Saturday, December 31, 2011

BEST SHOWS OF 2011!

"We're Motorhead and we're gonna kick your ass..."

MOTORHEAD
February 5, 2011
(Roseland - Portland, Oregon)

This wasn't the first show of the year but things got started off right when Lemmy and the boys came to town and this happened. I asked Lemmy why he stopped playing Iron Horse/Born To Lose and he said he was just never particularly crazy about that song. I told him it was one of my favorite Motorhead songs of all time and that I thought maybe he stopped playing it because he wanted to distance himself from the Hell's Angels connection. He said, "Nah, it just isn't a very good song." With all due respect, I beg to differ. Thanks to Eric Heltzer and Jason Charles for making this night happen.


KALLISTI'S BENEFIT SHOW
February 11, 2011
(Blackwater - Portland, Oregon)

This might be the coolest thing punks have done since inventing anarchy and spikey hair back in 1977. My daughter Kallisti was selected to participate in a two week service learning project in Costa Rica with her 8th grade Spanish class this year. The only problem was, airfare was expensive. So in between painting her nails and watching re-runs of Gossip Girls she came up with the brilliant idea to throw a benefit gig to help pay for the trip (yeah, like you were gonna suddenly buy a bunch of art) and local punks stepped up to contribute their time and energy to the cause. Lebenden Toten brought the message and noise (mostly noise), Arctic Flowers (who released a great 12" in 2011) and Dove Asylum delivered the melody, and Vile Horrendous Aerial Bombardment dropped their crushing guerrilla grind with homemade weapons of fast destruction. A good time was had by all and Kallisti was soon hanging with the monkeys in Costa Rica. Thanks, punks!


BUILD YOUR WEAPONS! Photo by Dopi.

VOIVOD
May 28, 2011
(The Sonar - Baltimore, Maryland)

Admittedly, the highlight of Maryland Death Fest this year was my chance meeting with Michel "Away" Langevin who was wandering through the crowd during Neurosis' set. We've been in communication for a while but never had the opportunity to chat in person and he proved to be the humble, intelligent and good-natured astronaut I always imagined him to be. Voivod's set the following day was nothing short of spectacular. Killing Technology is one of the greatest records ever recorded (in any genre) so I was especially thrilled when they blasted through Forgotten In Space, Ravenous Medicine and Tornado! Daniel Mongrain is really something to behold, playing Piggy's parts with total respect and devotion. I have no idea how he even approached those incredibly complex and angular compositions but somehow he untangled all the right parts so that the songs came alive on stage. If you squinted your eyes (or, say, drank a fifth of whiskey) you would almost believe you were watching Piggy up there! And he turned out to be a very modest and approachable dude. Another highlight was Blacky stagediving right onto our heads at the end of the set. Top notch performance from one of the greatest bands ever!

Daniel Mongrain, Jeff Tandy, K├Ârgull the Exterminator and a painfully cute metal journalist with a killer tattoo who had the good sense to clutch my left hand as it dangled perilously close to her breasts.

Another highlight of MDF was running into Paul Stanley in the pit during Funebrarum's killer set! Just kidding. Paul Stanley wasn't there. But Funebrarum's set was killer. And this happened...


DEAD CONGREGATION
May 29, 2011
(The Sonar - Baltimore, Maryland)

The Greek death mongers tell me their set at MDF was one of their worst performances ever. They should've just lied and told me it was their best because I was totally impressed and everyone I spoke to was very satisfied. It's entirely possible that drunk Americans are less demanding than our European counterparts but I tend to think these dudes just hold themselves to a higher standard because this was one of the most crushing sets of the entire weekend which is saying a lot because Cathedral, Aura Noir, Machetazo, Acid Witch, Repugnant and Cianide all delivered absolutely killer performances. Here are some photos for you:

Huggy Bear...oh boy.

Tim Call jumped onstage with Machetazo and blasted through Sex & Violence in memory of Pete Steele!

"...draped in cerecloth!!!!!"

Citizen's Arrest.

The Sons of Hades...on Gay Street.


Photo by Anna Wilson.

DOOM
May 30, 2011
(Branx - Portland, Oregon)

I approached Doom with caution when they played a reunion set at MDF this year. I was very excited to finally have the opportunity to see these seminal crusties but I haven't paid attention to them in the past decade and not all punks age like fine wines. Would they come onstage with their livers hanging off their utility belts? Would they inject their songs with modern nu-metal crunch "for the kids"? The second I saw 'em hit the stage with dreads still intact my fear was abated. They blasted through an inspired and sincere set of classics and even played a little ditty to "a woman's right to choose." They were so good in Maryland that when I returned to Portland on Monday night we drove straight from the airport to Branx and caught them again at this local all ages venue. We only caught Deathcharge's last song but it was Hangman so I was not disappointed. Then I went home and slept for 14 hours.

Photo by...who???

DANAVA/VASTUM
July 3, 2011
(East End/Saratoga - Portland, Oregon)

Weird lineup, huh? Actually this was two different events in the same day that resulted in one of the best shows of 2011. As many of you know I've been playing records at East End every last Wednesday of the month since August 2010 and only missed one month when I went to MDF in May. For those of you keeping score, that's 16 months- long enough to have a baby and watch it pop it's first tooth- so the East End crew has become something of a family to me and I was honored when they asked me to play records at their second annual block party this year. Danava was the highlight and they delivered a typically amazing set, made all the more special in that it was outdoors in the warm summer sun. The club provided unlimited beer the entire day while I worked the turntables so now imagine me stumbling through the crowd at sunset so I could make it across town to catch a death metal gig at the Saratoga. It seemed like such a good idea at the time. We got there just in time to catch the last 20 minutes of Anhedonist (probably about one song knowing those dudes) and then Oakland's Vastum hit the floor (the Saratoga don't need no stinkin' stage). I have trouble getting into their record but live it really came together, probably because of the singer's charismatic presence. Great show! Incidentally, when I become too drunk to raise my middle finger at you, please cut me off and take me home...

Photo by Anna Wilson.

Another goddamn photo by Anna Wilson. I'm glad this Nordic Queen was at my side all year!

WEREGOAT
June 2, 2011
(Blackwater - Portland, Oregon)

I already sufficiently covered this event on my blog so I'll spare you the details. All you need to know is that I planned the opening reception of Cut & Pasted, Burned & Wasted to coincide with my birthday this year and asked my pals in Weregoat to perform for the occasion. Wait until you see their upcoming LP! Daniel Desecrator, who's spectacular drawings were publicly exhibited for the first time at this event, provided the album cover art and it is definitely one of his best drawings to date. Hail to Chile! Hail to Weregoat!

"OK...I'll DO IT!!!!"

AUTOPSY
June 24, 2011
(Oakland, California)

Another event that I already provided full photographic evidence for back in June. Suffice to say, we drove 13 hours to Oakland for a private performance in the Autopsy practice room and I can now die a happy man. The following day we saw a slightly abridged set at Slaughter By The Water along with Whiplash and Nuclear Assault! Here's the set they played:


The hater of fucking humans herself. Photo by Anna. Why won't she just marry me?

ADORIOR
December 9, 2011
(Backtage Live - San Antonio, Texas)

Look, It's New Year's Eve and I'm sick of typing words. I apologize but I've already given you cretins more than you deserve. Much more. These last two picks are basically a toss up because every band that actually played at Rites of Darkness put in quite a fucking performance. It was almost as if the bands delivered their best in spite of all the ridiculous shenangigans that unfolded in the weeks leading up to the event. Dispirit, Weapon, Impetuous Ritual, Cianide, Midnight, Grave Upheaval, Anatomia, Ares Kingdom and Black Witchery all deserve to be on this list but if I have to split hairs about who impressed me the most I guess I would come down on Adorior and Inquisition. Adorior never really works for me on vinyl. I've always wanted to love 'em- mostly because they have the terrible taste to employ Paul "Unhinged" McCarroll for their artwork- but for some reason their recordings just don't do it for me. On stage they positively exploded with passion! They're way more of a traditional heavy metal band than their brilliantly disgusting artwork might suggest and on stage it was a headbangin' extravaganza of epic proportions. They also sold out of their exclusive ROD shirts which featured the Pope covered in cum and surrounded by a most horrible display of cocks. I sure hope a few of those made appearances at Christmas dinners around the world this month.

"Crush! Crush! Crush!"

INQUISITION
December 9, 2011
(Backstage Live - San Antonio, Texas)

Speaking of upsetting Christians, the first time I saw Inquisition was with Thy Infernal at a Moribund Records event back in '98 or '99 at Portland's Satyricon (which closed its doors in 2011, serving as yet another reminder of how much this year can fuck off) and they were a very different band. If my memory is accurate, they had a much thrashier black/death sound and a full band. A lot has changed since then and their recent incarnation is amazing. I still have no idea how two dudes make those sounds but they pull it off live perfectly. I'll go out on a limb and say they are currently my favorite American black metal band. And they've been battling it out in the trenches long before a lot of their goofy Yankee peers jumped on Satan's bandwagon. It's a rigidly limited act but somehow they just keep getting better.

Happy New Year! Best Wishes for 2012!

1 comments:

Tonguechewer said...

Thanks for all the recent 'best of' posts...hell, thanks for the year. All the best for next. Happy New Year!