Monday, August 16, 2010

The Boys Are Back In Town

Black Cobra / Howl / Lions Of Tsavo
Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco
August 15, 2010

The Road Warriors finally returned home. It's hard to believe Black Cobra have been on tour for most of the past 11 months. In that time, Jason and Rafa have laid waste to Japan, Australia, the U.S. (3x I think), and Europe (including Poland and Hungary I think). Grueling, man. This was my 4th Black Cobra performance since they started this tour / album cycle and it's interesting how all of the touring has affected them. For instance, after 11 months on The Road, Rafa had turned into Cat Stevens...

Joey Acid King > Rafa Black Cat Cobra Stevens > Umlaut

Lions Of Tsavo (Austin, TX):

I knew absolutely nothing about Lions Of Tsavo except that they had been on the last 5 shows of this tour. They had a different vibe compared to other bands I've seen playing in the 3rd slot at shows recently; their songs were solid and they delivered solid. The drummer played with more of a swing rather than simply bashing away... and the guitarist played solos in songs that were not bad at all. The band just seemed like they had more going on than most unknown bands that I've seen recently. After their set I chatted with the bassist and got info about the band; they recently recorded with Umlaut Nation friend Billy Anderson. Hmmm... Yes, I bought their CD too. Footnote: While looking up some info on Lions Of Tsavo I found out they had opened one of the showcases I attended at this year's SXSW in their hometown of Austin. DOH! Sorry I missed you guys back then...

Howl (Providence, RI):

Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse

I had heard positive things about Howl from friends who live east of The Rockies, so I paid attention as they took the stage. As Howl started their set I kept trying to figure out the origin of the bass player's weird guitar because it looked like it had been made in wood shop class by a Stoner. I don't mean that in a negative way, but it's just a very odd looking instrument, dude. Anyway, Howl were the most "Metal" band on the bill tonight and they lit up Sunday night pretty nicely. The main guy plays a Dean Flying-V so you know their goal is to be Metal... and they do a good job of it. Yes, they have a female guitarist but that's not even relevant, man. A good guitarist is a good guitarist. Footnote: While looking up some info on Howl I found out they played a showcase at this year's SXSW the day after I left Austin. DOH! Sorry I missed you guys back then...

Black Cobra (San Francisco):

Photo courtesy of Photo Ray

According to the Umlaut Archives this was the 9th different Bay Area venue that I've seen Black Cobra destroy over the past 4 years. I've ranted about Black Cobra so much in this space that it’s pretty much crossed over into bromance, but what can I say. Black Cobra live are as close to a force of nature as you'll ever experience via a band. It’s been nice watching the lads grow up over the past several years into the fine upstanding men of Rock that they became with the Chronomega album. Umlaut doesn’t have kids, but Black Cobra are sort of like the offspring I never had… They’ve done all the right things to make me proud without even asking… and then they take the family car out and wreck it in the loudest possible way… but they always buy me a beer afterwards. Anyway, dudes, let's hang out soon now that you're home. For the record, Black Cobra closed out their U.S. Tour with this setlist:
  • Five Daggers
  • Kay Dur Twenty
  • Red Tide
  • Machine
  • Lightning In His Hand
  • Omniscient
  • Sapphire Falcon
  • Chronosphere
  • Negative Reversal
  • Below the Cusp
  • Glacies En Spiritu
  • Storm Shadow
It was cool they opened with an old song like 'Five Daggers'... and for those keeping score: 6 songs off Chronomega, 4 from Feathers And Stone, and 2 from Bestial. The End.

I didn't do a merch audit because I was too busy talking to people and forgot. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. When I got back to Casa de Umlaut I discovered I was almost out of milk for cereal... almost.