Sunday, October 29, 2006

Death To False Metal

Trivium / The Sword
Slim's, San Francisco
October 27, 2006

This was a completely weird night. Bad vibes were in the air as soon as we left my house. Things didn't feel right... The night just felt wrong. I couldn't put my finger on it. It was unusually warm too, even at 9:30PM.

Timo and I have been to over a hundred shows together. Our gig experiences are legendary for being surgically precise since we've been to all the local venues dozens and dozens of times and we have a Music Geek routine for each place. However, on this night, the Rock Godz had a lesson for us.. Perhaps we had become like Icarus and thought ourselves equal to the Rock Godz and we foolishly flew too close to The Sun (cue that Iron Maiden song).

As we neared the entrance to Slim's a band was playing; there were supposed to be 2 support acts before The Sword and judging from the time (just before 10:00PM) the second act should have been finishing up... However, as we got to Will Call I knew immediately that it was The Sword playing. FUCK. Then I saw the sign on the Will Call window announcing one of the two opening bands (Protest The Hero.. whoever they are..) would not be playing that night. FUCK. The Sword had gone on early. FUCK.

Timo and I quickly got inside and The Sword were pummeling the crowd with 'Iron Swan'; they sounded really good. Then the song ended, they said their thanks, and JD announced "Trivium are up next".. FUCK. That's right, Timo and I missed their entire set.. I can't remember the last time that's happened. FUCK. The Sword also played a cover of the Pentagram song 'Forever My Queen' in their set, and I missed it. FUCK.

I wasn't so much pissed as I was in utter disbelief that we'd missed The Sword. To console myself I bought the cool silk screened poster The Sword were selling for a mere 5 bucks. I loved how their merch was so indie: shirts were a mere $10-$15.

The Sword are still one of my favorite bands, but I'm obviously losing my edge... The band has been through town 3x this year and I only managed to see them 1x + 1 song. Hope I die before I get old.

After The Sword the club became noticeably less crowded as people left before the headliners. Timo and I should have taken that cue and exited as well, but we didn't.. and we paid a spiritual price.

Trivium's cheesy 'n dramatic intro tape (complete with smoke machine and arena rock lighting) was almost as long as the amount of time we saw The Sword. As the intro production played out I actually shouted "Excalibur!" (The movie, not the sword... pun intended).

Sidebar: The next day T-XIII sent me an e-mail about the show and he commented how Trivium made him think of Excalibur too, but the Vegas casino (not the movie or the sword). Hi-larious! Old Metal minds think alike.

Trivium have been touted as "the next Metallica" and they hit the stage in passable Metal fashion... and they did sound better then my first encounter with them over the Summer... but they soon lost me (again).

Metal is supposed to sound hard and tough; Trivium are not hard and tough. As I watched Trivium's "metal-by-the numbers-show me-the horns" act again, I was completely dumbfounded by how safe and clean their sound is... and I'm not exaggerating (ask Timo) that their guitar tech had a harder guitar sound during his pre-set tuneup then his band had when they hit the stage. WTF?

To be perfectly blunt, Trivium offends my Old Metal Soul... They're nicely sanitized and appeal to the "I-want-to-be-Metal-but Slayer-and Slayer fans-scare-me" people.. You will not get your ass kicked at a Trivium show (either literally or figuratively)... and that's why Trivium is False Metal IMO... That being said The Kidz buying their merch loved 'em and I suppose that's all that matters, but we bailed after 4 songs.

Iron Maiden shirts = 3. If you bought one of every Sword merch item you would have paid $67. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I wish we'd seen The Sword, but the Rock Godz obviously had a bigger plan for Timo and I on this night and our journey had not yet run its course.

Back at the car we agreed we needed food. While driving down Market Street the vibe was still just wrong in the city... Probably due to the warm weather, the homeless zombies were everywhere and they shared the night with weaving drunk kids and adults in pre-Halloween costumes. My sense of unease didn't abate and rather than hitting one of our usual post-gig late night eateries in The Mission / Castro area, Timo and I inexplicably found ourselves at the Denny's in Japantown.

After parking the car we walked past the site of a murder that had happened only a couple of days earlier in Japantown Plaza. I'd heard about it on the news and seeing the site fit with the dark vibe of the night.

I'm pretty sure I hadn't been to the Japantown Denny's since the Clinton Administration, but at least I was able to order the Umlaut Special (2 egg breakfast and a beer). Note: The Umlaut Special at the Denny's in Vacaville was much better.

Back at the car we attempted to cleanse what was left of the night by putting Slayer on the stereo ('South Of Heaven') to invoke the Healing Power of Metal. A block after turning on the stereo we came to a stoplight and noticed smoke / steam rising into the midnight sky and saw that 2 cars and a taxicab where crushed together in the intersection. The accident had just happened and people were running towards the scene to help the victims. As we got closer we could see why.


One of the cars had obviously ran a red light and hit the cab broadside at a high rate of speed.. The cab had then been slammed into the other car by the impact. There were people in the back seat of the cab but no movement from them or the cab driver. The offending car's front end was completely obliterated and there was no movement from its driver either. It looked very, very bad. Blood on shattered glass. Death was in this intersection. We kept going.

Thankfully Timo and I made it home safe and sound. Something was definitely "off" on the 27th night of October in the year 2006 on the streets of San Francisco. Christians will say it's because Halloween was only days away and San Francisco is full of sinners, which is bullshit of course 'cause Satan, like, totally rules.

To me it was just "one of those" nights where shit happened and you can't explain why... sorta like Trivium. What was that? How would I sum up the night in 8 words? Hmm, okay, here ya go:
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Death to False Metal.

Now, Umlaut doesn't have a personal vendetta against Trivium, but you gotta admit the following is hilarious (THANKS TOM).

From Midwest Metal Tom:

I was with Machine Head on the Sounds of the Underground Tour. They had to share a dressing room with Trivium and they were fucking lame. They're not Rock. PERIOD.

The bass player has that Motörhead backpatch going now (on his onstage denim vest), right? Well on the Sounds of the Underground Tour, he was sporting a Destruction backpatch.

Phil Demmel (ex Vio-Lence, current Machine Head) called him out on it... Phil told him to name one Destruction song. Of course the kid couldn't...a day later the Motörhead patch had replaced Destruction.

Umlaut says: Posers will pay the price!