Thee Parkside, San Francisco
August 6, 2010
I was in no rush to get to Thee Parkside, so I casually rolled out of Casa de Umlaut at 10:00pm too meet up with Photo Ray and Sensory Abuse. A good size crowd greeted me and I arrived just as the 3rd band was finishing. After chit-chatting on the patio for a bit I went inside to watch Funerot's set.
Unfortunately, just like the Scorpions, Funerot are on their farewell tour after 7-8 years of raging. Their set was basic in an old MDC / 80's Thrash Metal sort of way; lots of energy and technically the band were more impressive than I was expecting. Unfortunately, this was my first and last time seeing the band, so I guess that makes me a poser. Good luck, guys.
Ross Sewage is sort of the mad scientist of the S.F. Bay Area Metal Scene; he has his talons in many projects. Whether it's holding down the bottom end of Ludicra's thunder, to being one of the ring masters of Ghoul's horror theater (which also includes Impaled's guitarist Sean McGrath), to the aural autopsy of Impaled. Each band is unique but all of them share a level of professionalism that always impresses me.
Impaled deliver their G.O.R.E. in the same spirit as Carcass and General Surgery use medical and horror themes to great Metal effect. When it's done right, Umlaut loves bands who create a mythos around themselves and Impaled are that kind of band. This band could easily translate into a gory graphic novel and the storyline would write itself via the band's lyrics. Hmmm... If only I was a comic artist.
Impaled are a seamless live act and they prepared the usually ratty Parkside stage with one of the most elaborate (by DIY standards of course) stage shows I've seen there. If I have a complaint about this venue, it's that the stage lighting consists of only ON and OFF. I mean, how much would it cost to install a DIMMER SWITCH for the stage lights to adjust the ambiance!? I could install a DIMMER SWITCH for them! Anyway, Impaled used the static lighting to their advantage by supplementing the fixed stage lights with a pair of red siren lights flanking the stage. Brilliant! Added to that was a smoke machine, a few strategically placed skulls, and an impressive band logo back drop and, presto, instant Metal ambiance. Thus the scene was set for the bloody machine that is Impaled to engulf my life for the next 45 minutes.
It's easy to get caught up in The Cult of Impaled... From their uniforms, to the fist pumping, to the triggered sound bites, to the scripted but fun song intros; the band's sense of how to draw a crowd into their Metal Moment elevated the night above the usual $10 gig. In the past, Impaled's shows have featured open flames and Ross' fire breathing skills but, alas, that stunt was not part of tonight's show. Then of course there is Impaled's music, which features one of the best virtuoso Bay Area Metal guitar duos this side of Testament; just watching guitarist Jason Kocol warm up before their set was like watching a guitar clinic. The complex guitar fretwork are the band's scalpel to carve their way into the hearts and ears of an audience and some nice crowd action took over the floor during the set. I especially liked the night's version of 'Up The Dose' dedicated to the underage members of the audience (and there were a surprising number of kidz out late on a Friday night) and to their future drug experimentation.
As the last song faded into the ether along with the residuals from the smoke machine, the band methodically left the stage to walk out to Thee Parkside's patio even as the crowd started chanting "One more song!! One more song!" ... but that was it. Bummer. So I said my goodbyes, walked right across the street to the Prius and was home in 10 minutes. A surgically fun and easy night.
"G.O.R.E. is a force that gives us meaning... G.O.R.E. is a force that leaves you screaming."
I didn't do a merch audit, but the Mexican version of the band's The Last Gasp CD (with bonus track and gold foil detailing on the booklet) was only $10. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. A quick, fun night. The End.
Click HERE to see Sensory Abuse's photos and HERE for Photo Ray's shots from the night.