Saturday, April 10, 2010

Two Nights

Light This City / The Funeral Pyre / Early Graves
Thee Parkside, San Francisco
April 8, 2010

I had met The Funeral Pyre at SXSW last month and it's always cool to reconnect with people who you meet while on tour... You meet some really amazing people on The Road. It was a nice touch that the Will Call guy knew who I was and already looking for my name on the list before I even said anything. Thanks, dude! The Scene.

During Early Graves set I thought to myself "I went to a Metal show... and I'm watching a Punk show." They're not really my thing... you silly Metalcore kidz... but the girlz in the crowd were sporting some very stylish handbags and purses. The Funeral Pyre wanted the stage lights to be dimmed, but that's not how Thee Parkside rolls and it was either lights on or lights off; they chose the latter. They opened with 3 new substance abuse-fueled songs that worked well in the darkness. Judging by her reaction, the girl standing next to me with the denim vest and Mayhem back patch agreed. However, she was NOT sporting a very stylish handbag or purse.

I didn't watch any of Light This City. Sorry kidz... I heard this was your final tour. Bummer. After The Pyre's set Photo Ray and I spent the next, like, 2 hours hanging out with John Funeral Pyre shooting the shit over beerz and geeking out about the songwriting of Morrissey. An epic hang session, my brothers! On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. Back at Casa de Umlaut I had a bowl of cereal.

Fear Factory / Amon Amarth
The Regency, San Francisco
April 9, 2010

The scheduling of this show was total bullshit, man. The show STARTED at 7:00pm... and since one of the opening bands didn't make it all the sets were pushed up as well. As a result, Amon Amarth (the only band I cared about..) were due to go on at 8:00pm, so all I had time to do after getting home from work was feed the animals and jump back into the Prius to battle rush hour traffic. Odin give me strength.

I'm happy to report that The Regency still has the most ridiculously thorough ass patting security check in The Bay Area outside of The Hall Of Justice or County Jail; luckily I hid all of my concert contraband up my ass. At Will Call my +1 was in place but my planned date couldn't make it due to the early set times. I asked the kid behind me in line if he had a ticket and he gave me a "WTF" look and said "No.." so I told the Will Call guy that the kid was my +1. The kid looked shocked and the Will Call guy had a look that said "That's the coolest thing I've seen all day.." Dudes, THAT'S what METAL is all about; Umlaut was just paying The Metal forward.

It's been 2 years since the Vikings last landed their long boats on the shores of San Franfuckincisco. This was only the 2nd show on the band's U.S. Tour and for the first couple of shows bassist Ted Lundström was at home in Valhalla due to the birth of a new member to his clan. As he has in the past, Steve Drennan was on the 4-string for the Swedes... However, Steve is English and considering how the Vikings treated Britain back in The Day I'm sure The Queen isn't happy about that.

I totally dig Amon Amarth's brand of Viking Metal since it's firmly grounded in Old European Metal, with actual guitar solos grounded in solid harmonies... and NO KEYBOARDS! HAIL. At one point a friend said Amon Amarth were sounding repetitive... Dude! That's the point! Repetitive Viking Metal = Viking rowing. It's music for pushing your long boats forward and for storming onto Christian shores to rape and pillage and pillage and rape. The music is also for synchronized hair swinging. The highlight of the set for Umlaut was 'Death In Fire'... "FIRE!!".. Odin be praised... but the kidz really went off during 'Guardians Of Asgaard". Trivia: When Umlaut was 18 I worked as a clerk at a liquor store chain called Asgard; one of the managers would score us booze AND we'd get an employee discount. HAIL.

Sidebar Rant: Seriously, Dethklok are basically an Amon Amarth cover band. I hope Brendon Small is paying Amon Amarth some kind of licensing fee for copping their sound for his animated entertainment empire.

It warmed my heart when Johann Hegg commented how it was nice to be playing in "The Home of American Metal"; a nice reality check about how the rest of the world views the San Franfuckincisco Bay Area. However, to the kid who was waving a NORWEGIAN flag early in the set: Uhhh... Amon Amarth are SWEDISH, dude... I know their flags look the same, but they are two different countries... really... they are... Public Schools Rule!

For the newbies: NORWAY on the left.. SWEDEN on the right. Tonight was a one-off show with Fear Factory headlining. I've never been a Fear Factory fan, but this was the last time I saw them:

The debut version of OzzFest in 1996 when it only played in Phoenix and San Bernardino. Unfortunately, my favorite memories of that day don't include Fear Factory. Trivia: I was on tour with Neurosis and San Bernardino was Sepultura's final U.S. show with the original lineup; Umlaut watched them from onstage and it was amazing. Biohazard were also on the bill and a porn movie was shot on their tour bus; I have a pic "somewhere" of Ron Jeremy walking past Neurosis' bus. Also, Sharon Osbourne gave Scott Kelly of Neurosis an armful of free OzzFest shirts (Sharon was courting Neurosis to sign with her record label at the time).

Fear Factory... Yes, the legend Gene Hoglan of Dethklok was on drums, but after a couple of songs my brain was telling me FOOD would be better for me than blast beats... and I kept having flashbacks to this day at work a couple of years ago:

Out on the sidewalk I almost ran into Johan Hegg... I shook his hand and he gave me a big Viking smile and said "Thanks!"... He had obviously gone back to the band's bus to change since he was wearing a nice button down shirt instead of the sweaty sleeveless black tee he'd had onstage. Viking GQ!

Kudos to the drunk kid who stumbled up to us in between bands and announced that it was his 23rd birthday and who slurred how happy he was that we were all there to celebrate with him... and that he couldn't find his friends. Kid, the ONLY friend you need is METAL. Remember that... always.

The merch line for Amon Amarth was insane after their set. Note to their merch company: I wish I had an Amon Amarth horn to drink my beer out of... If you bought one of every Amon Amarth merch item you would have paid $295. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. Odin would have approved of the post-Viking Metal food session at Rosamunde in The Mission. HAIL.