Skeletonwitch / Withered / Trap Them / Landmine Marathon
Red 7, Austin, Texas
December 4, 2010
So it was get up at 4:00am… Drive to Oakland Airport for a 7:05am flight to Vegas to meet a 9:30am connecting flight to Austin. Land in Austin at around 2:30pm… METAL. Tonight’s show was the final night of the 15-city U.S. / Canadian “Skullsplitter Tour” and was also basically a Prosthetic Records showcase with 4 label mates sharing the bill on this Saturday night.
Landmine Marathon (Arizona): It's always interesting to follow a band closely and witness the moment when something finally clicks for them; a time in their career when a missing piece of their puzzle falls into place. No offense to their previous drummer at all (Hey Mike…) but Landmine's new drummer Andy is their missing piece. SOLID Metal drumming that focuses their chaotic Hardcore tendencies. The set was a tight blast furnace that lit up with 'Bile Towers' and scorched to a close with 'Rise With The Tide'. One of my favorite bands has stepped up their game and all I can say is "FUCK YEAH..." See? Good things DO happen to people who believe in blasphemy.
Trap Them (Washington State): Trap Them were a last minute addition to the show and they rolled onto the stage with their druggie Hardcore vibe that's as jarring as it can be entertaining. I'll be honest and say Trap Them are a band who tends to make me head to the bar for another round but, unless there's something else going on out front, I'll hang at the bar to watch them. Tonight I was going back and forth.
Withered (Georgia): Thankfully Withered left their smoke machines at home this time and let their sonic darkness do the talking. They were amazing... and the volume wall they built in this chilly Austin night was more profound in its simplicity than anything Roger Waters performing The Wall could do for me. Withered's new album Dualities is a magnificent beast that I've been having hand-to-hand combat with for the past couple of weeks. Seeing the new material presented live made it even better; bands like Withered who make me go straight into the darkness are my favorite ones... and I don't want a flashlight.
Skeletonwitch (Ohio): This was the best set that I've seen by the band and I’m still of the opinion that the opening riff to ‘Beyond The Permafrost’ is perfect. I don’t know if it was because it was the last night of the tour, but having a Metalhead transvestite in the front row must have been special for the band... 'cause who doesn't like Metal Trannies!? Whatever the case, it was a great set that reminded me how a Metal Scene really can be the same from city to city (in a good way). The crowd was into the Metal… The band was into the crowd… What else is there except the band selling more merch as a result in order to eat decently the next day? “Breathing The Fire” indeed…
Anyway, by definition I did travel to Austin to see some Metal bands… but it ended up being a little more than that for my head. Besides seeing the bands I also spent the afternoon and the night and the next morning hanging with old friends, band friends, and new friends… and it was cathartic for me. As I said in the beginning of this rant, I’ve been feeling burned out about most Metal bands recently. However, hanging out in Austin… eating BBQ… record shopping... and shooting the shit and trading war stories pre-show with friends in Casino over beers was good for the soul… and also provided the most symbolic moments of my Austin trip: The two times I brought up Metallica in a conversation a Metallica song started playing on the bar's jukebox; I shit you now. The Rock Godz work in mysterious ways. I think the lesson that I learned during my 24 hours in Texas was that you can’t escape your past… and sometimes that’s a good thing… and you should embrace it… and I will. A shout out to Umlaut Nation friends Landmine Marathon and to my Texas comrades Hard Rock Chick and Crawlspace Booking for the good times.
If you bought one of every Landmine Marathon merch item you would have paid around $120 (I think). On the way back to San Francisco, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag... which makes sense I guess. I went to Texas with 3 black t-shirts in my bag and I came back to San Francisco with 6 black t-shirts in my bag. How did that happen?