Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Case Of The Mondays

Fucked Up / Trash Talk
The Independent, San Francisco
July 25, 2011

I had forgotten about this show until a couple of days before... and then I discovered that the infamous Trash Talk were also on the bill. DOH!! It was going to be a F-U-N Monday night in The Haight! Prior to the show Photo Ray, Sensory Abuse, and I met up for some pre-show food 'n beers involving Rosamunde and Toronado.

Then we few, we happy few, walked over to The Independent for what turned out to be one of the best shows of the year.

I've seen Trash Talk described as a band with "two black guys and two white guys". They hail from Sacramento and are infamous for shows that escalate into full-scale brawls. This was one of those rare shows where the sense of danger, or at least that feeling that anything could happen, was thick in the air. Evidently Trash Talk are banned from playing Gilman Street; how Punk is that?!! They are also reportedly banned from playing several cities in the U.K. as well. Trash Talk are also one of those bands who seem to confuse mainstream / clueless music publications as I've seen them called "Metal" by some and "Punk" by others... but they obviously have some juice behind them since besides playing sweaty clubs they've also played major festivals overseas this year like Download in the U.K. and Soundwave in Australia.

It's been a long time since I've seen a crowd terrified by a band... but that's what happened tonight when Trash Talk launched into their set and the singer Lee leaped off the stage during the first song for hand-to-hand combat with the audience. As the floor opened up into a pit for the entirety of the set, the tornado of anger and volume created by Trash Talk was infectious and, while kids around me moved away from the stage, I felt compelled to move closer. Trash Talk in full roar are impossible to keep your eyes off of as Lee roamed the entire length of the club (even ending up on top of the bar at the back of the room at one point) while onstage Garrett (guitar) and Spencer (bass) stalked back and forth feeding off the energy happening in front of them and Sam on drums kept the mayhem focused. Watching Trash Talk was like watching a street gang take apart a rival one limb at a time; at one point Lee returned to the stage, only to take a running leap to land amidst a pile of audience members.

(Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse)

For much of this year I've been a Jaded Old Fart, but watching Trash Talk take over The Independent reminded me why I got into this Music Geek business in the first place. Seeing a band display such uncut passionate rage is something most people never witness. Onstage the lads from Sacramento remind me alot of the Gallows who up to this point have been one of my absolute favorite live bands. However, with the recent departure of Gallows singer Frank, the time is ripe for Trash Talk to grab my fandom and chain it to the back of their van and hit the gas pedal. After their set I met back up with Photo Ray, Sensory Abuse, and SF Sludge and basically all we could say to each other was "Holy Fuck..."; it felt like we were standing in the aftermath of a horrific car accident and no one had been wearing a seatbelt. Hail Sacramento!

(Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse)

I've seen Fucked Up described as a band with "the 300 pound singer". As much as I like Fucked Up, I've only managed to see them once before back in February 2009. Fucked Up have evolved into a band that is hard to describe... They started as a Hardcore band but have evolved into almost like a Punk Prog Art Rock thing, with songs that can be downright transcendental. With 3 guitars they create a wall of sound that isn't something brutal that knocks you over, but more like a curtain of volume that lifts your head above the bullshit of the world so you can look down on it and have your eardrums blown out at the same time.

(Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse)

Fucked Up's songs are beautiful in a non-traditional way that's hard to describe; it's like looking at a gorgeous woman who only has one leg and no arms but who has profound things to say. Onstage their sense of melody combined with Damian's large personality and sense of humor makes them infectious. Whereas Trash Talk brought a darkness and uncertainty to the night, Fucked Up brought a more inspirational balance to the show; maybe it's because they're Canadian. However, as he's known for doing, Damian spent a good part of the set in the crowd as members of the packed audience held his mic cord above the fray.

How many bands dedicate a song to people who collect vinyl? Fucked Up does. If the band has a "hit" song it would probably be the anthem 'Crooked Head' that was the highlight of the set. I'd forgotten how inspiring and life affirming a really great Punk show can be. Tonight featured two bands who channel their anger and angst in different ways. Trash Talk brought the darkness and violence. Fucked Up brought something equally as powerful but from a different point of view. This was hands down one of the best shows of the year... Not bad for a Monday night in San Francisco.

(Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse)

I didn't do a merch audit but Fucked Up had 3 tees for sale and unfortunately Trash Talk had none. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. Click HERE to see more of Sensory Abuse's shots from the night.. and click HERE to see Photo Ray's shots of Fucked Up and HERE for his Trash Talk shots.

The next morning (Tuesday) I had one of the shittiest starts to a day in awhile and while I sped to work I cranked Trash Talk... and just when I was starting to be in a better mood I found out that Ludicra, one of my all-time favorite bands and the undisputed headliners of the Bay Area Metal Scene, have called it a day. FUCK... I'm thankful to have seen Ludicra at least 12x over the years... THANKS for the volume inspiration Laurie, John, Christy, Aesop, and Ross. Click HERE for Umlaut's Ludicra memories... FUCK.