Sunday, July 16, 2006

Reading Is Funda-Metal

Berkeley Central Library, Berkeley, CA
July 15, 2006

Sometimes you have a great day when you least expect it. Alternative Tentacles recording artist BlöödHag brought their brand of Edu-Core to the Berkeley Central Library for a free afternoon concert... and for the first time in years Big Wayne and Umlaut were in a library together. Prior to the show Wayne and I wandered the hallowed halls and did bratty stuff as if we were 19-year old kids again. There was a neat BlöödHag poster on the library's bulletin board... so I took it.

Is is it stealing if Satan tells you to do it? Is it pathetic if you're doing this at my age?? I knew it was going to be an entertaining event when we saw the band loading-in their gear and the bassist and drummer were wearing Dune and Cthulhu shirts respectively. The performance took place in a 3rd floor meeting room of the library. As we waited in the hall outside, who should walk up but Dave Ed of Neurosis! I said "What are YOU doing in a library??!!"

Wayne and I hadn't seen Dave in a long time so it was heartwarming to have an Old School reunion when we didn't expect it. Man, Umlaut had some good adventures with Neurosis back in The Day.
  • Click HERE for a PDF of Umlaut On Tour With Neurosis from Umlaut #4 (Spring 1992).
  • Click HERE for a PDF of Umlaut On Tour With Neurosis from Umlaut #9 (Fall 1993).
Oh yeah, BlöödHag!

BlöödHag were so much F-U-N! For the newbies: BlöödHag play short Death Metal songs about Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors (Edu-Core!). They use Metal to promote literacy ("Bang The Head That Does Not Read") and have done U.S. Tours playing only libraries to spread the word about reading and libraries.

There were around 40 people in the meeting room for the band's set, mostly BlöödHag fans but also a couple of library patrons who were obviously there out of curiousity. Prior to the set the library made announcements over the PA about the show, which was quite funny ("Please come to the 3rd floor meeting room at 3:30 for a free performance of Heavy Metal by BlöödHag..."). Bonded by books!

Before each song, vocalist J.B. would tell a funny and informative biography about the author with the other band guys chiming in with their input. It was HI-larious (and educational)! I laughed out loud many times during their 45 minute set, which I rarely do at a Slayer show.

Also, you'll NEVER see Lars Ulrich do anything as genuine onstage as when J.B. took a moment to announce some of the upcoming events at the Berkeley Library before the band stormed into another song. HI-larious and informative. Near the end of their set, J.B. opened a briefcase and tossed used Sci-Fi paperbacks at the audience. Wayne caught one and I was nearly hit by another:

If you bought one of every BlöödHag merch item you would have paid around $40 (I think). On the way back to the car some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I hadn't eaten lunch, so after the performance I was so hungry I could have eaten a copy of the 1981 Books In Print. Later, the fun continued with an ironic meal and beers at the Pyramid Alehouse across the street from Wayne's old haunt, 924 Gilman St. Then our Edu-Core Day was completed by a visit and tour of Bookseller Jeff's amazing book warehouse. If you're looking for that rare 1st Edition, you should see Jeff. Click HERE to visit his web site and catalog.

BlöödHag and books über alles!