Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Shows of 2009!

On the heels of my Best of 2009 list comes another wildly opinionated recap! I should start keeping notes because I rarely remember this stuff unless someone took pictures or I wrote it on a calendar. There were lots of shows, but these are the ones that still shine long after my ears have stopped ringing:

Amebix
January 27, 2009
(Neumos- Seattle, Washington)
No stage banter, no requests and no jokes. We got there early for the sound check and I'm not ashamed to admit that I nearly wept tears of joy as they roared into 'Winter'. THE POWER REMAINS!!!!

Front row for Amebix!
Thanks to the dude in the balcony who caught my giddy excitement on camera.

Flyer art by Reuben Storey!

Midnight/General Surgery/Engorged/Funerot
May 14, 2009

(Cherry Lofts- Olympia, Washington)
This show was in some filthy warehouse with a fridge that you could put your BYOB in so it would stay cold while you got your thrash on. And we did. Teeth were chipped and people bled. When I'm sitting on a rocking chair telling my grandchildren what Metal was, I'll remember this night.

But can you do the Milano mosh?

Inquisition
May 23, 2009

(Satyricon- Portland, Oregon)
While everyone who could afford airfare was shooting their wad with Bolt Thrower at MDF, I was enjoying this surprise performance of the year just a few minutes from home. I went down to this local black metal fest just to have a drink with a friend but ended up riveted by Inquisition's masterful hypnotic attack and bullfrog conjurations! Satanic Brilliance!

Rob Fornicator crawled around the stage like a giant tarantula on Sparks to get these killer photos!

Cro-Mags
June 5, 2009

(Hawthorne Theater- Portland Oregon)
As a teenager in 1986 Age of Quarrel was sacred scripture. It was the kind of record that improved my posture and made me see the world a bit more clearly. I was fortunate enough to catch the Cro-Mags at The Ritz in New York City back in the day. It was an incredibly violent event and I still sometimes measure shows against the intensity of that night. Trouble is, it was a release party for the second album and vocalist John "Bloodclot" Joseph had already left the band. Sure, Harley Flanagan did a great job holding down the bass and vocal duties but something was missing. On this night, two decades later, I finally had the pleasure of witnessing Bloodclot rip through the classics with Mackie on drums and members of Leeway and Sick Of It All backing him up. It was not only amazing to hear but also refreshing to discover that ol' "Mighty Whitey" is a very humble and sincere guy. Wiser, it would seem, for surviving some very HARD TIMES indeed. Bloodclot is the real deal and this show RULED!

"What goes around comes back around..."

Pentagram
July 1, 2009

(Satyricon- Portland, Oregon)
I'll admit, I was a little worried when Bobby came rooster-strutting on stage with saucer eyes and ill-fitting bellbottoms. Will he remember the words? Will he have a heart attack? Will I have to see him naked? Turns out I needn't have worried. He delivered all the aces like the motherfucking aristocrat that he is and by the time he dry-humped his way into '20 Buck Spin' I realized I was witnessing history.

I don't know who took this photo but it sums things up perfectly. Be forewarned!


Michael Hurley
July 11, 2009

(Mississippi Records- Portland, Oregon)
Michael Hurley is a national treasure. He was first recorded for the Folkways label by Frederic Ramsey Jr. more than 45 years ago on the very same equipment used to record Leadbelly's final sessions. Wikipedia states that he was born in 1941 but this date may not be entirely accurate and when the man enters a room you get the feeling that an ageless troubadour has just arrived by steam locomotive to deliver some cryptic message to the modern world. So imagine our surprise when my good friend Eric Issacson arranged a special performance for my daughter's 12th birthday! It says a lot about Hurley's character that he would happily drive all the way from Astoria to play a free show for less than a dozen pre-teen kids in a private room covered in black plastic. Why the black plastic? Because we knew once his performance was over the place would erupt into a riot of root beer, ice cream cake and silly string. My daughter has had a lot of fun birthday parties over the years, but this afternoon was the stuff of legend!


Lebenden Toten/D-Clone
October 10, 2009

(18th Street House- Distortland, Oregon)
Just when I think the shambling reanimated corpse of punk rock has taken a terminal shot to the head and finally dropped to the cold ground forever, some black-clad figure hands me a flyer for the next Lebenden Toten appearance. Night of the show I drag my geriatric bones through a gauntlet of bullet belts, suffering all manner of loathsome glances for failing to wear the appropriate uniform, and plant myself in some dimly lit corner with a flask of bourbon until Lebenden Toten rise from the grave with a painful squeal of headsplitting feedback and whirling chainsaw distortion. The next 15 minutes are a beer-soaked WAR! The cult is alive. Punk is UNDEAD...

The guy that hands out the Lebenden Toten flyers.

The Process Church Of The Final Judgment Sabbath Assembly
November 1, 2009
(Mississippi Studios- Portland, Oregon)
Feral House founder Adam Parfrey organized this special event in conjunction with the release of the new book Love, Sex, Fear, Death by former Process Church member Timothy Wyllie. Like most occultniks, I first read about the Process Church of the Final Judgment years ago in Parfrey's seminal anthology Apocalypse Culture and later in the great zine EsoTerra. It had always been shrouded in satanic mystery and solemn black-robed secrecy but tonight the curtain would be pulled back to reveal the wild-haired Wizard of Oz! Parfrey and friends recreated a gnostic ritual with the audience acting as somewhat uncertain participants but the real highlight was the Process Church Sabbath Assembly performing renditions of original Process gospel! I was swept away by the heady psychedelia and beautiful female harmonies courtesy of Jex Thoth and some other painfully attractive young woman. Once they left the stage I was a bit less interested in the rest of the proceedings but Wyllie proved to be a real fun and approachable character (let's call him "Wyllie Coyote"), not at all what I expected from some former 60's cult member who paints rainbows and communicates telepathically with dolphins.

Arik Roper's Process Church poster art!

Christian Mistress/Pierced Arrows
December 3, 2009
(The Brotherhood- Olympia, Washington)
My lady picked me up from work at 8:30pm and by 10:30pm we were shoving our way through a crowded bar in another state as my favorite NWONWHM (New Wave Of Northwest Heavy Metal- duh!) warriors charged into their first song! They finished the set with a new song I had never heard before and all I can say is they'll be in the running for best LP of 2010. Next up was Pierced Arrows who did what they do best. The show was free, the drinks were strong and a general wang dang doodle was had by all.

Two sexy mistresses!

Eyehategod
December 5, 2009
(Satyricon- Portland, Oregon)
The last time I saw my favorite southern-fried nihilists was almost 10 years ago on the Confederacy of Ruined Lives tour and I sorta expected them to stumble around on stage like middle-aged dope casualties. Instead, this was a triumphant return to form for the good ol' boys that penned such ballads as 'Sister Fucker' and 'White Nigger' (they played 'em both)! You either like this stuff or you don't. I happen to LOVE it! Old southern folk will tell you how the most tragic blues song can somehow make you feel really good, and I can't help thinking about this paradoxical effect every time I mainline Eyehategod's misery hymns. Take as needed for pain!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
~Dennis Dread
2009

4 comments:

Michal S. said...

I thought everyone loves Eyehategod! A new album from them would be nice.

Happy New Year, Dennis!

wurm said...

It kicked ass to be one of the "two old guys standing in the back" screaming out the anthems with you. This show made my 2009 list as well.

devadeva said...

you got your lebenden toten flyer from michele soavi?!
you shouldve asked him if he still makes movies.
its been years since cemetery man.

foetalruin said...

Seconded on the General Surgery/Engorged show in Olympia! Most fun (and worst beating!) I had at a show all year, and it's all up on youtube. Good times.