Monday, March 25, 2013

New Blood

Landmine Marathon
DNA Lounge Annex, San Francisco
March 21, 2013

Twenty-eight years ago on this date Iron Maiden played San Francisco on the epic Powerslave Tour:

[From the Umlaut Archives]

The support band was Twisted Sister and the Maiden San Francisco crowd booed them.  True story. 'We Ain't Gonna Take It' was no 'Aces High'.

I've spent more time with Landmine Marathon than any other band over the past 20 years, but things have changed since the last time I saw them 9 months ago.  Unfortunately, after 8 years founding member and vocalist Grace Perry decided to leave the van and return to the real world.  Landmine faced the decision about what to do.  Thankfully, the band has kept their momentum going by bringing on Krysta Martinez (also vocalist for Northwest Grind merchants Transient) and this show was part of a brief 7 show West Coast run to tighten the band up before their first visit to Mexico City at the end of March.  Tonight was only the 4th time the new Landmine had shared a live stage together.

I went into the show feeling very weird about seeing Landmine without the lightning rod that was Grace Perry on the mic.  A couple of Landmine shows that I saw over the past 4 years rank as some of my favorite sets ever.  Could the band come close to recapturing that fury?  That was the thought in the back of my mind as I hung out with the guys and met Krysta for the first time.

The new version of Landmine felt *right* minutes into their set.   No, it's not the same band; the previous lineup had an underlying current of chaos onstage that sometimes ended with blood literally on the stage.  It was that chaos that made the band so great and one of my favorites. The current version of Landmine is not that... but that's not a negative. The band have put their head down and are now tighter than ever and Krysta lets the fury of the lyrics written by her predecessor carry her role in the band.  

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

The setlist was a good cross section of 9 songs and they all worked great.  Opening with 'Shadows Fed To Tyrants' into the oldie 'Bile Towers' the set was tight and direct.  Any pre-show doubt that I had about Landmine were quickly erased.  'Morbidity' will always be a special song since it was played for the first time in Oakland last year.  The fury that Landmine has come to represent is still there.  The band is still just enough like their old selves to be familiar but also different enough with Krysta so I'm confident they won't simply try to mimic something that's gone.  New blood is a good thing.  Having the set close with a great version of 'Red Days' was perfect for me. 

If you bought one of every Landmine merch item you would have paid around $180.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  According to the Umlaut Archives this was my 16th Landmine show in 8 cities and 5 states.  New blood is in. Life rolls on.