Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Arch Enemy / Exodus
The Regency, San Francisco
February 8, 2010

It was another rainy day and night in San Franfuckincisco and we arrived at the venue after Arsis had already left the stage; judging from Photo Ray's comments we didn't miss anything, which is fine by me. Thankfully there was absolutely no Will Call drama for me tonight and I also had a photo pass eventhough I didn't request one (Thanks Steve!). It was kind of weird that Arch Enemy's passes were simply printed on MACtac paper labels instead of being the standard Lock 'N Loll cloth sticky pass. Paper or Cloth? Discuss amongst yourselves.

However, I didn't have a camera with me but I could have used my iPhone camera, right? The *real* photographers would have thought that was cool, right? Instead I went and got a beer.

It's very strange for Umlaut to see Exodus live... I have a history with Exodus that dates back to when we were all pimply-faced kidz. Original vocalist Paul Baloff was a friend and I saw the band twice when Kirk Hammett was in the band prior to him jumping to Metallica. To make a long story short, click HERE for a visual history of those times. Yes, Umlaut took every one of those pictures.

Exodus hit the stage just after 9:00pm with 'Bonded By Blood' and I got super nostalgic. I was at the show at Ruthie's Inn that inspired that song millions of years ago... and I honestly got a weird feeling that the ghosts of my dead Old Metal friends were standing with me. So, a shout out to Baloff, Sam, Rich, Mike, and Cliff... R.I.P. bruthas.

It's true that Exodus is only 2/5 of the original lineup here in the 21st Century, but guitarist Lee Altus was there back in the old Bay Area Metal Dayz. However, I have to admit it bothered me that Rob Dukes was wearing a sports jersey that wasn't the Oakland Raiders.. Now, I understand he's from Noo Yawk but he's in Exodus: East Bay O.G.! It bothered me more that no one called him on it either... and the crowd action for the band was way more tepid than I was expecting, something which Dukes mentioned several times. I think a Raiders jersey instead of a Noo Yawk Rangers jersey would have helped... just saying. Remember when Exodus filmed the 'Toxic Waltz' video at The Fillmore and it was crazy? Me too:

As a special hometown treat, Exodus brought out Zetro to sing 'Toxic Waltz'... which was a nice touch to the evening. The set ended with another song from my bruising teenage Metal Dayz: 'Strike Of The Beast'. Unfortunately it featured Dukes directing the crowd to perform a wall of death (yawn....). Yeah I'm an old fart but, back in The Day, Baloff NEVER had to tell a crowd what to do... we KNEW what needed to be done. Kill or be killed for Metal. Kidz these days.... However, here in the 21st Century, it's reassuring to see an old Metal brother like Gary Holt is still fighting the fight he believes to be right... crushing with all his might... he laughs at their pitiful cries.. and they run from the fire in his eyes. Gary can still give a lesson in violence.

In between bands a drunk dude in a Pantera shirt walked up to us about *something*... Kudos to him for getting hammered at a show on a Monday night, but there's always a dude in a Pantera shirt trying to start something.

Mercyful Fate was played over the PA right before Arch Enemy came onstage... Nice. Then the lights dimmed and the smoke machines started to chug and, with Valentines Day less than a week away, it was sweet to have Metal's Best Couple and their band take the stage in S.F. again.. Awww. Anyway, holy fuck, Arch Enemy completely stormed the stage with a one-two punch of 'The Immortal' > 'Revolution Begins'. Yes, Arch Enemy is considered "Mall Metal" by many... but it's a good thing I don't care what other people think. When Arch Enemy are *on*, like they were tonight, they rank up there with some of my favorite live bands.

The rhythm section of Sharlee (bass) and Daniel (drums) is machine-like but sometimes they're almost too machine-like... which makes the cool dynamic of the Amott brothers on guitar that much more compelling. I'm a big fan of the brothers because their styles are based on Classic Metal from my generation: Christopher channels Yngwie and Michael channels Schenker... and together they're Umlaut's favorite guitar duo going. Then, of course, guiding the reins of this Metal chariot of fire is Angela, who commands the stage more confidently than most dudes.

Pic courtesy of Photo Ray

The crowd action during Arch Enemy wasn't bad by Mall Metal standards... but it was funny how it was mainly young Hispanic kidz who were raging. During the drum solo, I ducked out to use the can and a kid on a stretcher was rushed past me by the medical staff. Man down! Metal...

A fun evening.. It's great that Arch Enemy chose Exodus as tourmates since it just reinforces the idea of Metal being a musical genre that still organically perpetuates itself; it's something that's not forced. The old bands inspiring and motivating the new ones... while the new bands can do the same for the old bands.. It's a European way of packaging a tour and it's cool that the concept is working with these bands. HAIL.

Carcass shirts = only 2 (!).. If you bought one of every Arch Enemy merch item you would have paid $245. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. As I was leaving the venue I ran into Gary Holt, who gave me an old school hug; somewhere Baloff's ghost was smiling.

Bonded by Blood.