Thursday, January 01, 2009

Another One Down

The past year was another weird one for Umlaut... While the foundation within remained solid, outside the walls of Casa de Umlaut it was another cycle of chaos and change. However, Umlaut will continue to fight the hordes, sing and cry, and we will see what the next 8,760 hours bring. As always, THANKS to Skychick, Fredo, Dixie, Eddie, and Buggers for keeping the plane at cruising altitude despite any turbulance or bullshit that comes our way.

In the meantime, I will quote that British band: "Let The Music be your Master, will you heed The Master's call?"... and with those words, here's my 2008 scorecard:
  1. 01/04/08 - Social Distortion - The Fillmore
  2. 01/10/08 - The Head Cat [Lemmy and Slim Jim Phantom] - The Independent
  3. 01/18/08 - High On Fire - The Blank Club [San Jose]
  4. 01/24/08 - Gallows - Slim's
  5. 02/19/08 - Iron Maiden - The Forum [Los Angeles]
  6. 03/29/08 - Y&T - The Fillmore
  7. 04/12/08 - Taste Of Chaos Tour with Avenged Sevenfold / Atreyu / Bullet For My Valentine / MUCC - San Jose State Event Center [San Jose]
  8. 04/19/08 - The Sword / Slough Feg - Slim's
  9. 04/24/08 - Black Cobra / Saros / Mendozza - Annie's Social Club
  10. 05/25/08 - Death Angel / God Forbid - Slim's
  11. 05/28/08 - Iron Maiden / Lauren Harris - Concord Pavilion
  12. 05/29/08 - Arch Enemy / Dark Tranquility - Slim's
  13. 06/11/08 - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden [New York]
  14. 06/16/08 - Biafra 5-0 Show with Jello Biafra / Melvins / Drunk Injuns / Los Olvidados - Great American Music Hall
  15. 06/21/08 - Vans Warped Tour - Pier 30/31
  16. 06/27/08 - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Greek Theatre [Berkeley]
  17. 07/06/08 - Tidal Wave 11 - McLaren Park
  18. 07/12/08 - Mayhem Tour with Slipknot / Disturbed / Dragonforce / Mastodon / Machine Head / Airbourne / Black Tide, etc. - Shoreline Amphitheatre [Mt. View]
  19. 07/26/08 - Flipper / The Avengers / The Mutants - The Fillmore
  20. 08/12/08 - Wolves In The Throne Room / Ludicra - Slim's
  21. 08/15/08 - Vans Warped Tour - Shoreline Amphitheatre [Mt. View]
  22. 08/23/08 - Raven / Stone Vengeance - Rock-It Room
  23. 08/31/08 - Metal Masters Tour with Judas Priest / Heaven And Hell / Motörhead / Testament - Shoreline Amphitheatre [Mt. View]
  24. 09/02/08 - Motörhead / Valient Thorr - House Of Blues [Anaheim]
  25. 09/09/08 - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (electric set) - Great American Music Hall
  26. 09/19/08 - Carcass - The Grand
  27. 09/19/08 - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Red Sparowes - Warfield Theatre
  28. 09/20/08 - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds / Red Sparowes - Warfield Theatre
  29. 09/24/08 - Uli John Roth / Blind Illusion / Sentinal Beast - Annie's Social Club
  30. 09/25/08 - Bullet For My Valentine / Bleeding Through / Black Tide - Warfield Theatre
  31. 10/06/08 - Opeth / High On Fire - The Grand
  32. 10/10/08 - The Sword / Black Cobra / Bison b.c. - Slim's
  33. 10/12/08 - Wolves In The Throne Room / Saros / Embers - DNA Lounge
  34. 10/17/08 - Metallica - Death Magnetic Tour Rehearsal - Cow Palace
  35. 10/26/08 - AC/DShe - Dirtbag Challenge
  36. 11/11/08 - Skeletonwitch / Saros / Conifer - The Knockout
  37. 11/21/08 - In Flames / All That Remains / Gojira / 36 Crazyfists - Warfield Theatre
  38. 11/30/08 - Dir En Grey - The Grand
  39. 12/02/08 - AC/DC - Oracle Arena [Oakland]
  40. 12/03/08 - Oasis / Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Oracle Arena [Oakland]
  41. 12/18/08 - High On Fire / Drunk Horse - Great American Music Hall
  42. 12/20/08 - Metallica / Lamb Of God / The Sword - Oracle Arena [Oakland]
  43. 12/31/08 - Butthole Surfers / Negativland - The Fillmore
After a fair amount of internal monologues with myself, I have to say my most memorable gig of 2008 was Robert Plant & Alison Krauss at Madison Square Garden because it was part of a larger drama going on for me outside the show.. However, the Metal Masters Tour and the two Iron Maiden shows were my favorites... but the most F-U-N show of the year hands down was AC/DC; for 2 hours I was 15-years old again.

My favorite gig moments would be a tie between being introduced to Steve Harris by Rod Smallwood backstage at Maiden in Concord and having a casual business meeting with Lemmy in his Anaheim dressing room.. DOH x2.. If you had told me when I was 16-years old that I would be meeting my heroes under those conditions I would not have believed you.

Musically, my favorite gig moments were Plant & Krauss launching into 'The Battle Of Evermore' in New York City, Maiden hitting the stage with 'Churchill's Speech Intro' > 'Aces High' > '2 Minutes To Midnight' in L.A. and Concord, but especially Tony Iommi's guitar TONE during Heaven And Hell's set in August. Holy fuck... The TONE. Unreal... The TONE seduced me when I was a kid and inspired me to go left instead of right on The Road of Life.. The TONE!

My biggest concert regrets for 2008: Missing Testament at The Independent ('cause I was at the lame Y&T show at The Fillmore... Sorry Dalia.. Sometimes my expectations for nostalgia bite me in the ass..) and Dethklok at The Fillmore ('cause I had to fly to NYC for work..).

However, my biggest Music Geek moment of 2008 BY FAR was being thanked in the liner notes of the new Motörhead album... If you had told me when I was 16-years old that would happen I would not have believed you. Lemmy has been one of my heroes for so long, man.. ANYTHING for Lemmy!

Also, it was kinda cool on a personal level that I became a legitimate fan of Metallica again in 2008.. Those who know me are aware of my history with the band, but I've been following them on autopilot and simply out of habit for, like, the past 15 years or so; nothing they've done in that time has engaged me the way their earlier stuff did... No, Death Magnetic isn't as good as their pre-1992 stuff, but I do think Death Magnetic is their best work in a LONG time in a riff-tastic way. My generation of fans can nitpick and debate the band's post-Cliff Burton merits forever, but it's pointless here in the 21st Century... IMO it's simply cool to still have Metallica around in this age of Guitar Hero and Rock Band wannabes... Better Metallica than Nickelback, dyaknowhatimean? Welcome Home, Sanitarium.

1992: Metallica will never do anything crappier than 'Nothing Else Matters', right?
(Pic by Meals)

Anyway, I'm gobsmacked by how many people actually read the crap that I post here... THANKS y'all! The support is MUCH appreciated, especially since 2009 will mark the 5th (FIFTH!) Anniversary of this so-called "blog". Five years!? To quote Bowie "We've got five years, my brain hurts alot..."

As I'm typing this, the first music playing on my stereo here in 2009 is good 'ol Roky Erickson... Perfect. I would like to state for the record that I'm listening to my STEREO and NOT iTunes (Marantz receiver > JVC CD player > Bose speakers); keep it Old Skool, goddamit..

Anyway, as far as the year ahead is concerned: Into battle I ride... See you on the other side!