No one here gets out alive

•May 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ears ringing. Adrenaline still pumping, though it all ended nine hours ago. A few bruises that I didn’t wake up with yesterday morning.

All things considered, Mastodon killed it at The Orange Peel. “Crack The Skye” was played in its entirety, as was much of “Blood Mountain.” Both albums did not lose their mind-blowing awesomeness in the translation. Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher proved they are the best guitar tag team of the new millennium once and for all. At least in my mind.

The only downside, which cannot be blamed on any of the bands on the bill, was the absolute absurdity of a few people in the audience. I hate to get my Billy Corgan on here, but the man is right – moshing is totally fucking moronic.

My first experience with a mosh pit was at an Alkaline Trio show in what is still my favorite rock club, The Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. Fortunately I was one of the biggest people at the show, so most of the moshers merely bounced off me. The only bad part of the evening was getting kicked in the head three times by crowdsurfers, but all three people apologized. People wanted to have a good time and blow off some steam, but if they saw that someone could get hurt they stopped their physical jackassery. It was a nice, communal attitude that I have yet to see anywhere else.

Unfortunately, last night I was not one of the bigger members of the audience. In fact, I was on the lower side of par with this crowd. This made it fun when Kylesa, the second band on the bill, started their interesting brand of metal, which kicked the moshers into a frenzy. For a while, the chaos was contained behind me and the nice fellows from Asheville I met, but once Mastodon started all bets were off.

Now, if it were just me, I would write this down as a mere annoyance. However, when there are smaller people in the audience it’s pretty dangerous. Granted, one of the women in question (who might break the 5 feet barrier while standing on a stool in some six-inch heels) definitely was not fragile. She took the incessant pushing and pummeling in stride. However, I don’t know if the same can be said for some of the other small women or men in the audience – and there were quite a few. I let said woman front of me as to avoid getting pulled in to the melee, but it still had to be hellish for her. I sympathized and did my best not allow myself and four other guys to be thrown on top of her (and the other people up front), but that’s hard to do when a couple hundred jackasses are pushing from behind.

I don’t want to sound sexist. I’m sure this lady could have totally handled herself. If she had to she probably could have kicked my ass, though I admit that ain’t hard to do. I guess, to me at least, she is representative of why moshing is at the least stupid and at its worst insanely dangerous. Not everyone out there is 6 feet tall and has 200 pounds to throw around. If one of these huge drunk assholes gets on the warpath it might be hard to get out of their way. A guy my size, that means a bruise or some other superficial wound at worst. Someone who’s not my size, we could be talking broken bones.

Honestly, what’s the point? I know metal music stirs up some aggression. This is one of the many reasons I love bands like Mastodon – they are cathartic. You go to a metal show, you scream and yell and headbang and have a great time. But for the life of me I don’t see what compels a person to run full force into someone else. I just want to see a badass rock show and enjoy the music. I didn’t sign up for the idiot’s version of Fight Club.

(Oh, and a note to some of the mongoloids out there … it’s called soap. It is your friend. If I have to beat off a bunch of jackasses just so I can see Brent Hinds rip off an amazing guitar solo, I at least don’t want to have that human dumpster smell to deal with as well.)

Granted, if I were the Rock God, I would change a lot of things. Like, say a three beer maximum. I see nothing wrong with that, though I know others would disagree. I’ll say it right now, though – those people are morons. Drunk people ruin shows for others, then forget what even went on because they were fucking drunk. Oh, and beers at most shows are expensive as hell. You buy three and you’re out $30 at most places. Go to a big concert and it’s like you have to take out a second mortgage to get drunk. So new rule – if you’re not in the band, the third beer is it. Case closed.

Sorry, tangent.

Maybe I’m in the minority here. I had a sneaking suspicion of this while standing in line. That’s when I noticed I was one of the few people not totally clad in black, tatted up from head to toe and/or pierced in every orifice visible. Hearing conversations around me sealed the deal – I knew some idiotic jackassery would be afoot. But it calls into question a conundrum I’ve been constantly dealing with – can you love a band but totally abhor their fans?

I love heavy bands like Mastodon and Tool. For both I can tell you each member’s name, what equipment they use, etc. But a lot of their fans should be drug out into the street, shot in the kneecaps and then fed to a pack of wild pigs. And you can clearly tell the ones I’m talking about. Just go to a show and they overwhelm you. Be it their monosyllabic speech patterns (used when grunting won’t suffice), their overwhelming aroma of alcohol and shame, and/or any article of clothing that is mesh or spiked, you can spot them from a mile away. Those that miss the intelligence and skill that good bands pour into their music, instead saying “Heavy music. Me like. Makes me want hit people hard.”

While my imagined fate for them seems cruel, I seriously think we would be doing them a favor. A lifetime of Saturday nights killing brain cells by drinking paint thinner doesn’t sound fun. And, to quote Bill Hicks, we wouldn’t be losing a cancer cure. Maybe a few gas station attendants. Though with the economy as bad as it is, I don’t know how many customers we’d want to deprive Hot Topic of.

(Again, conflicted feelings – Hot Topic sells shirts for bands I like. Granted, the bands I like – ie good bands – and their merchandise take up about one percent of the retail space, but still, you take what you can get. However, do I really want to be someone who shops at Hot Topic?)

Sigh. Whatever. I know, a lot of this makes me sound like I’m an asshole. Well guess what, I’m an asshole. But I’m an asshole that leaves fun things on his blog. Things such as a link to Wilco’s new album, which they are streaming online.

Oh, and this bit o’ hilarity.

You’re welcome.



•May 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So R1N1 swine flu will probably end the world, right?


OK. So … we’re freaking out about this? From what I understand, the vast majority of those who have contracted the disease merely had to stay home in bed, drink some OJ, sleep and catch up on their Netflix queue. Not to dismiss those that have unfortunately died from it, but the seasonal flu is much more dangerous (as it kills tens of thousands each year). This will probably be a major strain of the seasonal flu in the next few years, according to the experts they have on NPR – that’s a much scarier thought, considering that they’re still coming up with vaccines. Hopefully it won’t have mutated before there’s plenty of vaccination out there.

Quite honestly, I don’t care. I heard someone I work with totally freak out about this early this week. The same man went off this morning because of some other stupid, inconsequential thing, and in doing so has really pissed off the lady that GIVES US OUR PAYCHECKS each week. Who the fuck does that? Oh yeah, dumbasses who don’t know how to take a breath and say to themselves, “Oh, it’s not that big of a deal.” Or, you know, he needs to “relax.”

I really want him to get swine flu now. A really bad case.

I want 1,000 guitars, I want pounding drums

•April 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

While doing my morning duties at the coffee shop, one of the girls that works with us had her Pandora station on. And I kid you not, for the hour I was there it seemed like there was one song that just kept repeating over and over and over.

Let me describe it … a slow tempo (no more than 70 beats per minute), some tinkling piano, acoustic guitars and lyrics such as “Everywhere I go, I go with you” (I threw up in my mouth a little just remembering the whole scenario). I wish I’d looked at the playlist just to see who needs to be told to stop. In any event, after about 20 minutes I wanted some Slayer just as a good change of pace. I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again, “Raining Blood” in the morning is almost as good as a cup of coffee.

I’m starting to think these things are something like aural porn for a section of women my age. Part of me can understand it. These “musicians,” as blatantly fake in their sentimentality as they are, put into words some sort of feeling people have or at least want to have. But seriously, listen to “Helpless” by Neil Young, a song on paper that is not a bit different than anything described above but done far, far better. Hell, half of Neil Young’s catalog is like that. Elvis Costello does the same thing as well. As do Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris, David Gray and a myriad of others. (Part of me wants to throw Van Morrison in that list too.) They just do it with … I don’t know if “gusto” is the right word, but it’s close. You can at least tell they mean it.

Not that I totally disrespect all the artist lumped into the “modern adult contemporary women music” genre. I have a passing fascination with Nora Jones, which is influenced in no small part by this –

That’s right … a Wilco cover does it for me. I fell in love with Norah Jones a bit when I saw that for the first time.

I don’t know. I hate to sound like somewhat of a taste Nazi, decreeing that some musicians and their songs don’t muster up to some arbitraty standard. (What am I saying, I love sounding like that. It’s as Nick Hornby once said, prejudices are easier to keep and honestly, they are more fun.) But I can’t honestly believe there’s a market for such half-assed garbage. That’s what it is to me. It’s like some guy is sitting in some big room with a cigar saying, “We need to make more money! Find some piano playing broad who sings dumb love songs. The ladies eat that shit up!”

But, to quote Dennis Miller – that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

And just so this doesn’t go out on such a dour note, I leave with these bits o’ goodness.

He even rocks acoustic …

(Here’s the orginal version, since the bastards disabled embedding.)

Lay lady lay

•April 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This might just be the greatest thing mankind has ever or will ever commit to celluloid …

Followed closely by this …

I really need to find this on DVD. Oh DVD Gods, help a homie out.

Pump it up.

•April 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

My alma mater’s basketball team is officially 2009 NCAA National Champions. Woo!

Honestly, had they lost, I wouldn’t have minded so much. Sports are a “take it or leave it” thing for me. However, I am paying UNC back for my four years of education there (and I know some of that money will go towards athletics), so I at least feel like I’m getting some return on that $75 a month. Aside from the whole “I learned stuff there” thing. Lord knows I don’t use my education.

That was a joke. A bad one. Moving on.

Also on the “neat things happening in April” front, it’s snowing pretty hard here in Sylva. Not really sticking, but it’s proving to be an amazing contrast from the “75 degrees and sunny” conditions we had Sunday. We slept in the shop again last night. It wasn’t worth trying to make it to Balsam. If there’s one place where snow sticks in this whole county, it’s Balsam. Not worth the risk of life and limb to attempt making it to the house. However, as comfortable as the old red couch is, I had a horrid night’s sleep. So I’m trying to wake up as best I can. Failing miserably really. But I’ve been rather productive this morning. Go me.

In random news (start rant here) –

Jackie Earl Haley, who played Rorschach amazingly in the recent “Watchmen” film adaptation, was recently signed to play Freddy Krueger in the upcoming “A Nightmare on Elm Street” remake. Hopefully they won’t drop the ball on this and the filmmakers will try to make ol’ Fred SCARY again. I remember as kid being totally freaked out by Freddy. I go back and watch the first one and it still creeps me out a bit. The others, though … meh.  I came to realize he was like a low-rent Letterman who just so happened to kill people. At least in the plethora of nonsensical sequels. So, filmmakers, please heed the call of angry horror dorks out here in the Interwebs. You’ve got an amazing actor filling Robert Englund’s shoes (which in itself is going to be a nigh impossible task, since Englund is so entwined with the Krueger character. But I think Haley is one of few people, if not the only person, able to do it). Now actually spend time on a script. Give us a story we want to see. It doesn’t cost much. Cut out one special effects shot and you’ve got it. Hell, it will look better if you do it the cheaper, practical way anyways. CGI is killing horror movies.

(End rant)

I’ve been officially engaged a full week. Crazy.

Feelin’ all tied up

•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So, despite knowing that Jimmy Page had initially asked Terry Reid to be the singer for Led Zeppelin (before considering Robert Plant at Reid’s suggestion), I’d never heard any of TR’s music.

That is until the good folks at Buddyhead had this “video” posted on their gossip section. It’s pretty amazing.

PS, go read Buddyhead’s “gossip” section now. Do your part to stop the cultural genocide.

(Edit: After some foraging in the wilds of the Internets some more, I found a cover version of Reid’s song by the always great Cheap Trick. Check this out.)

No more a rake and no more a bachelor

•April 3, 2009 • 1 Comment

So I’m engaged.

That is still sinking in for me. I mean, I’m totally happy that Lucy said yes, but it’s still rather surreal to think that someone is readily admitting they want to spend the rest of the their life with you. Especially when they’re hitching their wagon to an obtuse, moody bastard such as myself.

But that’s OK, I guess. I like to think Lucy knows what she’s getting into. I know I’ve considered just about every possibility of what might happen. The weird thing is that, as overwhelming as all of this is, it’s one of the first things I’ve ever been sure about in my entire life. So I’ve got that going for me.