Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Return Of The King

Acid King / Black Cobra
Bender's, San Francisco
June 13, 2009

This night was epic. It was epic because 2 of my favorite bands were sharing the bill. It was epic because the occasion was to celebrate the art of one of my favorite Lock 'N Loll artists. It was epic because Umlaut was surrounded by some of his dearest friends all night (which happened to include the 2 bands).

Besides the one-two punch of Acid King and Black Cobra, the evening also featured the art of the bands' graphic artist Alan Forbes, with examples of his Lock 'N Loll posters hanging around the club and being offered for sale at the merch table. You might not be familiar with Alan's name, but there's a good chance you've seen his work before. Umlaut was totally gobsmacked when he learned awhile back that Alan is responsible for the Black Crowes' original logo (Dude, the first 3 Crowes' albums are Umlaut faves..):

Black Crowes 1990 Tour Button
(From the Umlaut Archives)

Alan has also done work for AC/DC, Queens Of The Stone Age, Faith No More, Mars Volta and many other of our fave bands. Check out his website for more info and geek out on his work.

Since I pretended I was a roadie and helped Lori Acid King carry in her equipment, I was given the Bender's band stamp which entitled me to as many cans of PBR as I could drink all night... Dude! I thought it was cute how the young bartender opened the PBR pull tabs for her customers and also used an old style can opener to punch a vent hole in the top of the can as well. Who does that anymore?? I haven't seen a can of beer opened like that since, like, WAY back in the 20th Century.

Lori and Umlaut's All You Can Drink PBR stamps

Bender's is a cool space but, man, it was really packed by show time and it became a fucking sweatbox as the bands started to play. At one point a girl came up to me and asked if I was a "Music Journalist.."... I said "Not really.."... and she said "Oh.. 'cause you look like one..".. and when I didn't really bite on that she commented on my Iron Maiden shirt and that was that; I took the interaction as a compliment (Thank you, young lady!).. but maybe I should stop walking around shows with a pen behind my ear.

Mark my words, you'll be hearing alot about Black Cobra by the end of the year. This was the final show before Rafa and Jason enter the studio to record a new album for their new label, the mighty Southern Lord, with legendary producer Billy Anderson. The kids down front for Black Cobra were the drinkers and beer can tossers and it was cute to see some decent crowd action erupt... and deservedly so.. 'cause, holy fuck, the band's 12-song set was tighter than a bolt rusted onto a nut. I've said before that Rafa and Jason are like a force of nature and it's been cool to be able to watch them develop and evolve as a band... Just when you think you know where they're going with one of their sonic stabbings onstage they veer off into another groove within the blink of an eye and their volume knife is suddenly at your throat; a force of nature (Note: I think the sonic stabbings > volume knife analogy is pretty good... I'm just saying..).

The mighty Acid King are returning to thunder across Europe this Summer, but not before making their first hometown appearance in almost 3 YEARS (!). Although they've toured Europe twice since their last S.F. show, the last time The King graced a stage in San Franfuckincisco was in October 2006 when they supported Boris at Slim's... on Umlaut's birthday no less! Another epic night.

The kids down front for Acid King were the stoners and it was cute to see some decent headbanging and fists in the air erupt... and deservedly so.. 'cause, holy fuck, the band sounded so great. It was beyond good to hear Lori (The Queen of Tone!) laying down her trademark hot asphalt riffs again as Joey and Mark followed with their steamroller rhythm (Note: I think the hot asphalt > steamroller analogy is pretty good... I'm just saying..). The King's set was augmented by a cool video montage projected onto the screen behind them that featured vintage footage of Anton LaVey leading spooky Satanic rituals and Hell's Angels riding around on hot asphalt; it added a whole other dimension to the band's performance. The entire presentation was perfect and I was reminded how much I had missed seeing and hearing The King's volume groove...

According to the Umlaut Archives, I've seen Acid King at least 30x (thirty... times..) over the years and this was one of my favorite performances mainly because it was cool to see fanboys (and girls) singing along with Lori and it was cool that at the end of the set the fanboys (and girls) gave the band a rousing, sweaty cheer as they left the stage. Hopefully Acid King will use a different calendar moving forward and not let 1,000 days go by before they play in their hometown again.

After the sweat settled, I snagged The King's setlist and had Rafa write down Black Cobra's set from memory... just 'cause it's what Music Geeks do:

Maybe look for this gem on Ebay in the near future...

As I said at the beginning, this was an epic night... and it was all the more special because I was surrounded by dear friends; many of them have been coming to Casa de Umlaut for BBQs and potlucks for years (YEARS!). I didn't do a merch audit, but there was some COOL swag for sale between the bands and Alan's art, so I hope The Kidz didn't spend all of their money at the bar. On the way back to the car, some pimpy-faced teenagers called me a fag. If you missed this magical night, perhaps you can experience it for yourself in the near future:

Black Cobra 2009 Tour:
  • July 24th - Blue Lagoon, Santa Cruz, CA
  • July 29th - Thee Parkside, San Franfuckincisco, CA
  • September 19th - Tokyo, Japan
  • September 20th - Loud Festival, Nagoya, Japan
  • September 21st - Osaka, Japan
  • September 22nd - Kyoto, Japan
  • September 23rd - Gifu, Japan
  • September 26th - Yokohama, Japan
  • September 27th - Tokyo, Japan
Acid King European Summer 2009 Tour:
  • July 29th - Hamburg, Germany
  • July 30th - Berlin, Germany
  • July 31st - Dresden, Germany
  • August 1st - Reims, France
  • August 2nd - Geneva, Switzerland
  • August 3rd - Sierre, Switzerland
  • August 4th - Milano, Italy
  • August 5th - Graz, Austria
  • August 6th - Wien, Austria
  • August 7th - Innsbruck, Austria
  • August 8th - Sauzipf Rocks Festival, Kärnten, Austria
Check the bands' websites for venue and show information, dude. Tell the bands Umlaut sent you... and then buy some merch.