Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Metal Rendezvous

After a very rough start to 2007, the month ended with a much needed Healing Power of Metal weekend.

First off, there was the tremendous Old Metal Rendezvous reunion hosted by the Lannon Family (THANKS AGAIN!). It seems like 2 million years have passed since my denim and leather salad days and, although not all of us are still around, it was damn cool to see familiar faces from the Bay Area Old Metal Scene again and know that most of us have survived to see the 21st Century (cue Dio's 'The Last In Line'). It's also comforting to know that there are others like me from the Old Metal Days who aren't Metal 24/7 anymore (WHAT?!):

Bee And Flower - 'I Know Your Name'

It's good for my soul to be back in touch with The Old Metal types. The Old Metal Days were more important to my life than high school, and it feels right to be back in touch with my roots. I may be all growed up, but Metal still runs in my veins and it's, like, my oldest and bestest friend.

As I was leaving the shindig, Metallica's 'Fade To Black' randomly played on the Lannon iTunes stereo, which tripped me out a bit; no matter where you go, there you are. On the drive home I set the iPod on UFO's Strangers In The Night album and jetted home in the rain. Perfect.

Then 48 hours later:

Memorial Auditorium, Sacramento, CA
January 28, 2007

The first time I made a road trip to Sacramento was also for Metal:

WOW.. The Memorial Auditorium was a time warp! For the Bay Area Old School: It was like walking into a smaller version of the old Oakland Auditorium (R.I.P.) again; the place has the same layout and architecture, aging plaster walls, and that same old gymnasium vibe. Trippy!

THIS is how a Metal show should be: General Admission in a creaky 80-year old venue! You simply don't experience shows like this very often anymore. The Metal atmosphere was so thick in the air you could have cut it with a broadsword.

To make the occasion even more Old School, Timo borrowed his dad's smooth ridin' 1997 Cadillac so we could ride up to the state capital in style. Hilariously Old School! "Dad, can I borrow the car to go see Slayer?"

By my count this was my 15th or 16th time seeing Slayer since 1984. I like seeing Slayer because you won't see couples snuggling as they play a ballad about how nothing else matters. Here in the 21st Century, Slayer are like the Ramones IMO. They offer nothing new, but what they do offer is consistent and better than most of the wannabes. I also don't want to make the same mistake I made with the Ramones, who I took for granted and blew off more times than I actually saw. At the time, I thought I'd already seen them enough; been there, done that, 1-2-3-4, blah blah blah.. However, now that the Ramones are gone I wish I could see them again, so I'm not gonna make the same mistake with Slayer... unless Dave Lombardo leaves the band again of course.

I like seeing Slayer since Lombardo rejoined the band on drums because they have a fire with him that they somehow lacked with the other drummers. I also like seeing Slayer because they don't appeal to "normal" people... However that also means you have to take the bad and the ugly freaks with the good freaks.

Every time I've been to a Metal show in the Central Valley in recent years, the White Power Thang has been in full effect and this night was no exception. It's not often that I'm in a public place where White Boyz are comfortable enough to go sans shirts to show off their Aryan Ink.

Sacramento Slayer Fans (Pic by Ray)

Nice, innit? So much for Hippie Shit Liberal Fag California! Not to make excuses for 'em but, as I've said a million times, I think the White Boyz are simply confused and their limited reading comprehension sees Tom Aryan and not "Araya" in Slayer's liner notes; I blame the public school system. Of course, I'd like to hear their rationalization about why Tom's skin is brown.

On the flipside, my faith in the children of today was given a boost by a pair of pre-teen boys. The two buddies were not the Jock types; both lads were skinny with long greasy hair (no doubt "fags" to their Jock classmates) and both were wearing FUCKIN' SLAYER shirts. It was like they were saying to me "Old man take a look at my life, I'm a lot like you were.." Those two kids are gonna be alright.

Musically, Slayer never disappoints, but the shitty sound made it a less than stellar show. I left the relative safety of our balcony seats to watch a couple of songs from the floor next to the soundboard. My Inner 17-year old Metalhead smiled as the ancient wooden floor of the auditorium vibrated from the volume and pit action and the majority of the 4,000 people around me banged their heads to 'Raining Blood'. METAL. For the record, my personal highlight of the night was 'Captor Of Sin'.

BEST QUOTE: (Shouted by some dude after Slayer played 'Raining Blood') "METALLICA SUCKS!!"

Slayer slays Sac (Pic by Ray)

As we were making our way out of the lobby, a guy spitting up blood was escorted past us by medical personnel. SLAYER! A 200 mile (there and back) Metal road trip on a school night with that kind of a footnote?! Priceless! THANKS to Timo for driving and to his dad for letting him borrow the stylin' Cadi! THANKS to Lori and Dave for paying for parking. THANKS to Ray for letting me "borrow" his pics for this space. Also a SHOUT to Ted, Tim XIII, and Mark for contributing to the local Sac economy by dining out.

I tried to do a Slayer merch tally but I couldn't do the math in my head, so if you bought one of every Slayer merch item you would have paid over $400. Swastika tattoos = at least 2. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. After the show I flippantly yelled "Slayer!" and within seconds out of the cold Sacramento night someone responded with "Slayer!!".

"Hot winds of Hell, burn in my wake.."