Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Day Of The Dead

Altamont / Frehley's Vomet
Bender's Bar & Grill, San Francisco
November 2, 2013

YES I'm behind with this blog thing and NO I haven't really been motivated to write recently for some reason.  Anyway, this show was almost 2 weeks ago now but it was a night filled with friends, fun, and music.  It was also the night the annual Dia de los Muertos parade took place in The Mission... so the streets surrounding Bender's were jammed with traffic, pedestrians, and a lot of young drunk non-Brown kidz channeling their inner Hispanic culture.  As I had asked a couple of days before on Halloween, when did Dia de los Muertos turn into another excuse for douchbags to get fucked up?   However, despite having to drive around the hood for almost 30 minutes, I ended up finding a sweet parking space only a block from the bar.

Since Umlaut doesn't hang out in bars anymore, it had been a long while since the last time I was at Bender's.  It's totally the type of bar I would have been hanging out in when I lived in The Mission 20 years ago... so kudos to the staff.   Tonight was the record release party for Altamont, but also a celebration of the works of renowned underground artists Alan Forbes and Junko Mizuno; both of them are represented by the awesome Secret Serpents.  Past gig posters by them and other Secret Serpents artists were hung around the pool table and offered for sale.  It gave the evening a nice art / music vibe, man... just don't put your fucking drink down on top of the prints!  Idiot..

Evidently the first band on tonight, whose name I don't remember, were from Australia... Either they were from Australia or 1996 because that's what they reminded me of... I made that observation as I had a nice conversation with a cold beer and friends.  Anyway, next up was the live debut of a brazenly hearfelt Ace Frehley tribute band Frehley's Vomet.   The band's lineup might include a guy who may or may not be in Acid King... and another guy who may or may not be in Drunk Horse... and another guy who may or may not be English.

Aces High
[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

Umlaut has been outspoken about how much I usually loath cover bands, but Frehley's Vomet are a rare exception as their set of Ace "classics" flowed off the stage like so much spilled alcohol.  Ten songs that included such standard space classics as 'Shock Me', 'Parasite', and 'New York Groove'... but spiced up with deeper space cuts like 'Rip It Out', 'Speedin' Back To My Baby' and 'Snow Blind'.   The set was capped off with a blazing rendition of 'Cold Gin' featuring brother Dale Crover on 3rd Gibson.  When you’re down in the dumps and you need something to bring you up.. There’s only one thing that’s going to do it the way you want it... What's that?  

Dale Crover with Space Aces
 [Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse]

Vomet is the only thing that keeps us together.  I have a feeling that Ace on lead vocals is still wearing his makeup... but he needs to be educated that there is no 42nd Street in San Francisco.

Headlining tonight was a rare appearance by Altamont, aka the side project featuring Dale Crover of the Melvins with his cohorts Toshi Kasai, Joey Osbourne (Acid King), and Dan Southwick (formerly of Acid King).  It seems like the Melvins are constantly touring and releasing records, so the band's one-off show tonight was special.  Many years ago, Umlaut witnessed the very first Altamont show and according to the Umlaut Archives this would be my 6th time seeing them. It would also be the first time I would be in the same room with Altamont since 1999?!  WTF... Crazy how time flies, man.

As I mentioned earlier, tonight was Altamont's record release show for their beautiful new 7" on Valley King / Secret Serpents.  It features a new song 'Mrs. Creech' b/w the appropriate and long overdue cover of Blue Öyster Cult's 'Transmaniacon MC' (cue the Altamont reference in the lyrics).  The set featured an 11-song cross section from the band's rocking 4 or 5 releases.  There were a couple or three Melvins fanboys in the audience, but I was surprised there weren't more of the Melvins Army in the house.  I'm not complaining... just an observation... because it was a damn fine set of Classic Rock.

[Photo courtesy of Sensory Abuse]

Eerie Trivia:  Evidently Jeff Buckley was wearing an Altamont shirt when he drowned in 1997... at least that was the story I heard back in The Day.

I didn't do an Altamont merch audit because I was too busy socializing... but I did score #36 / 50 of the white vinyl version of their new 7" (Thanks Justin!) and the band signed my scarce 2010 Altamont band poster.   On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  All in all a fun night out on the town and I actually stayed until last call.  Hope I die before I get old.