The Warfield, San Francisco
March 23, 2012
Umlaut has never been a Punk, but some of my oldest friends are Punks. Although my first Punk show was G.B.H. / 7 Seconds in Palo Alto in 1985, I never made the crossover leap that alot of my Old Metal friends did back in The Day. While they started doing the Gilman Street thing I started going to see the Jesus & Mary Chain and The Cure back then. To be honest, the only reason I was even at this show was because my old friend Ron Final Conflict works with Cock Sparrer and was in town for the 2 sold out shows this bill had in San Francisco. I've seen Rancid a handful of times over the years but I have to say the only thing I've ever owned by them is the Out Come The Wolves album. I knew nothing about Cock Sparrer.
As I approached The Warfield it was sociologically interesting to notice that the local Skinhead population had made an effort to come out to San Francisco for this show. Trivia: I once saw Ron Final Conflict call Skinheads in the crowd "a buncha faggots" from the stage at a Neurosis / Final Conflict show in Orange County in 1991. Good times.
Having an All Access pass at a Punk show was ironically funny... and it was amusing how Punks with backstage passes can turn into prigs just like any Hipster. While Big Wayne and I were hanging out in the lobby a Punk wearing a Cock Sparrer shirt came up and asked "Are you Umlaut?" Awww! A Punk / Metal crossover 2012 style! Dude, I forgot your name, but THANKS for stopping to chat!
Best Quote: "What are you doing here??" - Cock Sparrer fan.
As I said earlier, I knew nothing about Cock Sparrer aside from a quick primer that Ron Final Conflict gave me over a pre-show dinner. Formed in the early 70's... Celebrating their 40th Anniversary... One of the most influential Punk bands, like, ever. I was suitably impressed and glad that I was wearing a Motörhead hoodie; posers at a Metal OR Punk show can always wear Motörhead to give the impression they fit in. The greeting the Englishmen received as they walked onstage was worthy of returning legends and it was impressive how deafeningly passionate the entire building suddenly got when they launched into their set.
Cock Sparrer sing songs about real life.. getting old.. staying young; every day shit. As I watched their crowd loudly singing along to every song I was reminded that the only band who caused me to react with that much passion recently was Mercyful Fate at The Fillmore last December. Punks sing along to songs that reflect real life and how shite it can be... Metalheads sing along to songs that offer an escape from real life and its shite. I like singing along to songs about Satan.
Anyway, Cock Sparrer were fucking GREAT and I felt left out of the Punk party that was going on around me. Although I did not know any of the band's songs I still loved them. Cock Sparrer almost made me want to shave my head and start wearing polo shirts. Almost. Oi! Oi? Oi!?
I used cash to pay for my beers tonight. Punks were paying with plastic:
Irony is a dish best served via a credit card machine, Mr. Sham 69. Oi! Oi? Oi!?
As I said earlier, the only Rancid I've ever owned is the Out Come The Wolves album, which I still genuinely like and obviously makes me a poser to Punks.. but I don't give a fuck. I told Big Wayne that after I heard 3 songs off that album I would be ready to leave... and fuck it if 2 of the first 3 songs of the set were Wolves tunes. Nice! 'Journey To The End Of The East Bay' is, like, still a really good song. Lock. Step. I'm gone.
Rancid were fun in that safe suburban Punk way, but I couldn't get past that Lars Frederiksen was wearing a sweater onstage. Sweaters are not Metal. One thing I will say is Punks have a much better fashion sense than Metalheads, both the bands and the fans. I suspect more Punks have subscriptions to GQ than Metalheads. Judging by the girl / boy ratio in the house, more chicks also dig Punk now. Punks are now the cool kidz and Metalheads are the outcasts at the High School of Music. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Motörhead shirts = 3. I did not do a merch audit because the Punks had a SHIT TON of merch for sale... Impressive, most impressive. Hot Topic has taught them well. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. 'Time Bomb' by G.B.H. is WAY better than 'Time Bomb' by Rancid.