Posts Tagged ‘Intense’


January 8, 2010 Leave a comment

Ladies and gentlemen… fresh from the honeymoon island of Jeju, South Korea… I present to you… RAPE HONEY!

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Mastodon/Converge @ the Patriot Center 10/31/09

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment


Heavy metal and Halloween are kindred.  This was apparent to me before, but experiencing one during the other is one of those beautiful cosmic matches – like chocolate and peanut butter, or whiskey and cold weather.

Rewind three months.  I’m sitting in my snug apartment in Ulsan, South Korea, trolling the internet for good concerts to see upon my return stateside, and I notice that Mastodon – absolutely one of my favorite acts of any genre – is playing a Halloween show at George Mason University’s gym.  Score!

And so now there I am, hauling back Budweiser in the parking lot, freaking out that I’m about to see one of the most talented outfits in music today.  While toiling under the watchful eye of my parents is no vacation compared to my Korean freedom, moments like those make all that compromised liberty wholly worth it.  They are the beautiful excesses of youth that I feel just have to be experienced on home turf.  Revelry beneath the orange glow of the parking lights.

The show itself was a smashing success on so many fronts.  We all arrived in perfect time, and with the perfect amount of substance under our belts.  After all, this is not a Phish show, so the arsenal has to be adjusted to a certain extent.  The first surprise of the night was in surveying the venue.  Not too long after arriving, it occurred to me that I had actually returned to the location of my very first concert – Kid Rock.  The joint is not drastically different than any other college basketball gym, but of course it just seemed so much more cavernous when I was in 8th grade.  It was pleasant to realize this.  One of the few affirmations of aging that’s not totally depressing.

Converge, a Salem, Mass punk-math-metal outfit, played before the headliner, and ended up being the big shock of the night for me.  These guys are masterful – gifted musicians and confident showmen all of them.  There most obvious negative are the vocals, which absolutely nobody could decipher beyond primal grunt-howls.  But, surprisingly, that didn’t matter to me at all.  In fact, I found myself challenging every view I had developed about metal while watching Converge.  One of the things you forget when you go long stretches without live metal, is that some of these bands – the real pros and boundary-pushers – are made of absolutely top-notch musicians.  Converge are most definitely one of these bands.  That they can create fierce, blitzkrieg tunes that still have you humming a melody afterwards is significant.  Look, I’m listening to one guy singing and playing piano as I write this.  I’m far from a metal-head.  But I’m telling you that this band, with all their passion and professionalism, won me over in a big way.

I came that night to see Mastodon, but I won’t lie, as I was waiting for their set to start, I kept feeling as if they might be, well, kind of a downer after their opener.  Converge are a band that have it glued at 11 for the whole set, whereas Mastodon’s sound is one that relies on a degree of aural diversity.  However, what they did do to all of us was bizarre and beautiful.  Mastodon came out and immediately entranced the entire audience.  Where Converge had us all busting outward, Mastodon had brought us all deeply inward.  I swear, as far as heavy shows go, I defy you to find one more cerebral than the one this band puts on.  Parts of me felt like the whole set was one long opus, and that each song played out a scene in some grotesque, medieval epic poem.  I’m sure the fact that at least 4 of the songs stretched over 12 minutes played a part in that.  And by the way, for those of you who haven’t heard them, Mastodon are not a jam band, nor are they strictly proggy.  They are, simply put, the best band in their genre, and thus they push the boundaries.  It has been two days since the show, and ironically I can’t stop comparing Mastodon’s performance to that of a Sigur Ros show I saw 4 years ago.  I know; the two ostensibly couldn’t be more different.  But what they do have in common is this: both left me with a sense that I had just seen something alien, or unhuman.  How often does that happen?!

Now let’s get on to the real stars of the night: the fans!  I don’t know if it was because of Halloween, but I’ve never been to a show with more outrageous fans.  This is not to say that people were there to get in the mosh pit, get rowdy, and obnoxiously deprive others of a good listening experience.  Actually, it was quite the opposite.  Everyone at that show was passionate, open, generally thrilled to be in a stadium filled with people like them. Now, what does that mean?  Am I using stereotypes here?  Well, yes.  A lot of the people at this show occupy a world I’ve just never been a part of.  I stopped going to Hot Topic in 9th grade, I’ve never been a Magic Card fan, and I like the sun.  Some of these folks definitely jacked up their schtick because it was 10/31, but for a lot of these folks, I’m not so sure their nail polish, leather, and spikes would not have been on at a show any other night.  I kept thinking one thing throughout the night: where are these people in daily life?  It’s like they all exist in some underground layer, and only come out for rawk! shows.  I guess I’ll have to keep a more observing eye when I’m out and about, because I’ll say again, they really made the show what it was.  If you can’t already tell, I’m one of these people who gets very emotional about my music – whatever it may be.  Though our tastes are probably different in some respects, I felt connected to the fans that night in a way I hadn’t for a long time.  There was no irony, no snobbery, and absolutely no bullshit.  It was all about the experience, and expressing yourself therein.  That, to me, was enormously comforting.

Did I mention the lead singer of Mastodon has a nasty face tat?

Categories: Music Tags: , , ,

Lemmy K.

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment


As any true rock and roll fan will tell you, there are few rock luminaries as legendary as Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister.  The man is 63 years old, still plays 150 shows a year, and has never softened his ways or his music – which remains as bloodthirsty today as it was 30 years ago.  I’ve been a follower of Kilmister’s for just under a decade now, and have read much about him, though nothing holds a candle to Mark Binelli’s piece in the most recent Rolling Stone (Madonna on the cover).  I’ll spare you the glowing rhetoric, and just cut right to a section I thought best surmised the majesty of this man.  If you like what you’ve read, I implore you to pick up this issue, and hopefully, a Motorhead album as well.

Adds [Ozzy] Osbourne, “Lemmy’s a one-off, believe me. I used be a wild guy, but Lemmy… on the Blizzard of Ozz Tour, he had a plaid bag with three books and a notepad.  No change of clothes. His fucking rider was eight bottles of bourbon, seven bottles of vodka, two bottles of orange juice, and that’s fucking it! And I’ve never seen him falling down drunk, ever.  He’s not grossly overweight, he never looks hung over or like he’s dying. He’s not fucking human.

Trust me, this is a fantastic article on a man who is the last of the quintessential, bullshit-free, rock and roll heroes. Make it happen.

Categories: Music Tags: ,

Art Brut @ the Black Cat 10/18/09

October 20, 2009 Leave a comment


Last night I saw a band called Art Brut, whom I had never heard, that totally rocked my face off.  Let me first say that I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this band on record.  They are overtly British, which is not a bad thing, but just not a scene that I ever particularly gravitated to.  They are overtly tart, though I suppose that comes with the British territory.  In any case, I had no confidence that it would be a GREAT show.  I promised a dear friend I would attend, and so I figured reuniting with him would make the night what it was.  But look, this band fucking rocks in concert!  The music is driving, accessible, and airtight; and the lead singer has a presence the size of the whole room.  In an indie scene that is so totally dedicated to desperately earnest approachable everymans, Art Brut keep their distance by proving that they remember what it’s like to feel as if you simply don’t exist on the same plain as the gents cranking it out on the stage.  They remember what it was like the first time they saw Morrissey, Mick, Freddie, or Bowie make it all happen.  They weren’t normal people, and in my opinion, nor should any self-respecting rock musician.  After all, what kind of artistic greatness did normal people ever achieve?  (I’m sure there are a million arguments to the contrary, but fuck them, and fuck you.)  So, will I buy an Art Brut album?  Maybe so, but maybe not.  Will I hesitate to drop whatever cash is necessary to see these guys the next time we’re in the same city?  Absolutely not!  100%.  They are a one-of-a-kind live band.  Plus, they have a female bassist, which, I think we can all agree, is undeniably bad ass.

Categories: Music Tags: , , ,

Ok girls!!!!

October 17, 2009 Leave a comment


I’ve always been amazed by teenage/20-something girls ability coordinate a complicated pose on the spot.  It’s almost as if high schools offer some class in picture-arranging that was miraculously kept a secret.  I could not tell you how many times I’ve seen groups of girls – sometimes as large as two dozen – pop into prime picture taking position within two minutes.  Not only is the mere feat outrageous, but it also begs the question of why you would need such a picture taken in that moment.  There are really not many occasions that call for a group photo.  Holidays, graduations, team victories, reunions, family events; these are clearly situations that mandate such an arrangement.  Why girls feel the need to create these photo ops at every house party is completely beyond me.  There’s nothing to see.  After how many completely identical photos will all you American girls be content?  It astounds, and quite frankly, bothers me.

Like Ugg boots, this troubling trend is just one of those things that irks me because it seems so totally superfluous.  Girls, when you’re perusing the facebook to relive all the good times, can you even tell the difference between one posed photo and the next?  None of these parties are discernably or exotically varied, so can you take a gander and say to yourelf, “Oh yea, that was Steve’s party!”  No way.  In reality, you say “Wait, was this Steve’s or Mark’s?  No no no no no, this had to have been when Tom brought us all to Sig Ep.  Right?”  So if all the poses are the same, and all the parties are the same, why even bother?

Can any of you envision men (or dudes, I should say) getting into this kind of thing?  The mental picture is like ippecac for the brain.  It’s so totally ridiculous that it needs to expelled immediately.  So let’s say, for a second, that group poses are a hot party trick for young guys: how do you decide who bends over, literally, to fill up the front row?  Let’s talk about that bending over for a second, because it’s really the aspect of the pose that I find most fascinating.  Seriously, how do girls decide who takes the front row?  And when did all teenage girls perfect the art of the hands on the knees squat?  That squat, by the way, has to be the most feminine position any human could position themselves in.

Anyway, I’ve ranted enough, and it’s been really good for me.  As you can tell, the learned poses freak me out in a big way.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Armstrong vs. Kimmich

October 7, 2009 Leave a comment

A lot has been said about the intensity of Lance Armstrong, for better or worse.  Clearly you cannot achieve what he has without being a pretty intense dude.  Now, I’m not going to get into all this ‘American Hero’ rhetoric.  Armstrong is an inspirational figure who deserves all the accolades he’s received.  I’m posting the video above, from a pre-2009 tour press conference, because I think it exposes a very human side of him not often seen.  Is this a classy move or not?  Would you do what he did in those circumstances?  I think I might…

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