Monday, February 05, 2007

The Claw

The Hidden Hand / Kylesa / Ludicra
12 Galaxies, San Francisco
February 3, 2007

The year is less than 40 days old and I'm already hard pressed to imagine a show blowing me away like this one did anytime soon. Last year Celtic Frost stood out as the show that left me completely gobsmacked.. I'm not exaggerating when I say I left this show with that same feeling of elation. While walking the bar time streets of The Mission after the gig I was happy to be alive.

Ludicra delivered a headline-quality set that left me stunned. I've seen them several times in the past and loved 'em, but tonight they seemed to have a fire lit under them. Their dark powers were hypnotic.

Ludicra are the type of band I would have been fanatical about back in 1984 during the height of my Old Metal Days.. Not because of the type of Metal they play, but because of the type of band they are: Focused on musicianship, songwriting that is epic, napalm smooth dual guitars, thunder on the tundra rhythm section, fire 'n ice vocals. A dark wall of sound that washes over you. Inspiring.

Ludicra is charismatic in that classic Black Metal way, but they don't do the Black Metal scowl thing 24/7 (yayy!)... After delivering a Lungs of Hell vocal performance, Laurie jokingly asked if anyone knew of a good local mechanic in between songs; I laughed. Maybe you had to have been there, but I bet you would have laughed too. I love having a local Metal band that I can support as if I was 19-years old again. I give Ludicra "The Claw" with much respect!!

Hmmm... Kylesa or hang out in front of the club talking with friends... Kylesa and their, uh, TWO drummers or hang out in front of the club talking with friends... Hmm. Bands with two drummers usually cause me to hear Spinal Tap dialogue in my head:

"Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"


"These go to eleven.."

If you don't know Wino, Saint Vitus, or The Obsessed get off the computer right now and visit your local indie record store. RIGHT NOW!

OzzFest cabin boy Zakk Wylde is a Hot Topic mall version of Wino. More heavy underground music has been inspired by Wino's fingers than can be calculated... but he'll never get the props he deserves. He's one of those musicians who'll always be in the shadows as the bands that he influenced get the glory. However, seeing Wino's pair of road-weary Les Pauls sitting onstage was symbolic that glory is fleeting. Wino's in it for the war, not the battles.

The look on Wino's face when he's onstage says it all; it's not often that you see a musician with that intense of a game face... and when he shoves his Les Paul into overdrive for a solo it's like watching something solid slamming into something fragile; the roar of something breaking. Inspiring. Combine that with Wino's distinctive vocals and it's impossible for me to take most other bands seriously. Heart. Soul. Volume.

The other 2/3 of The Hidden Hand are solid and they forge a mighty power trio with Wino; the brand new CD (The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote) is probably the best Heavy Stomp N' Roll release I'll hear all year. I give The Hidden Hand "The Claw" with much respect!!

I didn't do a merch tally 'cause I was yakkin' with folks in between bands, but I dropped $25. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. This gig was a mere $10, which wouldn't even cover the Ticketbastard service charge on one OzzFest ticket to see Cabin Boy Zakk.