Monday, December 31, 2012

Year End

(the) Melvins / Pins Of Light
Great American Music Hall, San Francisco
December 29, 2012 

Parking around the Great American can be a pain in the ass these days.  However, the evening got off to a nice start when I spotted a lone parking space just around the corner from the venue.  Unfortunately the space was on a one way alley and I was at the wrong end of it... but I seized the moment and drove the wrong way down the alley, flipped a y-turn, and got the space.  That's how you drive if you wanna survive in The Big City, motherfuckers..

This was best show to end Umlaut's 2012. At this point a Melvins show in San Francisco is as much a reunion as a concert for Umlaut. Old friends who I never see anymore always come out of the woodwork for the night and that old school vibe is always thick in the air for me. Tonight was no exception as I was able to catch up with several friends who I hadn't seen since the last Melvins show I attended.  Very good times and the show hadn't even started yet.

Pins Of Light have become one of my favorite local live bands this year. Their Punk stylings combined with a very subtle Classic Rock bedrock works perfectly with their blazingly charismatic onstage personality. It was cool seeing them win over a Melvins crowd that was unfamiliar with them... 45 minutes well spent.  It was equally cool seeing all of the Melvins guys watching at least some of their set from stage left as well.  Check. Them. Out.   

According to the Umlaut Archives this was at least my 36th Melvins show. There was a time between 1992-99 when I thought the Melvins were the greatest band, like, ever.  Fast forward to the 21st Century and I'm starting to think that way again here at the end of 2012.  At this point the Melvins basically do whatever the fuck they want, tour in whatever configuration (Melvins / Big Business combo or Melvins Lite) they fucking want, and release whatever the fuck they want.  The recent explosion of Melvins crazy cool vinyl releases via Amphetamine Reptile puts Jack White and Third Man Records to shame.  Anyway, right around 10:30pm I followed the Melvins up the backstage stairs to the stage:

Unlike the Melvins Lite tour earlier this year (which Umlaut unfortunately missed) tonight featured the now classic Melvins / Big Business lineup that has revived and renewed the band's juggernaut in a way I never would have thought possible. There was a time back in the 20th Century when the thought of the Melvins with TWO drummers seemed like a very bad joke... but this configuration still totally and completely works.

Tonight's set was a surgical 75 minutes that featured a nice slice across most of the Melvins world.  Seeing the old brain damage hammers 'Hag Me' and also 'Hung Bunny' / 'Roman Dog Bird' from Lysol (!) performed again was great but it's now awesome to witness the absolutely epic 'Civilized Worm' unfold onstage and watch the crowd unfold with it.  Epic.  Absolutely epic.  Also, the cadence call-and-response of 'The Water Glass' is now a performance wonder to behold as well.  "We are ready!"   At one point Buzz broke a string mid-song (during 'The Bit') and after his tech switched him out his wounded weapon lay next to me. 

It looks so peaceful laying there, right?  Shhhh...

The Great American was pretty much at capacity for the headliners and I could feel the heat from the collected humans from where I stood every now and then.  I watched the set from stage left and it was nice to see that the front rows were mainly younger fans who are probably not much different than I was 20 years ago as a Melvins fanatic.  It's hard to fathom that the Melvins will be celebrating their 30th Anniversary next year.  On the flip side, it's inspiring to see that their crowd isn't just old fart Music Geeks like me but rather a healthy mix of aging Music Geeks as well as the younger generations of Melvins aficionados.  "We are ready, ready, ready!"  As I told Buzz and Dale afterwards:  They're still awesome even after all this time... and I was not blowing smoke up their ass.  Melvins Rule O.K..

Rock Star sightings = Mike Patton.  The next time I see the Melvins won't be until next May at Maryland Deathfest 2013... or as Buzz called it "some Metal Fest".  Should be epic.  I completely spaced because of the socializing and didn't do a merch audit... but the Melvins were offering the limited edition red / white swirl 12" split with Redd Kross.  I thought was only going to be available at the New Year's Eve show the two were playing together in L.A..  Of course a copy went home with me.  The Geeks shall inherit the Earth.

On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  Oh, in the backstage hallway the Great American has a small tribute to the legendary epic Amebix show that the venue hosted in 2009!

Pretty cool, right?!  No gods, No masters.  Melvins. This was Umlaut's 47th and final gig of 2012..  It was a good year for me (dog bless) and this show was the perfect volume finale.  See y'all next year!