Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tidal Wave 11

Tidal Wave 11 - Day 2
McLaren Park Amphitheatre, San Francisco
July 6, 2008

For the newbies: Tidal Wave is an annual FREE 2-day live event in San Francisco that celebrates METAL in a very old school, grassroots, no bullshit way. As the title says, 2008 marks the 11th year of this event... which is pretty amazing in these dark economic times.

Unfortunately, Umlaut couldn't attend Day 1 of Tidal Wave 11, which by all accounts was SRO Old Metal Madness via headliners Exodus, Hirax, and Attitude Adjustment delivering it to a crowd of close to 1,000 who jammed into Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre (aka McClaren Park Amphitheatre). I love how Tidal Wave refuses to acknowledge the venue's official name... 'cause that dead millionaire Hippie is NOT Metal.

Click HERE for some great pics of Exodus on Day 1.

In contrast, Day 2 was a mellower affair led by Ludicra and Saros, who fought valiantly to bring darkness to the daytime with their style of 21st Century Black Metal. I'd say a gathering of no less than 300 were on hand to close out the event; quality over quantity as they say.

I think I've said it before in this space but, for better or worse, Metal shows tend to be like high school reunions for Umlaut in that (1) I run into people who I haven't seen in a long time or (2) I run into people who I don't see very often or (3) I'm there with some of my oldest and dearest friends; Tidal Wave 11 - Day 2 was all three. So a shout out to my Old Metal bruthas Konaquon, Mike, Loren, and Tom... Horns! Hope we die before we get old.

On the flipside, the Umlaut Nation was well represented by Johnny, Joey, Lori, Dave, Pam, Richard, and our newest recruit Raj. To make the day even more special, Pam and Richard launched their CatHead's BBQ empire over the Tidal Wave weekend! Is there anything more harmonious than Metal and 'Cue?? I think not!

However, in a faux paus Metal moment I asked if their logo was supposed to be a cat's head on a plate.. hence the name "CatHead's".. The look of horror on Pam's face said it all and I immediately thought "Oooops..." Sorry guys.. I blame The Metal and take absolutely no responsibility for my actions.

Umlaut must also apologize to the 3 opening bands who played while I was there.. Dudes, I ate 'cue, drank a beer, talked with friends and barely paid any attention to your sets. Sorry... I'm sure you were all Metal in one way or another. Horns! If it's any consolation, Tidal Wave reminds Umlaut of Sunday, August 19, 1984:

(From the Umlaut Archives)

The legendary Day In The Dirt... On that day 24 years ago (!), a little band called Slayer shared a plywood stage in a dirt field in Berkeley with Exodus, Suicidal Tendencies, and Blue Cheer (!). The show was cut short because it started to get dark and there were no lights. There ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues.

Slayer - Day In The Dirt '84
(Pic by Umlaut)

Crowd action during Exodus - Day In The Dirt '84
(Pic by Umlaut)

Yes.. I'm afraid Umlaut is WAY more Old School than you and your Pantera Vulgar Display Of Power shirt... Anyway, back in the 21st Century at Tidal Wave 11:

Saros and their intricate weaving of Prog Rock and Black Metal were amazing as expected. It was inspiring to watch the band attempt to summon darkness out of the bright sunshine... If they had only been able to extend their set by 3 hours, then Saros' mighty power over the dark would have succeeded in extinguishing light. The set featured new songs from their forthcoming album which I'm sure will be covered by American Idol contestants next season. Mark my words. There's too much legitimate talent in this band to expect anything less... and that's what American Idol celebrates, right? Legitimate talent... at least that's what the Bible says. As Saros took the stage I flipped on my fancy new digital SLR and THIS is how many pics I had left:

Luckily I had my pocket camera to document this evil omen... I could NEVER make this shit up, right!? I took it as a sign of the impending doom via volume that Saros was about to smear us with.. or something like that.

Alternative Tentacles recording artists Ludicra and their cold Black Metal fury were amazing as expected. It was inspiring to watch the band attempt to summon darkness out of the bright sunshine... If they had only been able to extend their set by 2 hours, then Ludicra's mighty power over the dark would have succeeded in extinguishing light. The band's sound became locked in bitter hand-to-hand combat with the early evening's wind and, while some saw it as bad sound mixing, Umlaut observed it as an epic battle between Ludicra's cold fury and Nature itself!! Minstrels will sing of this epic conflict to future generations... Seemingly nothing could pacify this violent collision... nothing except the event permit's expiration at 6:00PM. Thus, the band had to cut their set short by one song. Cue an unholy howl as the band's cold fury and Nature became one and evaporated to continue their battle in the ether... or something like that.

It would have been cool if Umlaut had been able to attend Day 1 of Tidal Wave to witness the testosterone-fueled mayhem, but Day 2 caused me to ask myself "When was the last time I attended a gig where the two main bands were spearheaded by women?" Not only that, but the music was empowering AND powerful and the complete opposite of A&F Hipster drivel like Feist. "1234..." Lori said it best "It's nice to see the ladies represented.." Word, my sister.

Best Shirt: Konaquon's vintage event shirt from the Exodus - Bonded By Blood album release show at The Kabuki Theater - May 31, 1985. For the newbie locals: The Kabuki was a concert venue during the 70's and 80's; too bad video killed the radio star and The Kabuki was converted into a multiplex cinema in 1986. The next time you're in Auditorium 1 imagine The Cure, Metallica, or The Ramones onstage where the screen now hangs. Click HERE to download MP3's of Metallica live at The Kabuki in 1985.. Yes, Umlaut was there.

What? Oh yeah... SORRY!! Meanwhile back in the 21st Century: The day after the show, Ludicra asked me via electronic communication if anyone had called me anything on the way back to the car after the show. NICE... Thanks for asking! As a matter of fact:

Number of Metallica shirts = 1... and the guy wasn't beaten up as a poser, which disappointed me. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. Man, back in The Day if someone flaunted a shirt of a poser band like Metallica, Baloff would have literally ripped the shirt off his back and maybe set it on fire. So let it be written, so let it be done.

No matter... We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun... Here's some pics.