Thursday, March 15, 2007

March Madness

Ludicra / Giant Squid / Black Elk / Grayceon
Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
March 10, 2007

Earlier in the day I got the new Arcade Fire CD. I'll cut to the chase and say that it's not close to being the epiphany their debut CD was for me. Before I heard the Funeral CD, I was told to check the band out when they were still playing clubs.. but I blew them off. When I finally heard the Funeral CD I kinda got obsessed with it for a short time, but the tour was over by then. I can now add Arcade Fire to my list of "Bands I Missed The Boat On". Now all the Marina Hipsters are grooving to Arcade Fire and they're booked for 2 nights at the 9,000 seat Greek in Berkeley in June, and I hate going to the Greek... so that boat has sailed.. Bon Voyage!

Unlike my brush with Arcade Fire, I didn't miss the boat with Ludicra. In fact, I'm a bigger fan now than I was 3 years ago. However, one of my ideas of Hell is having to sit through 3 opening bands when I don't want to... Nothing against the other bands, but I just wasn't in the mood for anything non-Death Metal tonight. Also, Bottom of the Hill's typical late start time and 4-band bill really threw a wrench into the surgically precise Rock Night that Timo and I have perfected over the years.

Jello Biafra was in The House supporting Ludicra, the cash cows of Alternative Tentacles. Longtime readers will remember that I have a long history of standing next to Jello at shows around town dating back to 1992. As I stood next to him on this black night, I thought his presence was akin to Steve Perry attending a Classic Rock show in S.F.. When the lights go down in the city, too drunk to fuck.

Ludicra delivered the goods as expected, but it's scary to think how destructive they would be if they played and toured more regularly. Perhaps that's best, since the world probably couldn't handle such a horrifyingly perfect display of Metal Fury.

John and Laurie Ludicra
(Pic by Photo Ray)

Pentagram (the band) shirts = 1. If you bought one of every Ludicra merch item you would have paid $110; all Ludicra merch was a mere $10. . On the way back to the car, some pimply faced teenagers called us fags. If I need an alibi for a crime I didn't commit on this night, you can verify my attendance with either Timo, Ray, Loren, Mike, or Max.

The Sword
Slim's, San Francisco
March 13, 2007

Unlike my brush with Arcade Fire, I didn't miss the boat with The Sword. Yes, I blew off their debut visit to S.F. because I thought they were simply pretenders, but I was subsequently proven wrong by the time they returned. The Sword also ingratiated themselves to my Rock sensibilities by proving they are truly old style Road Dogs. They've been touring almost non-stop since last February when their debut album came out; this was their 4th time through S.F. on this tour and their 3rd stop at Slim's in less than a year.

However, I must shake my finger at Slim's for using the same layout for this show's flyer as they did for the show 8 months ago:

Not very imaginative, Slim's.

When I saw The Sword for the first time 8 months ago they were decent but still unpolished rookie Rock Stars; when the drummer broke his bass drum pedal the band looked like they wanted to go home and hide. This time around they were a seasoned Rock N' Roll Machine onstage; it was cool to see the improvement and remember that road work was the way bands used to do it before the Information Superhighway made bands and fans lazy.

I don't use the word "bludgeoning" very often anymore, but I'll drop that adjective now. The version of 'Freya' was particularly satisfying and if the entire set had been a meal it would have been massive slabs of meat on spits roasting over huge open flames washed down with The Kingdom's finest wine served from giant flagons by lusty buxom wenches.

The lads also played a couple of new songs and if they had been a meal they would have been the meat from a freshly hunted beast that had been tracked through an unnaturally harsh snowstorm conjured by a renegade wizard. It would be your first meal since you began your quest to vanquish the wizard, he who killed your father and subjugated your kin.

That being said, I was a bit disappointed to see that J.D. has ditched his red BC Rich Mockingbird for a red Les Paul, which improves his tone but doesn't look as cool.

Dude, The Sword's first encore was a cover of ZZ Top's 'Nasty Dogs And Funky Kings'! Yeah, yeah, I'm fully aware the Melvins covered 'Nasty Dogs' over a decade ago for the Amphetamine Reptile Melvins 7" Single of the Month Club (Music Geek Note: 'Nasty Dogs' appeared on Single #11... clear vinyl...), but since The Sword are from Texas I'll give them the points here in the 21st Century.

Iron Maiden shirts = 1. If you bought one of every Sword merch item you would have paid just over $100; t-shirts were a mere $10. . On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. If I need an alibi for a crime I didn't commit on this night, you can verify my attendance with either Timo, Johnny, or Any.