me that was still underground.  It was then that JAMC became one of my all-time favorite bands.  They managed to melt and form a sound that was based on so many bands I came to love after I dropped out of the Metal Scene... Music by the likes of Phil Spector, the Stooges, the Velvet Underground, and the MC5.  There was, and is, life outside of Metal.  Thank dog.

Other "80's bands" trot out a vintage album live and play it track for track but sound dated and the performance coming off like a desperate attempt to show relevancy here in the 21st Century.  Watching JAMC perform Psychocandy was the complete opposite of that.  Not everything that is old is irrelevant.  When the Reid Brothers have their shit together they're still a force.

If you bought one of every JAMC merch item I think you would have paid around $200.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. It's not often an old favorite band from another life proves why they're still great to me. Just like honey.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Selfies

sel·fie
noun informal
plural noun: selfies
a photograph that one has taken of oneself and shared via social media.


Here are 30 years of these guys taking selfies with me.  Ironically both are in bands whose names begin with "Me"...


Monday, May 11, 2015

I Gotta New Rose

Dead Men Walking with Jello Biafra / Barb Wire Dolls
Brick & Mortar, San Francisco
May 7, 2015


At the end of the night this was easily my favorite show of 2015 so far.. Yes, it was more fun than seeing Metallica for free with free food and alcohol.  Dead Men Walking were completely off my radar until literally 3 or 4 days prior to this show.  How can that happen in this Interwebs day of instant info!?   I quickly learned that Lemmy's rockabilly side band The Headcat was spawned with Slim Jim Phantom after his involvement with the Roots Rock / Rockabilly vibe of Dead Men Walking.  For the newbies (like Umlaut) here's a list of the revolving cast of musicians who have spent time performing in Dead Men Walking:

Slim Jim Phantom – Stray Cats
Captain Sensible – The Damned
Mike Peters – The Alarm
Chris Cheney – The Living End
Duff McKagan – Guns N’ Roses
Fred Armisen – Saturday Night Live / Portlandia
Kirk Brandon – Spear of Destiny
Glen Matlock – Sex Pistols
Pete Wylie – The Mighty Wah!
Billy Duffy – The Cult
Brian Setzer – Stray Cats
Lemmy – Motörhead
Topper Headon – The Clash
Bruce Watson – Big Country
Mick Jones – The Clash

Wow, right!?  Amazing.  Given the level of music history represented by the participants it's an interesting way for a band to exist in this day and age.  Tonight's version of Dead Men Walking was made up of Slim Jim, Captain Sensible, Mike Peters, Chris Cheney with a guest appearance by Jello Biafra.  I have seen all of the members in either their previous or current bands so I couldn't really picture them sharing the stage.  It was that sense of the unknown and the opportunity to see something inspired and new which made it easy for me to leave Casa de Umlaut for the show.

However, upon arriving at the venue I was stunned by how empty it was as there were literally only 6 or 7 other people in the room only minutes before Barb Wire Dolls were due to start... but it never gets old seeing Jello enter a show through the front door like any other civilian.  Thankfully once the night got started the room filled up to a respectable level.. but it was still not nearly as crowded as it should have been given the headliner.

I'll save time and simply say that Barb Wire Dolls started out of the gate good and the singer does her best to channel Wendy O. Williams... and they did hold my attention for a bit.. but then the songs got samey and the band really is very-L.A... so I'm sure they translate well down south.. but by the middle of their set I was deep in conversation at the bar with a Prohibition Ale.

I didn't know what to expect from Dead Men Walking since I knew so little about them...but once they strapped on their gear and got started I was totally into them.  No bullshit.  No pretenses... and all of the members were smiling from ear to ear the entire set.  It was obvious they were having a great time simply playing music together.

Chris Cheney.. Mike Peters..
 [Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

The band's original songs are not throw away songs and I recognized most of them from the quick listens I'd given their new album via a pre-release stream.  The old man Music Geek in Umlaut is still resistant to listening to music like that... but the 21st Century Music Geek in Umlaut liked what he heard and will be buying the album.

The set was peppered with nods to the participants other bands and included a couple of songs that Peters did with The Alarm.. but sadly not '68 Guns'.  Honesty is my only excuse:  Umlaut liked The Alarm.. They were a grittier U2 but from Wales and I saw them in the 80's.  Slim Jim's old band got the nod with a great version of 'Rumble In Brighton' and Captain Sensible's legacy was trotted out with 'Smash It Up'.  The camaraderie between the current members of the band was obvious as Peters and Slim Jim told the story of how they first met in London in 1980.  It was the type of loose, F-U-N vibe that my life has been missing by only going to see dour Metal bands.  Nothing against Metal of course.. but I'm needing the variety now more than ever.

After a rip roaring main set, Jello Biafra swaggered onstage (introducing himself as Fred Armisen.. HAHA!) and watching him sing The Stray Cats 'Rock This Town' while swinging his hips was a complete revelation!  This was followed by a great version of the DK's 'Let's Lynch The Landlord' dedicated to all the renters in rent-crazy San Francisco and then a rip roaring 'I Fought The Law' (non-Dan White lyrics).. and then the F-U-N night closed with Jello and Captain Sensible sharing vocals on The Damned's 'New Rose'.  Fantastic!

Jello.. Captain Sensible.. Slim Jim..
[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

This show was the type of head cleaning live music experience that I sorely needed.  I didn't do a merch audit... I've really been spacing about remembering to do them.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced kids called me a fag. Full disclosure:  Umlaut will probably not be ranting about too many Metal shows in this space for the near future.  Even if I attend some my head has simply been hard pressed to think of anything I haven't already said before about the Metal shows.  We will see... but I can't imagine any Metal show being so positive and F-U-N like this was without spraying (fake) blood on folks.

"I gotta New Rose..."

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Enter Sandman

On this date in 1992 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.. The Black Album Tour at home.. The night the xeroxed Umlaut 'zine met the Cowardly Lion:




Also, after the first show KRK told me how he was in the middle of a solo onstage and realized he had forgotten to put an old friend of our's on the guest list.  I still trip on the fact that he was in front of 14,000 people when he had that thought.  

"Something's wrong shut the light..  Heavy thoughts tonight... and they aren't of Snow White.."

Monday, May 04, 2015

Hit 'Em All

AT&T Park, San Francisco
May 2, 2015


"Bodies fill the fields I see, hungry heroes end..."  Umlaut love Metal.  Umlaut loves baseball.  Metallica are one of my favorite bands.  The San Francisco Giants are my favorite team.  I've been a Giants fan since I was around 5.  I've been a Metallica fan since I was around 17.

If you had said in 1982 that the San Francisco Giants would (1) win not only their first World Series Championship in S.F. but also 3 in 5 years and (2) there would be a Giants game dedicated to Metallica you would have been an insane person... but here we are in 2015 and all of that has come to pass!


The 3rd edition of this "only in San Francisco" event found things more dialed in than the previous games.  The Metallica theme was more complete throughout the entire game and also more successful in capturing the vibe of the band.  This extended to the marketing campaign leading up to the game which included the launch of the Giants new black alternate home jersey the team will wear at Saturday home games for at least the rest of this season.
 

Fade to Black!  Metallica + San Francisco Giants + Humor = Awesome.  More Metal bands (including Metallica) should have a self-deprecating sense of humor.  Metal bands are way too serious now.. which makes Metal fans way too serious.. which makes me bored.  I'm talking about more stuff like this too:


"... a huge statue of Cthulhu would come out."

Anyway, what makes these Giants / Metallica games even more awesome is I see Metal friends and Baseball friends in a setting that's more casual to chat and shoot the shit than at a gig.  We don't have to shout over a PA to hear each other and the food is better.  Thankfully some of my best friends are on the same page as me about this game, this team, and this music.  Pretty damn cool and so full circle, man.

As at the previous Metallica games, things kicked off with the best rendition of the National Anthem EVER.

Please rise...#SFGiants #MetallicaDay #FadeToBlack
Posted by Metallica on Saturday, May 2, 2015
[Photo courtesy of Metallica.com]

In years past the go-to Bay Area musician to perform the National Anthem at a Giants game would have been, like, Huey Lewis & the News.  They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating... and I say fuck that.  METAL.

However, one thing that annoyed me at the past Metallica games was that some of the elements that were supposed to give the game a "Metallica theme" were tone deaf... Such as having the stadium's at-bat images of players given "funny" Hair Metal wigs for the night.  Is there anything that is completely not Metallica than that??  Thankfully, this year they figured it out and the players' at-bat images were given simple dignity and metalization with the "Metallica font" used for their names instead of silly Photoshopped wigs and hairbands.


Simple.  Effective.  Metal.  Awesome, right?  This despite the fact I'm pretty sure in real life neither Crawford or Panik are Metal fans.. but that's cool.  Only the Oakland A's seem to have legit Metal fans on the roster... but Umlaut is not a fan of American League baseball.  Anyway...

The Giants charged out of the dugout and onto the field with 'Battery' blasting from the PA.. which ruled.  Another music highlight was Maiden's 'Run To The Hills' that segued into 'Frantic' during an early inning.  The Metallica tunes and other appropriate songs (such as Sabbath's 'The Wizard' and Thin Lizzy's 'The Rocker'!) held up until the 9th when ZZ Top and The Rolling Stones made it jarringly clear a longer Metal playlist would be needed next year.

Another aspect of this year's game that made it better was each band guy did something individual during the game.  James did the team intros.  Robert got things rolling with the traditional "Play Ball!" cheer and rode around the field with his family and Lou Seal in his golf cart between innings.  Lars threw out the first pitch (wide and outside but over the plate) and he, his wife, and son hosted an in-between inning event on the big screen.  Best of all, during the 7th Inning stretch Kirk played 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' atop the visitor's dugout armed with his axe and a wah wah pedal.. which was awesome.

What?   Oh right.. There was also a game played!  This year the Giants held on to defeat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (HAHA.. Lame name..) 5-4.. which sort of.. kind of.. made up for the 2002 World Series.. but not really. For the record, the outcomes of the past Metallica games were:

May 3, 2013:  The Giants defeated the fucking Dodgers 2-1 on Buster Posey's first walk off HR ever in the 9th! Seek.. and .. destroy..

May 16, 2014: The Giants lost to the Marlins 7-5 when the bullpen collapsed and gave up 2 runs in the Top of the 9th.  Sad but true..

After the game we few, we happy few, made our way across Lefty O'Doul Bridge to The Yard for some victory beers.


 ... 'cause you're Metallica.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  In high school, the baseball jocks were the worst assholes in the school.  In the original Metal Days, when jocks started showing up at shows (like Metallica) they brought their bullshit to The Pit and used it as an excuse to simply fuck people up.  Jocks have ruined a lot of things over the years.. So, yeah, part of me realizes this is all so ironic... but the truth is in the mid 80's when Umlaut became bored and disillusioned with the original Metal scene I started following the Giants hardcore as something to be passionate about.  Also, players come and go and I've always worshiped the game and this team and not the jocks.  Am I rationalizing?  Maybe... but the fact that two of my favorite hometown things have joined forces like this is mind blowing, amazing, and above all... F-U-N.



Click HERE to get this hella awesome patch..

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Full Analog Circle

The exciting sequel to Got The Metal Madness!


1982 to 2015 full circle..


This tape literally changed my life.


In hindsight, the original lyrics to 'Jump In The Fire' are really silly but this tape was written and performed by 4 pimply-faced guys who were only 18-20 years old.  However, these primordial versions of the songs still hold up and I also like how the band recreated the vintage TDK logo for their own Blackened Recordings logo on the reissue.  Clever.

Monday, April 20, 2015

There's No "I" In Scene

Electric Wizard / Satan's Satyrs
Slim's, San Francisco
April 17, 2015



Electric Wizard have been around for 20 years or so but this is their first U.S. Tour in 12 years.  As a result the hype was in and the beards were out for this show.  Tonight sold out a couple of months ago and I snoozed on a ticket, so a big THANKS to Electric Assault Records for getting me on the list. Hail!  That being said I'm just going to cut to the chase and say the crowd tonight was the worst asshole collection of humanity that I've been around at a show in ages.  The asshole vibe and behavior completely overshadowed the music for me tonight... which was extremely unfortunate.

However, before all the bullshit started, Satan's Satyrs came out and played one of the best support sets I've seen in a long time.  As a counterpoint to the Doom theme they had a classic power trio energy that Umlaut is a sucker for... I guess if I was to use a cliche "blog" analogy they were like if Motörhead and Grand Funk Railroad were conjoined at birth... or something like that.  Good 'ol fashioned foot stompin', beer drinkin', headbangin' music.  Dig it!

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

During the changeover the air was suddenly filled with the pungent smell of burning sage... which in hindsight was funny because sage burning is supposed to cleanse an area or person.. but obviously this Hippie shit doesn't affect Hipster Metal beards who have Sabbath patches on their vests and / or jackets... but more on that in a bit.

Burning Sage 
[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

As the lights went off and Electric Wizard started up their "Satanic" machine the energy of the crowd went from zero to sixty immediately as 'Witchcraft Today' got things started... and the band sounded good... but then the asshole vibe in the crowd took over.  After 3 songs Photo Ray and I decided it would be a grand idea to retire to the back and enjoy the rest of the show with a cold beer in hand.  Wrong...

A Hipster Metal beard called me an asshole for pushing past him.. and then another refused to move to let me past eventhough I was trying to go BEHIND him and I was moving AWAY from the stage.  The unmoving asshole outweighed me by probably 50 pounds and 3 inches in height but I finally just shoved hard and kept moving.  I'm sure if I had hesitated and looked back I would have caught his fist somewhere... which is exactly what happened to Photo Ray on his journey AWAY from the stage.  I did not see Photo Ray again the rest of the night.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

Long story short... I ended up at the back of Slim's and tried to enjoy the rest of the set but the asshole crowd behavior just started to annoy me more and more as I continued to witness it.  The next day I heard numerous stories from friends about random fights breaking out.. a random elbow being thrown into a girlfriend's face... just random lame behavior.  A drunk hipster Metal kid tried to give another drunk hipster Metal kid a $5 bill for cutting in front of him in the bathroom line... Then all of Electric Wizard's set started sounding samey and I remembered the only Doom you really need is Black Sabbath albums.  Only Sabbath is real.

It was a bummer how there seemed to be zero sense of community in the crowd compared to the usual Bay Area Metal shows.  I sensed this as early as when I was standing in the Will Call line and thought to myself "Who are these people??  I don't know any of them.."  Once the liquor and music started inside it became Lord Of The Flies-style with seemingly most of the Hipster Metal kidz out for themselves.   Also, does anyone else think it's weird that it's bands like Electric Wizard and Pentagram who these self-absorbed posers have embraced?  They seem to think having a Sabbath patch on their jacket / vest is a badge of cool and if you didn't have one you were not worthy.  It reminds this old man of when jocks started showing up at Metal shows in the latter-80's and changed the vibe of shows by using the pit action as an excuse to fuck with people.  Fuck. Off. All of you. Thanks.

I had the opportunity to do a merch audit but didn't.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  All in all it was a disappointing show but thankfully the following two things made me feel better once I was back inside the warm confines of Casa de Umlaut:

I was glad I ripped the flyer for this upcoming gig off the bathroom wall at Slim's.


I was glad I stopped for my favorite post-show veggie burrito at Taqueria Cancun.


I was also thankful I'd been introduced to Satan's Satyrs because they're my new favorite band this week... However.. there is no "I" in "scene", kidz.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Crypt Keeper

Kirk von Hammett's Fear FestEvil
High On Fire / Orchid / Ghoul
Rock Bar Theater, San Jose, California
April 11, 2015


It's cool when an old friend has the means to take a childhood hobby to the next level as an adult... and that's exactly what Mr. Kirk Hammett has done.  What began as a child with an obsession with horror movies and comics has evolved into an adult world class collector of all that is dark and fun.. and it's been made even cooler that he wants to share it with the public instead of sitting in a dark room surrounded by his valuable rarities.  This was the 4th official Kirk von Hammett event dating back to the book release party in 2012.   As with last year's event, this year was a 3-day celebration but Umlaut was only able to attend the Saturday event which featured performances by my longtime favorites High On Fire, Orchid, and Ghoul.

Back in The Day the space that is now the Rock Bar was a gambling joint called Garden City Casino.  It was odd seeing how they've basically jammed a stage into the space to fit the existing floor plan.  Interesting and odd.  This was my first visit to this relatively new venue and I had heard nothing but good things about it.

Upon arriving there was a ginormous line waiting at the entrance so I killed time in the vendor tent adjacent to the entrance as well as a small carnival games area that was next to it.  The FestEvil vibe was definitely in effect as costumed humans wandered the area.. but it was only a matter of time before things were sorted out for me.  If only all Horror conventions were this easy:


Once inside there was time to kill before the bands started... Running into friends, chatting with friends, drinking beers with friends, and also checking out this year's version of Kirk's Crypt featuring some of his collection on display.  Honesty is my only excuse:  Umlaut only has a casual interest in Horror films and there were really only 2 items that caught my undivided attention... mainly because I am a fan and had seen the items at past events but had failed to take pictures of them.  Not this time...



Yes.. Umlaut is one of those now-mainstream types who adores The Walking Dead.. The show and the comics.  Anyway, one thing led to another and this happened..

"Devil's grip.. The Iron Fist.."
[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

... and in case you were wondering this is what "backstage" looked like at FestEvil:


Magical.

As the sun set outside the musical portion of the event started up.  Ghoul are one of my favorite bands and it warmed my heart that these band friends were asked to perform.  Obviously they were a natural fit and it was cool that they immediately won the crowd over during the first song even as they sprayed the front row with blood-like liquid.  Orchid are another group of band friends and they were making a return performance after having been included in last year's party.  The Orchid lads were as thunderous as ever but their set was a bit overshadowed by guitarist Mark's vintage Motörhead 1983 Tour shirt in the dressing room:


According to the Umlaut Archives this was the 18th time I'd seen High On Fire.. but I only watched moments of their set as I found myself socializing with friends again more than rocking out.  Again... Honesty is my only excuse.. but I was just going with the flow, man.

Far and away the highlight of the day was the jam session finale featuring the host lead guitarist backed by High On Fire as well as guest appearances by Corey Taylor of Slipknot on vocals, John 5 on guitar for most of the set, and Charlie Benante of Anthrax taking over drums for half of the set as well.  Before all of that Rock Star power hit the stage this happened in a hallway behind the stage:


The best thing about this All-Star jam was that it did not include the usual cover songs that every Metal All-Star jam usually plays (cue 'Highway To Hell'..'Iron Man'.. etc..).  This being Kirk Hammett's party he dug deep into his teenage album collection and pulled out some nerdy song choices!

 
 "BRAIN!!"  Yes, autographed by the host after the show..

For the newbies that would be Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Motörhead, Uli Roth-era Scorpions, Riot, Venom, and Judas Priest.  FUCK. YEAH.  The performance was loose as all of the Rock Stars seemed to tap into their teenage heads again for the duration of the jam.  Oddly, I watched this once in a lifetime moment while kneeling inside a fake fireplace at stage left that evidently is a remnant of the space's previous incarnation.  The suburbs can be very weird, man.

Kirk and High On Fire channel Phil Lynott as they launch into 'Emerald'

I did not do a FestEvil merch audit.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced suburban teenagers called me a fag.  FestEvil is the type of event that people in The Bay Area tend to observe with a jaded ho-hum hometown attitude.  "Oh great.. A member of Metallica doing this and that.. blah blah.."  If this event were held in another city the buzz and the energy around it would probably be on another level.  Instead it was just another of many, many "only in The Bay Area" events and moments to add to the list.  Ain't we lucky!? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Press Eject And Give Me The Tape

Last week Umlaut's 20th Century mid-level quality Sony tape deck died when I tried to play a tape for the first time in months.  The drive belt must have snapped and thankfully the tape didn't get fucked up.  What to do now here in 2015 when ancient audio equipment dies?

The answer:  Craigslist.. Where you can go for quality 20th Century analog gear that doesn't cost a fortune.  I was interested in finding an upscale direct drive deck (like a Tascam) instead of a less durable "consumer" belt drive deck like my old dead Sony... and I totally lucked out!  A Tascam 202 MKII was posted on Craigslist 2 days earlier by a studio guy clearing out gear he wasn't using anymore. He said he had barely used the deck and once I saw it I believed him; it was clean with only some minor scratches on the case.  The "new" cassette deck was acquired at a neutral location and I wasn't jumped, robbed, or shot.  Sometimes the Rock Godz work in mysterious ways, man.

Back at Casa de Umlaut, G.B.H. live in San Francisco - 1984 and Thin Lizzy live in Preston, England - 1979 (Black Rose Tour) broke the excellent new machine in:


Once this new toy was warmed up, Umlaut got sucked into a vortex of nostalgia over the cassette bootlegs and demo tapes he dubbed and traded in his salad days.  Thankfully, many of the vintage tapes hibernated like the sleeping Cthulhu in my attic... and I quickly brought them out of their slumber.

More fun than an MP3:


After this 1985 show Venom didn't visit San Francisco again for 21 years:


Kirk's 3rd show with the band supporting Venom in New York City:


Yes, Kirk did play 'The Mechanix' with Metallica.  This show was before the band entered the studio to record Kill 'Em All and the new guitarist had only been in the band around 2 weeks.

"Let's rehearse songs from our next album called Master Of Puppets and then maybe someone in the room might leave a tape deck running and record it without us knowing about it.."


Finding the following tape in my attic was pure uncut magic:  A good friend of Umlaut who now lives here in The Bay Area is from Bradford, England and he saw this show on the Master Of Puppets Tour.  He also has snapshots taken at the show with his cheap teenage camera.  I had completely forgotten I had this:


Time travel does exist!  My friend didn't know a recording of this show even existed... and what are the odds that I'd have this tape and be friends with him all these years later!?  What an amazing full circle thing, right?  Sometimes the Metal Godz work in mysterious ways, man.. and sometimes it takes almost 30 years for their full circle plan to be completed.

Achtung! Accept.. Restless & Wild Tour in Deutschland 1983:


This is one of the best Old Metal audience bootleg tapes.  You can hear just enough of the crowd so you feel like you're getting elbowed in the face by drunk teenage German headbangers while getting beer spilled on you at the same time.
 
July 1981.. A week after the High 'N Dry album was released. It was Def Leppard's first U.K. Tour in over a year and the crowd sounds small and lackluster at best:


Awkward... No wonder Def Leppard decided to focus on America for their success.

Murder In The Front Row:  Exodus destroys San Francisco and Berkeley - 1983-84:


The 2/20/83 recording is Kirk Hammett's first to last show with Exodus before leaving to join that other band. All of these tapes include classic Baloff between-song comments and banter that made him a legend.

A quintessential 1983 tape trade:


Penpals would send me demo tapes of bands they thought I would like. Being introduced to Hellhammer so early before they became known as the Metal legends from Switzerland was something I didn't appreciate until years later...

The Blackout U.K. Tour 1982.. and the Scorps included Uli-era songs 'We'll Burn The Sky' and 'Steamrock Fever' in the set in Europe. Unfortunately that was not the case on the U.S. Tour that followed.. "with Michael Schenker on encore."


Maiden were only 13 days into the Number Of The Beast Tour but, as Bruce says before 'Children Of The Damned' early in the set, the album wasn't being released for another 2 weeks.  So, the crowd was hearing most of the new songs for the first time. Only the 'Run To The Hills' single had been released and, as Bruce also said at this show, it was at #7 on the U.K. charts. As a bonus, the band also played the b-side of the single ('Total Eclipse'). This was the 11th show in 1982 for Maiden and a set so long that it took 1 1/4 90-minute blank tapes to capture. The Beast would be on the road in Europe, Australia, Japan, and North America for 9 more months after this night.


It's funny how old habits fell right back into place when listening to cassettes. Such as using a finger to tighten the slack on a tape before putting it in the deck before rewinding so (hopefully) the tape wouldn't snap when rewind ended.  Anyway, cassettes served a purpose back in ancient times.  It's definitely not the perfect audio medium but for those of us old people who grew up using cassettes the nostalgia is strong.  It's how we shared music back in The Day. 

I'd forgotten that part of the excitement of listening to cassettes was that the machine could destroy a tape at any moment if you weren't careful. So many precautions were needed (cleaning and demagnetizing the tape heads, etc..). It's a lost art form.  However, having a quality tape machine also reduces the chances of an analog audio tragedy.. so thanks again to the Rock Godz for sending the Tascam my way.

Ironically, Metallica, the most successful band who benefited the most from cassette trading, recently announced a nostalgic cassette release for Record Store Day 2015.  Click HERE for the story as it was announced by Rolling Stone.. and more on this release in the near future.  

Press eject... and NO Umlaut will not be putting any of these on YouTube.  Sorry, kidz of the Digital Age.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 30 Years Ago

This is what Umlaut was doing in March of 1985:

[From the Umlaut Archives]

One of these things is not like the others...
  • March 3rd - Prince & The Revolution - Purple Rain Tour ("Wear Purple")
  • March 13th, 14th, & 15th - Metallica - Ride The Lightning Tour (No ticket stub for the 13th..)
  • March 21st - Iron Maiden - Powerslave Tour
Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999 but dammit it ain't right because it's 2 minutes to midnight.