Saturday, November 05, 2011

Work Night

Mastodon / The Dillinger Escape Plan / Red Fang
The Warfield, San Francisco, CA

November 3, 2011

This was one of the most solid bills of the year and basically all killer, no filler for Umlaut. At this point in my life, I'm an old jaded fart and I don't pay attention if others think a band is "Hipster Metal" or whatever; if I like a band I could give two shits about what you think about them... and if being labeled "Hipster Metal" means a band of Mastodon's caliber can go from playing clubs to headlining a theater and make a living being musicians, than what's the problem? Anyway, most of my shows this month have revolved around work, which is fine because it's always good when a show is this easy:

I like Red Fang a lot and they seemed to win over the large venue with their Oregonian brand of bearded Rock. Their 30 minutes of boogie sludge flew by, which was a bummer… but not as big of a bummer as when I found out Red Fang had to sell their shirts for $30 tonight. It’s not the band’s fault for the pricing, but it was a reality check about the downside of playing a major venue. I'm looking forward to when Red Fang comes back through town and can sell their tees for $15.

To be honest, I'm not as enamored with Dillinger Escape Plan since I realized they basically copped their sound from Rorschach. However, they're still one of the best live bands going. Dillinger attack a stage like a serial killer with a hunting knife and it's hypnotic to watch the members fly around the stage, up onto the backline, up onto PA stacks, leaping into the air, leaping into the crowd. I always wonder how Dillinger keeps their stage intensity up over an entire tour; they probably do yoga or something. The crowd's 45 minute stint in the Dillinger kill zone was rewarded with the special appearance of Mike Patton on guest vocals; an "only in San Francisco" moment, right? Dillinger are still one of my don't miss live bands; it still feels like anything can happen during their set... and that "anything" usually ends up with people getting bruised.

Outside of the venue I was surprised to see as many as 6 bootleg vendors selling Mastodon tees. Odd. It’s not like Mastodon are AC/DC and the show was not sold out. I should bring this up with the band’s merch company….. Anyway, Mastodon sounded unbelievably great tonight and kudos to their soundman. There's a lot going on when Mastodon are in full roar and the mix was crystal clear and booming out front. Oddly, Mastodon posted the setlist they're playing on this tour on their website. After watching the start of their set from near the soundboard, I found myself at stage left for a couple of songs... and you know you're at a show in San Francisco when Jello Biafra and Matt Pike are standing next to you.

Stage left Mastodon

However, watching a band from onstage is overrated, so for the last part of their 90 minute set I went back out front. As you can see from the posted setlist 'Blood & Thunder' was the final song of the set as it has been for awhile. It was a solid, solid set and it was good to witness Mastodon finally headlining a big stage because I've been following them for a long time... despite what the haters think.

The show was also a Who's Who of Bay Area Rock with 1/2 of Black Cobra, 1/4 of the Dead Kennedys, 1/5 of Faith No More, 2/3 of High On Fire, 1/3 of Papa Wheelie, and 1/4 of Metallica in the house. However, my biggest Music Geek moment happened as I was walking past a table backstage and recognized a member of the band Gallows… I stopped and said “GALLOWS!” and the guy, Laurent (guitar), looked surprised to be recognized. Long story short, Gallows had the day off in S.F. and were playing the next night; I chatted with Laurent for a good while about his band. Unfortunately, Gallows recently got a new singer which was a buzz kill for me... so I felt kind of bad not seeing their S.F. show the next night... but I just wasn't feeling seeing the band with a new front man. Honesty is my only excuse.. bummer.

Oh, cheers to the guy who walked past me at the downstairs bar and shouted "UMLAUT!!" and shook my hand. I think I know what SLAAAYER feels like now. Thanks, dude!

Anyway, I didn't do a merch audit tonight... although Mastodon had the best merch IMO. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. Pop culture trivia learned during backstage hang tonight: That band guy is dating that porn star.