Slim's, San Francisco
November 18, 2015
Hello blog, my old friend.. I've come to talk with you again. Yeah.. I've been on a writer's block hiatus from "writing" in this space for most of this year. I have seen a few great shows but I just haven't been motivated to write about them. It's not you, it's me... Let's see how I do with this as I attempt to get back on the horse.
The first word that came to mind when I heard about this tour was "volume". As is usually the case with Slim's shows, Umlaut's arrival was surgically precise and completely without any guest list drama at all. It should be noted that according to the Umlaut Archives this was close to the 100th time I've attended a show at Slim's since it opened in 1988. Anyway... My beer of choice tonight was Speakeasy Prohibition accompanied by the following...
Mothership - A friend suggested I arrive early to check this band out.. so I did. Their Texas-style foot stompin' energy onstage was infectious and a perfect warm up for the night. That being said, their inclusion of Zeppelin's 'Heartbreaker' in the middle of one of their songs kind of summed it up for me.. in a good and a bad way. Good inspiration for their riffs.. but all of their riffs sound like someone else's. Honesty is my only excuse.
Saviours - I was fearful that this Oakland band would disappear into the ether awhile back when 2 of the guys moved to L.A. leaving the remaining member(s) in The Bay Area. Thankfully the move seems to have only made the Saviours better, stronger, faster! Their new album is absolutely monstrous and the songs pound like crazy live.
I will arm wrestle anyone who disagrees with me that Scott is the heir to Cozy Powell's double bass drum throne. I will also arm wrestle anyone who disagrees with me that Austin and Sonny are the closest thing to the Dave Murray / Adrian Smith harmony drenched guitar duo The Bay Area has ever produced. I liked how Saviours dedicated a song to Oakland. I liked how Saviours played my fave song 'Acid Hand'. I also liked how I was able to chat with the guys after their set. Great band. Great dudes. Saviours have been road dogs for years now and it's inspiring to see them still fighting the good fight and keeping shit real.
Brant Bjork - I haven't kept up with everything that Bjork has done but I can say I've seen him in Kyuss, Fu Manchu, and Kyuss Lives over the years. That being said, and this coming from someone who was a huge Kyuss nerd back in The Day, I found his set boring. My head just wasn't in the desert tonight I guess.. so I hung out at the back waiting for the headliner and let my beer take selfies with my phone.
Corrosion Of Conformity - The reunited and most popular version of C.O.C. finally visited San Francisco with Pepper Keenan and those MTV Headbangers Ball hit songs back in the fold. Having seen the original version of C.O.C. several times in recent years I'd forgotten how popular this version of the band was almost 25 (!) years ago when MTV Headbangers Ball was a thing. As soon as C.O.C. walked onstage it suddenly became very 1992 in the room.
It was so 1992 that I found myself standing in the "VIP" area at stage left behind 1/2 of Metallica during the set. Watching the guy who sings 'Enter Sandman' play air guitar as the guy who plays drums on 'Enter Sandman' take pictures of C.O.C. with his phone was absolutely adorable. I will arm wrestle anyone who disagrees with me that Reed and Mike are as important of a rhythm section as Ian Paice / Roger Glover to heavy music. Locked and loaded as one entity with a profound dose of groove. The version of 'Long Whip / Big America' was tonight's best example of this and it was nice to see the punters go off during the set and keeping the Slim's security mosh pit detail busy. The show ending early-90's double shot of 'Vote With A Bullet' into 'Clean My Wounds' was so good it made fanny packs in style again.
For the record, besides the members of the local band who were right about Napster, other Bay Area music types who stood next to me were Jello Biafra and members of Death Angel, Ghoul, and Forbidden. Star Power. Ironically today was also the birthday of the guy who plays lead guitar on 'Enter Sandman'... but he chose to celebrate it somewhere else.
I'm out of practice and didn't do a merch audit.. but I did stare at the merch for awhile. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. All in all a solid and easy Wednesday night out in San Francisco.