Sunday, October 04, 2009

Make It Real Not Fantasy

Dethklok / Mastodon
Roseland, Portland, Oregon
October 2, 2009

Around 17 hours after returning from Umlaut's 800 Miles To Hell And Back trek, I found myself boarding another plane... this one bound for Drug Store Cowboy Town. My mission to the Northwest is confidential in nature, but ironically it coincided with some substantial METAL activity. The Rock Godz work in mysterious ways. Unfortunately, due to a dinner engagement, I arrived at the venue too late to see High On Fire... which was a bummer.. but it was cool to be able to attend the first night of this much anticipated tour.

Mastodon: This was the 3rd time I've seen Mastodon on their Crack The Skye Tour and they once again performed that album in its entirety. As at their show back in April, the set was augmented by an impressive video presentation on a huge LED screen behind the stage. I can only imagine how the band stays motivated playing their entire new album every night, but it was a great performance to kick off the tour. However, it was interesting how the band's performance kicked up a notch when they played older material following the new album.. It was almost like playing the old songs was the payoff for the band after what might be "the grind" of playing the same set at every show for the past 6-7 months... but that's what great bands do.. they suck it up and do their best... and Mastodon are a great band.


Umlaut has never been issued a VIP pass that gave him access to absolutely nothing, not even a bullshit roped off bar area. When I first attempted to use the VIP pass, the pimply-faced security guard denied me with some standard security mumbo jumbo... and since I'm not a dick I didn't push it. However, since I was bored during the set up time between Mastodon and Dethklok I tried again, but this time I asked to speak to the pimply-faced security guard's supervisor. It turns out the kid was right: He and his boss consulted the xeroxed pass definition list and, indeed, it basically said that a VIP pass granted no access to anywhere. Wow... sorry, dude.. my bad... but WTF... why even issue a pass if it will grant the user absolutely nothing? Many trees died to print those passes. Discuss amongst yourselves. Lock 'N Loll.


Dethklok: Now, Umlaut loves the show Metalocalypse... but this "concert" struck me as what I imagine Star Wars In Concert might be like... I just couldn't get past how inauthentic Dethklok in concert felt to my Old Metal Soul. Of course, I don't doubt that the creators of the show and the musicians involved are Metal fans... and the show's humor and sensibilities definitely ring true to this Metal fan... but I can't buy into the human version of the cartoon band... mainly because I'm from the generation that had t.v. bands like The Banana Splits, Josie & The Pussycats, and The Partridge Family who were basically the same type of "band" as Dethklok. Granted, Dethklok are far more brutal (and funny) than these predecessors, but it's the same type of product, only one that was created here in the 21st Century.

The "real" band performed in the glare of the huge LED screen that projected video featuring the "cartoon" band and it was too much like watching television for me.. The sold out crowd of kidz ate it up, but I walked out of the venue after around 45 minutes after they performed 'The Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle'.. which is the quintessential Dethklok song IMO.

Not to go off on too much of a rant, but I'll still watch the show... buy the DVDs... but supporting Dethklok as a band? My Old Metal Soul won't allow me to go that far... I will support Dethklok in the same way I supported The Partridge Family as a band when I was a kid. Yes, the musicianship of "the band" is decent (with credibility added by Gene Hoglan on drums).. but when there are up-and-coming real world, real deal Metal bands like Landmine Marathon bleeding for Metal in the trenches without the hype and Marketing of a major television network behind them, I have to say that my time is best spent slicing my palm and blood bonding with the real bands.

Mastodon were selling the tour shirt from the first leg of their U.S. Tour back in April for $10 less than the new tour shirt. On the way back to the hotel, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. As I was typing this that old Scorpions song popped into my head: "Make it real, not fantasy.." Prepare for ultimate flavor.

The Worthless VIP Pass
(color removed to make it harder for sneaky fucks to counterfeit)

Coming Soon: Umlaut's No Sleep 'Til Vegas Tour Report..