Monday, April 20, 2015

There's No "I" In Scene

Electric Wizard / Satan's Satyrs
Slim's, San Francisco
April 17, 2015

Electric Wizard have been around for 20 years or so but this is their first U.S. Tour in 12 years.  As a result the hype was in and the beards were out for this show.  Tonight sold out a couple of months ago and I snoozed on a ticket, so a big THANKS to Electric Assault Records for getting me on the list. Hail!  That being said I'm just going to cut to the chase and say the crowd tonight was the worst asshole collection of humanity that I've been around at a show in ages.  The asshole vibe and behavior completely overshadowed the music for me tonight... which was extremely unfortunate.

However, before all the bullshit started, Satan's Satyrs came out and played one of the best support sets I've seen in a long time.  As a counterpoint to the Doom theme they had a classic power trio energy that Umlaut is a sucker for... I guess if I was to use a cliche "blog" analogy they were like if Motörhead and Grand Funk Railroad were conjoined at birth... or something like that.  Good 'ol fashioned foot stompin', beer drinkin', headbangin' music.  Dig it!

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

During the changeover the air was suddenly filled with the pungent smell of burning sage... which in hindsight was funny because sage burning is supposed to cleanse an area or person.. but obviously this Hippie shit doesn't affect Hipster Metal beards who have Sabbath patches on their vests and / or jackets... but more on that in a bit.

Burning Sage 
[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

As the lights went off and Electric Wizard started up their "Satanic" machine the energy of the crowd went from zero to sixty immediately as 'Witchcraft Today' got things started... and the band sounded good... but then the asshole vibe in the crowd took over.  After 3 songs Photo Ray and I decided it would be a grand idea to retire to the back and enjoy the rest of the show with a cold beer in hand.  Wrong...

A Hipster Metal beard called me an asshole for pushing past him.. and then another refused to move to let me past eventhough I was trying to go BEHIND him and I was moving AWAY from the stage.  The unmoving asshole outweighed me by probably 50 pounds and 3 inches in height but I finally just shoved hard and kept moving.  I'm sure if I had hesitated and looked back I would have caught his fist somewhere... which is exactly what happened to Photo Ray on his journey AWAY from the stage.  I did not see Photo Ray again the rest of the night.

[Photo courtesy of Photo Ray]

Long story short... I ended up at the back of Slim's and tried to enjoy the rest of the set but the asshole crowd behavior just started to annoy me more and more as I continued to witness it.  The next day I heard numerous stories from friends about random fights breaking out.. a random elbow being thrown into a girlfriend's face... just random lame behavior.  A drunk hipster Metal kid tried to give another drunk hipster Metal kid a $5 bill for cutting in front of him in the bathroom line... Then all of Electric Wizard's set started sounding samey and I remembered the only Doom you really need is Black Sabbath albums.  Only Sabbath is real.

It was a bummer how there seemed to be zero sense of community in the crowd compared to the usual Bay Area Metal shows.  I sensed this as early as when I was standing in the Will Call line and thought to myself "Who are these people??  I don't know any of them.."  Once the liquor and music started inside it became Lord Of The Flies-style with seemingly most of the Hipster Metal kidz out for themselves.   Also, does anyone else think it's weird that it's bands like Electric Wizard and Pentagram who these self-absorbed posers have embraced?  They seem to think having a Sabbath patch on their jacket / vest is a badge of cool and if you didn't have one you were not worthy.  It reminds this old man of when jocks started showing up at Metal shows in the latter-80's and changed the vibe of shows by using the pit action as an excuse to fuck with people.  Fuck. Off. All of you. Thanks.

I had the opportunity to do a merch audit but didn't.  On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag.  All in all it was a disappointing show but thankfully the following two things made me feel better once I was back inside the warm confines of Casa de Umlaut:

I was glad I ripped the flyer for this upcoming gig off the bathroom wall at Slim's.

I was glad I stopped for my favorite post-show veggie burrito at Taqueria Cancun.

I was also thankful I'd been introduced to Satan's Satyrs because they're my new favorite band this week... However.. there is no "I" in "scene", kidz.