Slim's, San Francisco, California
June 9, 2012
Corrosion Of Conformity are a unique band in my mind because they seem to exist as 2 separate bands: the original "Punk" version and, when Pepper Keenan is involved, the "Metal" version. For the past couple of years the original Animosity era lineup has been touring and they released an excellent new self-titled new album earlier this year.
Prior to the show I was able to hang out with Umlaut hometown brothers Rafa and Jason of Black Cobra. They've been away on tour for the past several months so it was good to catch up with them. They also facilitated me giving C.O.C. a copy of Murder In The Front Row and this moment happened:
"It looks like a text book!" - Mike Dean
I have to say this was my favorite bill of the year so far; the diversity of the volume was pretty inspired compared to the unimaginative and downright boring package tours that have been crisscrossing the continent in recent times. Unfortunately, since I was being a social butterfly, I only managed to catch the last couple of songs of Gaza's angry set. Sorry, guys..
It's always fun to watch Black Cobra play in front of a crowd of mostly non-believers. Although it was amusing that there were no less than 5 photographers along the front of the stage for their set; pretty boys making noise. To be honest, I can't say anything about Black Cobra that I haven't already said in this space before. Tonight was my 15th time seeing them and Jason and Rafa are playing and performing at a higher level these days. The band has been dialed in by constant touring and a commitment forged in volume; I think the boys will have played over 100 shows this year by the end of July. Black Cobra commands a stage better than most bands with twice as many members. The crowd reaction after their 40 minutes indicated their merch guy did a healthy business while they loaded out.. which is how the Rock Show thing is supposed to work.
Torche seemed to be the big draw tonight judging by the crowd reaction. Although I was surprised that Slim's was no more than half full on a Saturday night; this bill deserved more than that. Sometimes the San Francisco music scene is annoying in its fickle nature. If Torche are considered a Hipster Metal band then I must be a Hipster because I totally dig them. The songs off their new album translated great to the stage with 'Letting Go' coming across like a call to arms. The set was brutal in an understated way, like getting hit repeatedly with a unicorn print pillow filled with polished stones. Torche songs offer light through volume and I'm completely down with that. The dark thing is being done to death by bands these days. Being loud and hopeful is not a sin if it's done well. For some reason whenever I hear Torche I think of the band Big Country... in a good way... "Come up screaming..".