Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Mouths Of Madness

Orchid / Glitter Wizard / Hell Fire
DNA Lounge, San Francisco
March 8, 2013

It was a cold and very windy night in San Francisco.. which of course was the perfect weather for this show.  Tonight's event was in the newish upstairs annex of the DNA, which I didn't even know about until a week ago.  With a capacity around half of the DNA's downstairs main room, the annex makes for a decent small venue for S.F..  My only complaint is they need a better sound system, but at least there are 2 exits because the space has that Great White Fire Trap feel when it's full of humans... and Umlaut ain't going out like that. 

The room was packed as Umlaut's favorite local Thrash kidz Hell Fire summoned the spirits of Old Metal.  I like these guys because they remind me of how I (we) were back in the original Bay Area Metal Days; they're genuine and not posers.  I admire how the Hell Fire guys live with Metal in their young hearts in that same unabashed way that I did in my Salad Days.  Stay tuned for their debut album as they are worthy torch bearers for the legacy of Murder In The Front Row.

I was dubious about Glitter Wizard given their hipster ironic sounding name and the singer's ironic looking white leather vest sans shirt look.  I was planning to watch a song or two before taking advantage of the in-and-out policy to get fresh air and a beer off site... but then I saw the saxophone Glitter Wizard had onstage and I was gone.  I was not in the mood to watch a band use a fucking saxophone in the name of Metal tonight.  Yes, the Stooges used saxophone during their Funhouse era, but they were the Stooges. Later, a couple of people told me the band wasn't "that bad".. so there you go.

As we made or way to a nearby bar a block away and then back again,  I couldn't help but notice the unusually large amount of vomit on the streets of San Francisco tonight... and it wasn't even that late yet.  Amateur night South of Market??  It was like a goddamn vomitorium; those damn hipsters mixing PBR and food trucks.  Anyway...

It had been 13 months since Orchid's last San Francisco show and it was obvious word has gotten around about them because the show was sold out with a good number turned away at the door.  The guys opened with their stunningly great new song 'Mouths Of Madness' and it was 1 of 4 new songs that Orchid played from their upcoming new album (out in April on Nuclear Blast).   Unfortunately, the subpar sound system of the DNA Annex didn't help Orchid, but their dark volume alchemy still managed to transcend the mortal restrictions they were working under.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

In the time since they last played on home soil the band has toured Europe twice and honed their craft to a titanic sharpness.  Yes, they still channel Sabbath '71 (what Doom band doesn't on some level?) but they continue to put the Orchid stamp on *that* sound.  The 11 songs of tonight's volume ritual was a nice reintroduction of the band to the local crowd, many of whom I'm sure had not seen them before judging from the strong "OMG!!  They're playing this song!" reaction to older songs like 'Eastern Woman' and 'He Who Walks Alone'.  With the release of their fantastic new album on the horizon (Yes, Umlaut has heard it... and it's spectacular.) and a 24 date European Tour in April and May (including a show supporting King Diamond in Germany) Orchid are primed to be the next big band out of The Bay Area.  Hear me now and believe me later.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

I have to take a moment and say how great the vibe was inside the venue tonight.  There were ALOT of friends in the crowded space and it really felt like "a scene" with all of that communal energy.  Hopefully this will continue since that kind of energy is a hit and miss commodity here in the fractured 21st Century.  Kudos to the Metal brother in the wheel chair who stayed up front for most of the show before navigating back to the bar during the chaotic Orchid set.

Number of Acid King shirts = 2 (including mine).  If you had bought one of every Orchid merch item you would have paid $250.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  Before leaving I was able to have an Orchid vinyl moment:

The Vinyl Countdown with Guitar God Mark Thomas Baker
[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]