Thee Parkside, San Francisco
April 11, 2010
It was a Sunday night and the amount of rain falling on San Franfuckincisco was Biblical... but I still floated the Prius to Thee Parkside, which is oddly starting to become one of my favorite local venues these days.
I wasn't expecting much from tonight and only wanted to see Orchid, who were first on the bill and due to go on at 8:30pm (Sorry Slough Feg and Bible Of The Devil who were also on the bill..). I was expecting to be back inside the warm and dry confines of Casa de Umlaut early. However, not long after arriving I found myself with a beer in hand chatting to Mark of Orchid, Photo Ray, Scott, and Leah (who Umlaut has known since the Reagan Administration!) and the vibe of the evening became special. Another pleasant surprise was how nicely Thee Parkside filled up early for Orchid's set. It was storming outside, but inside the club it felt cozy. The Scene.
Indeed, Orchid's sound is unashamedly Sabbath but I've realized what sets Orchid apart from most of the other local bands is their veteran musicianship and sense of style (for lack of a better term). Like Umlaut, Orchid grew up and were influenced by a time when real Rock Stars roamed The Earth and when you discovered music by listening to an AM radio late at night in your bedroom. Mark channels every 70's guitar god, Theo channels every 70's front man, Carter channels every 70's Rock drummer, Nickel channels every 70's Rock bassist... and Orchid as a band channels every 70's Arena Rock band. Bad company 'til the day they die.
Perhaps fueled by all the family and friends who were in the house, Orchid seemed to be playing on a special level tonight. They were in a groove from the first song and it was something that Orchid veteran Photo Ray noted as well. At one point, as Mark held a note that teetered on going over the edge into feedback he looked over at the rest of the band, Theo stomped his foot, and Carter and Nickel kicked in with their bottom end stomp... and Mark's Hand of Doom blasted off into a solo that reached back into time. Dude, where's the bong?? The set closing 'No One Makes A Sound' was really, really epic.
Umlaut is an Old Fart and Orchid, along with those other local retro heroes Saviours and Drunk Horse, are the bridge between *my* world and the rest of the local Metal Scene. The 70's Rock shit is in my blood because it's what changed my life in my pre-teen years listening to an AM radio late at night in my bedroom in ancient times. Humble Pie is as much a part of my DNA as Celtic Frost, man. Talking 'bout my ge-ge-generation.
Originally I was going to bail right after Orchid's set but, with the rain falling heavily on the tin roof of Thee Parkside's outside patio, it felt better to get another beer and wait the storm out. So, for the second time in a week, I found myself having an epic hang session on the club's patio shooting the shit with kindred Music Geek spirits. Very cool. Anytime when The Faces AND The Sisters Of Mercy come up in the same conversation it's special to me, man.
Again, apologies to Slough Feg and Bible Of The Devil for blowing them off, but the hang time was too precious. However, at one point when Bible Of The Devil were onstage I noted how they sounded like Thin Lizzy. When I ducked inside to check them out for a minute they launched into a decent cover of Lizzy's 'Hollywood'. Nicely done, guys. Talking 'bout my ge-ge-generation.
If you bought one of every Orchid merch item you would have paid $40 (I think). On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. Rain, rain, rain... and as I'm typing this it's 10:45pm and the sump pump in the crawl space underneath Casa de Umlaut is making a funny noise... am I gonna have to go down there? Uh... yeah I do. Hope I die before I get old... 'til the day I die.