Thursday, February 05, 2009


Meshuggah / Cynic
Slim's, San Francisco, CA
February 4, 2009

I rolled into Slim's too late to see the first band (sorry to The Faceless), but unfortunately I got there in time to see Cynic. THIS is what kids call Metal today?? They're basically a nerdy Jazz Fusion band with a bushy haired guitarist who adds Metal cookie monster vocals every once in awhile. Note to Cynic: When you play "Metal" it should be "Heavy", hence the term "Heavy Metal". I was pissed because I could have stayed on my couch at Casa de Umlaut an hour longer and watched something else in Hi-Def. SO MANY things irritated me about Cynic.. but I'll let it go.

Anyway, as Meshuggah set up I was preparing my rant about Cynic in my head, but when Meshuggah hit the stage at around 10:30PM the lameness was forgotten. Halfway through the set I thought to myself that 25 years ago I could not have imagined a band as heavy as these Swedes. Holy fuck... "Wall of sound" is an understatement when it's built by Swedes wielding twin 8-string guitars, a 5-string bass, AND one of the best drummers in Metal. Who can defend against such firepower?? Not me, man. Not me. The band's power is relentless... but beautiful.

Ray and I stood next to Jello Biafra for pretty much the entire set, which was nice since Marten was wearing a DK's shirt onstage. If I had a hundred dollar bill for every time I've stood next to Jello at a show I could, like, buy every Blu-Ray disc I want... Just prior to the band going on, I noticed Jello slip downstairs to the dressing room; I think it's safe to say that a certain Swedish Rock Star met his hero in San Francisco. Awww..

Scorecard: According to the Umlaut Archives, this was my 58th visit to Slim's dating back to 1988. Yes, I keep score... it's on an Excel spreadsheet... I think it's about 90% accurate documenting every concert I've attended since losing my gig cherry in 1978. The Geeks shall inherit The Earth.

Thanks to Joel and Loana for getting me sorted on The List.

I didn't do a merch audit, but "Meshuggah" means "crazy" in Yiddish. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. Earlier in the day, Lux Interior passed away and as I walked down Harrison Street towards my car, a dude wearing a leather miniskirt and high heels passed me walking in the other direction. Respect.

Footnote: The next morning Umlaut was late for a breakfast meeting... As I zoomed through the streets of San Francisco, Meshuggah was blasting in the car and my driving went right along with the music; I ran a red light and did not adhere to proper stop sign etiquette a couple of times. Note to self: Do not listen to Meshuggah if you are late for an appointment.