Saturday, July 31, 2010

Locals Rule

Soilwork / Death Angel
Slim's, San Francisco
July 30, 2010

All in all it was a pretty good week, man. To celebrate, prior to the show Photo Ray, Sensory Abuse, and I convened for beers at Bloodhound on Folsom to catch up on shit. Then it was a quick walk over to Slim's for the latest installment of That Metal Show. FYI: In Umlaut's version of That Metal Show, Dee Snider isn't the fucking be-all-end-all spokesman for Metal... and Ratt SUCKED back in The Day and Ratt SUCKS now. Anyway...

I'll be honest: It's been tough for me to be a Death Angel fan recently. The band's 2008 homecoming show at Slim's was a triumphant night and a very special show... but a year later 2/5 of the band's lineup was different and the blood / family bond that made Death Angel special in the first place was gone for the most part. For the newbies: It was always profoundly cool that originally Death Angel were all related; Metal Blood Brothers in the literal sense. It seemed like they were becoming just "a band" and I feared they had basically become The Bay Area's version of Anthrax: A Metal band trying too hard to be something or hold onto something that they weren't anymore. Sorry, just being honest. However, as much as I almost didn't want to like Death Angel anymore part of me still couldn't write them off completely. Despite my doubts about the band, when this show was announced part of me still wanted to check them out. However, I didn't make any kind of effort about the show until less than a week out. THANKS to The Talent for sorting my +1!

The lesson for tonight: NEVER DOUBT THE LOCALS.

As soon as I got the tickets from Will Call we could hear instrumental music starting to play inside Slim's and we recognized it as Death Angel's intro tape. Talk about surgical timing! Amazingly, Slim's door security was practically non-existent tonight and I got inside almost immediately... and WOW.. The space was PACKED as Death Angel took the stage with 'Lord Of Hate' and we pushed and maneuvered our way towards the front.

Although I'd seen the new lineup a year or so ago, it was still weird to see White dudes onstage in Death Angel.. but you know what? They totally fit in now. Will (drums) and Damien (bass) have a similar fire onstage as their predecessors and don't act as simply the new hired guns holding down the rhythm section. Collectively the band is beyond solid onstage, and that's all that matters.

Death Angel were alloted a solid 45 minutes and they made the most of it, with the hometown crowd going off the entire time with at least 2 beers being thrown during the mayhem. 'Seemingly Endless Time' was my favorite song of the set, especially when the mid-song groove kicked in and the crowd action got even more frenzied. However, 'Kill As One' remains one of those iconic live Bay Area Metal moments... From when Rob steps to the front of the stage and starts the opening riff ... To the crowd action exploding as the song kicks off... To the communal chant of the chorus ("Kill... As... One!"). MAGIC. As the smoke and dust settled, the band closed with a new song from their upcoming album that's out in September... and then they left the stage to spend some quality time with their friends and families backstage since they were only home for the night. Awesome.

It was so cool to have Slim's packed and the crowd going off for the band eventhough they were the support act. Support The Locals, man. To be honest, I was somewhat offended that Soilwork didn't have Death Angel headline in San Francisco since it was their home stage (and they've headlined Slim's many times in the past). Where's the respect?! Fuck Sweden. No worries though... Death Angel wiped the stage with the Swedes and had Slim's in the palm of their hand. I was wrapped in a blanket of hometown Bay Area pride for the entire set.


Soilwork are from Sweden. Soilwork have a keyboardist. Longtime readers know that a Metal band with a dedicated keyboardist onstage is something I like about as much as being poked with a sharp stick while trying to talk on the phone. For the newbies who don't *get* sarcasm: I don't like it. I was going to stick around for some of their set but it was either that or, since I hadn't eaten dinner before the show, go find food. I think you know what won out, especially after Death Angel's set: Fuck Sweden. Evidently, I wasn't the only local who felt that way because I later heard that Slim's was substantially less crowded for the headliners.

We bailed for The Mission and ended up at the always reliable Taqueria Cancun... where we ran into Justin and Alan of the mighty Secret Serpents and got the skinny on what's going on in their Lock 'N Loll Poster World. Perfect.

I didn't do a merch audit, but the Death Angel table was crowded after their set. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. Awhile back I put a bunch of old t-shirts up in the attic in a giant Tupperware bin... I think it's time I climbed up there and retrieved my old Death Angel shirt.