Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Swinging On The Gallows Pole

The exciting addendum to This Week In Music Geek: Gallows!

Warped Tour
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mt. View, CA
July 1, 2007

For most of this year, Umlaut has been reading and hearing the hype about the hot shit new English punk band Gallows. NME raved that the band is "the antithesis of safe rock, the kind of band who actually matters" and colleagues of mine across The Pond who had seen the band live raved about 'em too. Also, the manager of one of my all-time favorite bands told me just last week that Gallows are "the real deal" after he saw them in concert.

The band's debut album (Orchestra Of Wolves) has been out in England since last September but isn't due for Stateside release for another week (a high profile drop by Epitaph no less). However, Umlaut illegally downloaded the album awhile back 'cause I couldn't wait (and I didn't want to pay $$ for the import).

I was caught up in the band's immediacy and their vibe of genuine English anger fueled by the usual suspects (heartbreak, broken families, society, etc. etc. etc.). They also have one of my favorite recent song titles with 'Will Someone Shoot That Fucking Snake' ("snake" as in a deceitful person, not the reptile..).. When this year's edition of the Warped Tour was announced my eyes were immediately drawn to "Gallows" in the lineup; "Fuck Yeah!" I said to no one in particular.

The absolute best bands don't fuck around, and Gallows don't fuck around.. They hit the stage at 5:30pm and immediately launched into their single 'Abandon Ship' and it was like my legs had a mind of their own and I found myself down front and as close to the stage as I could squeeze.. and I sang along with the lads: "The S.S. Death lost everything, no one here can fucking swim!!"

I was curious to see how the hot shit new English punk band would go over with a suburban American crowd who, for the most part, had no clue who they were... The initial reaction seemed to be "I can't understand the singer's accent, so I'm just gonna stand here".. However, a more telling indication of the crowd's "cred" came when Gallows introduced a song they said was a tribute to this, their first tour of America, and to the Yank bands who influenced them (or something like that) and they blasted into a great cover of Black Flag's 'Nervous Breakdown'... and NONE of the kidz seemed to know the song... Shocking!

The best part of the set was when Ted unintentionally knocked Frank Gallows down in The Pit! At one point, obviously bored with the somewhat indifferent crowd response, the singer dove into the crowd mid-song in the best Iggy tradition as the rest of the band kept the fire burning onstage.

Frank Gallows Dives - Mt. View (Pic by Umlaut)

After this dramatic gesture, Frank Gallows ended up on his feet and tried to get a pit going, but as he started he ran right into Ted (who was trying to get out of his way) and he went flying across the ground. Hilarious, right? Displaying proper Old School pit etiquette, Ted moved quickly and helped young Mr. Gallows to his feet and sent him back in the direction of the stage. Once he got back onstage, Frank Gallows (sporting fresh road rash on his back) called the crowd "a buncha pussies" and dedicated the next song to whoever knocked him down and picked him up. Hilarious, right? Nicely done, Ted.

The lads closed their Bay Area debut with their "proper" love song 'In The Belly Of A Shark' and I was happy to hear a kid standing behind me singing along; at least there are some kids who still buy import records (or at least download the cool import stuff illegally). Maybe there's hope for the youth of America after all.

I predict that within 6 months, hundreds of the Mt. View kidz who were strolling around the concession area while Gallows played will claim they saw the band at Warped 2007 (LIARS!!). Gallows are the type of band you gotta see now, 'cause they won't be able to sustain the angry energy forever. Hey, I'm just speaking the truth, dude... but Gallows ARE the real fucking deal. Anger is an energy for sure, like, totally. It's not often that you see a band with *that* look of hunger and almost desperate motivation in their eyes; day jobs are not an option for this lot. The real fucking deal...

I spaced on doing a merch audit, but a copy of the Gallows CD was only 10 bucks and included a handful of promo decals. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. I did my Music Geek duty and had the lads sign a Orchestra Of Wolves promo poster after their set, which will look nice in my new office when I move into it... since a day job is my only option.

"So here I lie, in the belly of a shark... so fucking cold.. so fucking dark.."