MICK’S PICKS CONCERT REVIEWS – 2005
Danzig, The Backyard at The Pound, San Francisco 10/02/05
When talking to Glenn Danzig at San Diego Comic Con last year (He’s a HUGE comic fan!) he told me he would be going out with his band Danzig that fall doing, what he called, “the retirement tour”. He told me that it would include a reunion with members of his old band The Misfits. I voiced that I would be VERY interested in getting on the list to come see the show, so he told me to get in touch with him as it got closer. I did just that and he emailed me that I was on the list for the San Francisco show. I had never seen either Danzig or The Misfits before so I was not sure what I was in for.
The Misfits formed in the late 70’s taking from the Ramones and the Damned for their sound and horror flicks for their look and subject matter. With this they helped form the hardcore punk scene. Glenn Danzig left the band in the late 80’s (the band went on without him as a sort of cartoon version of themselves) and formed Samhain. Moving more toward metal and gloom rock, this band was the stepping stone to his, Rick Rubin produced, first solo effort “Danzig”.Ý
The line-up for “The Blackest of the Black” tour was Danzig, Chimaira, Behemoth, Himsa, Mortiis and The Agony Scene. I did not want to hear 5 hardcore death metal bands so my friend Henry and I showed up as late as possible to avoid the agony. After a drink at the little grungy bar and enduring a little of the band Chimaira, Danzig would be up next. A punk rock scum backed up into me and spilled his drink all over himself and started to harass me for “running into him”. I blurted out “Hey, YOU ran into ME! Note to self: DO NOT talk back to punk rock scum at a Danzig show! I think he wanted to make a big thing out of the situation as weÝescapedÝinto the backstage area. There was a special viewing area for the “Special Pass” people…thankfully we were, cuz the place was packed with punk rock scum!!!
Danzig hit the stage in fine form. He looked GREAT…I always thought he had the looks to play Wolverine in an X-MEN movie. The band rocked HARD, the sound was LOUD and clear and our view was GREAT!Ý And then there was his voice… well, I’ll tell you. This man has one of THE GREATEST voices in rock. As the music crunches and growls around him, his voice is almost operatic and soars through the air, clear and mighty. Reviews of other shows I’ve read told of bad sound and Glenn not being on… this was NOT the case! This was a man at the top of his form and reveling in it. Three-quarters of the way through the set he brought out his old Misfits partner,ÝDoyle Von Frankenstein.ÝDoyle looked great, shirtless and buff with the appropriate shin guards, makeup, and, of course, black devilock. As he came out, each monster style step he took would include a pound upon his dangerously pointy custom-made Rand Annihilator guitar. Then came The Misfits set, which included the classics,Ý”Die, Die My Darling”ÝandÝ”Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight”. This was like dying and going to punk rock heaven for this crowd and we were right there with them!Ý After the five or six song set, Doyle “stomped” off stage to a crowd going stark raving punk rock crazy! The stage went dark for a few minutes before Danzig came back for an encore that included his biggest (and only) MTV hit “Mother”.
I have to say that if Glenn is seriously thinking of retiring he is doing it at the top of his game. This man is like the “Conan the Barbarian” of rock music.Ý We NEED this kind of performer!
Don’t leave us, Glenn!!!
Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass Festival, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 10/01/05
The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is a free annual event (this was its 5th year), cost covered by a VERY rich dude named Warren Hellman. I had never been to this festival before but had heard about it in the past and missed it each time. This year I happened to be in the east bay on October 1st, so after finishing some business I jammed over the Bay to catch whatever acts I could. This year’s line up, as it is every year, was a “who’s who” of Americana music. Steve Earle & The Bluegrass Dukes, The Knitters, Los Super Seven featuring Calexico, Joe Ely and Raul Malo, Patty Griffin, Joan Baez, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Robert Earl Keen, Rodney Crowell & The Outsiders, Hot Rize and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings were just some of the band there… over 60 artist performed over 3 days… all free to the public! I rolled into the neighborhood a little after 2PM and it took me almost an hour to find a parking place! This made it so I MISSED one of my faves, Rodney Crowell. I quickly trudged through the park in time to catch the amazing Knitters. John Doe, Exene Cervenka, Dave Alvin, D.J. Bonebrake…. if you know any of those names you know The Knitters are just the “country side” of the great legendary L.A. punk band, X. They only have two albums out as The Knitters, one from the 1980’s and one from, I think, last year. (Just so you know, if you ever come across an album called “Poor little Knitter in the Road: A tribute to the Knitters”, it’s a GOOD one, so pick it up! ) This band just ROCKS, straight up. Even though they are doing country music they still go ahead and kick it out and rip it up! They do great covers too…including “Born to be Wild” and country style versions of their own X songs! Just for the chance to see the GREAT Dave Alvin rip on his guitar again (I’ve seen him about 5 times and it’s still not enough!) I’m glad I got there in time to catch this set.
I made a cell call to find my buddy Jeff, who was standing within spitting distance from me on the field and we walked around and talked till it was time for Los Super Seven to take the stage. Los Super Seven are a band of revolving superstar Americana/ Hispanic artists who make you want to be Mexican! They have a few albums out, the latest being “I Heard it on the X”…. X as in the famous Mexican AM radio station of the 60’s and 70’s (not the L.A. punk band). This album is less on the Hispanic music side and more on the artists’ favorite music from the X. A VERY good record! But as for their set at the festival it was more on the Hispanic side… and this did well in showing off the great players and singers that came with them this day. Texan Joe Ely, Raul Malo, formerly of The Mavericks, and backing band Calexico made for a truly authentic and wonderful taste of Mexican/American music and culture.
Next up was Gillian Welch and David Rawlings so we walked on down the hill through the misty overcast day to the stage they would be playing at. Along the way we stopped to listen to the great Steve Earle… not being very great this day. Maybe he should just stick to a rock or country band, not a bluegrass band. We just seemed to talk during most of the songs he did and he didn’t interest me much. Don’t get me wrong, if you have never given Steve Earle a listen just check out his albums “Transcendental Blues” or “Jerusalem”…this Steve Earle was just not there that day.
When Gillian Welch and David Rawlings hit the stage a massive crowd had converged onto, what I would imagine to be, one of the most popular sets of the day. I have seen these two brilliant artist before and I can never get enough. They are two guitars and two harmony vocals. Alone each of these artists would just be interesting, but together these two are Spiritual, sensual and mystical rolled all into one. This is folk music done with a punk upbringing and taken somewhere else with a very open mind. If you would like, please check out their fabulous album “Time(The Revelator)”…you will not be sorry!
The mist rolled over the field carrying the music of these two marvels through the air telling me I made the right choice to attend this huge festival. We strolled out of Golden Gate park very fulfilled by some of the best of Americana music that day.
This will need to be an annual event for me to attend as long as they continue to do it.
Billy Joe Shaver, Kuumbwa Jazz Center 9/10/05
Of all the country music singer/songwriters from the 70’s Billy Joe Shaver is probably the greatest. Just ask Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan, The Allman Brothers or, Waylon Jennings and Elvis Presley (if they were still around) about how great a songwriter he is… they all covered his songs! I have wanted to see this guy for awhile and this ended up exceeding my expectation… 100 fold! I was ready for a road weary, beaten down 70 odd year old man with no energy plowing thru his songs just to get it over with. This fella has been through the mill… the love of his life, the woman he married three times, Brenda, died very young followed by his mother and son, Eddie, who died of a drug overdose. Eddie was in line to be the next Stevie Ray Vaughn, but his life ended too soon. Through all of this Billy Joe endured by writing songs about it all (“Writing is the cheapest psychiatrist around!”) and not just songs…but REALLY GREAT SONGS! He found God through all of this and now has God oozing from his pours. Billy Joe on stage is FULL of life, happy to be alive (after surviving heart surgery), loving life to its fullest. He acts like a 20 year old and his voice is as good as ever. On the subject of his voice, it is very unique. It kinda has a touch of a yodel at the end of each line. Jimmie Rodgers meets Hank Williams is the closest comparison. He tells the story of walking 10 miles, barefoot at the age of 10 years old to see, his favs, Homer and Jethro, and them introducing a “new singer” to the crowd… nobody in the crowd cared or even listened to the newcomer… whose name was Hank Williams, except young Billy Joe. Hank sang the whole set to him and Billy Joe, years later, wrote a song about it. And Billy Joe pretty much wrote a song about all the events of his life (“Hell, I’ve never had writers block… I’m always doin’ something dumb I can write about!”). When he sang his songs about his mom, wife and son you just wanted to cry. When he sang his songs about all the stupid things he’s done you just had to laugh! This set was an emotional roller coaster and we just loved every minute of it. His band was small and semi acoustic but perfect for what Billy Joe was doing. Please check out this American treasure before he leaves this plane. His music is full of love, life, sorrow and spirituality.
Son Volt / Earlimart, Catalyst 9/10/05
After an early show with Billy Joe we ran on over to The Catalyst to see Son Volt and Earlimart. Earlimart opened with a very nice set of indi pop that made me want to hear more…seeing we missed part of their set. When Son Volt came out and ripped into their alt country tunes, I thought they sounded very good. Jay Farrer, main guy in the band, was one third of the “No Depression” band Uncle Tupelo back in the early 90’s. Along with partner, Jeff Tweedy, they became one of the premiere pioneering alt country outfits. Jeff Tweedy went on to form, one of the most innovative pop bands of our time, Wilco, and Jay Farrer continued in the same vein as Uncle Tupelo with Son Volt. As I watched Son Volt I started to understand why Tweedy split with Farrer. Farrer is stuck in a sound. Tweedy is MOST definitely NOT! The best songs of the night were the 2 or 3 uncle Tupelo songs that they did. And they REALLY stood out! Maybe if I had not seen such an outstanding set earlier in the evening, with Billy Joe Shaver, I could have been a little easier on Son Volt. But Jay Farrer is just WAY too serious about his music. LIGHTEN UP, JAY! This isn’t classical music! This guy MAYBE said “thank you” TWICE to the audience… THAT WAS IT! He changed guitars EVERY SONG! It really doesn’t matter THAT much when you are playing loud, distorted, feedback ridden rock to change guitars EVERY song! At first I thought …”Man, Billy Joe could really make this band good if he was the frontman!”… then I thought twice… Billy Joe would never even HANG with these guys!
Garbage, The Catalyst 9/07/05
After finding out, pretty much last minute, that Garbage was playing a small club, we had to be there! This band does not do the small clubs much anymore. They are now a large venue band that, the night after we saw them, played The Warfield in SF. The show started off with opener The Start. We just got to see a couple songs by them but decided they are very cool and we wanna check ’em out more. As soon as Garbage came out you could notice something different in the bands method of attack. They were in club mode. Shirley Manson was in a very gabby mood. Between just about every song she was talking to the audience telling them that this would be a little different set than usual. This band is not very used to improv so the moments off the cuff seemed a little uncomfortable… but everyone was having fun so it was all cool! Toward the end Shirley was asking the audience for requests and did a few, including Big Star’s “Thirteen'” and, a request from a roadie, (“the roadies are the boss so we gotta do this”) Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces”. Guitarist, Duke Erikson, didn’t seem to really want to play the Cline song but it was fun none the less. Overall it was a real treat to see this band play a GREAT set of their songs in a small club. This band has it’s own sound thanks to their leader, Butch Vig (drummer and famous Nirvana producer) and the two guitarists, Duke Erickson and Steve Marker, who have established a unique take on the alt rock groove. But Shirley Manson is the prize in this band. Not only is she one of rock musics greatest female singers, but she is in my top three sexiest women in rock (Shirley, Sally Timms of the Mekons and Shakira!). If any of the rumours are true about this band being ready to break up, it did not show at all here. They were having fun the whole night and seemed ready to take it through the next decade…at least!
Ben Folds / Rufus Wainwright / Ben Lee, Mountain Winery 8/24/05
My wife, Holly, does not go to shows anymore. She is SICK of tall people standing in front of her, people who blow smoke in her direction, not getting a seat, music that is TOO loud or any of the other negatives of live music shows. But when I asked her if she wanted to go to this show she exclaimed, “YES!”. Of course this was at the nicest place to see a show in the Bay Area, Mountain Winery. All the seats are pretty great and its outside so the smoke blows through fast!
Ben Lee had just about finished his set as we sat down. We got there in time to catch him do his minor KFOG hit “Catch My Disease”… this is a fun song, by a performer who did a fun set and I hope I see him open for another show in the future.
Next up was Rufus. Ben Folds and Rufus have been switching off as the headliners and on this night, Rufus got the short straw. This did not seem to change the way this performer attacked his set. A consummate performer, this fella, a member of a HUGE music family, (Loudon Wainwright III, his father; Kate McGarrigle, of famed folk duo with sister Anna, his mother; Martha Wainwright, new folkie, his sister; and half sister, Lucy Wainwright Roche [different mother, one of The Roches]… who came out to perform with him!) is fabulously gay… and proud of it! He is SO gay that he comes out and thanks “all the straight guys in the audience for putting up with his gayness!” At another point he stops, after starting a song, and announces that his fly was down and could not handle continuing the song with people taking his picture. His in between song banter is worth the price of admission. Rufus is one of THE BEST of the new singer/songwriters out there. Coming from the same school as Randy Newman, his songs can be biting and and at the same time sweet. His type of pop ranges from opera like to very dramatic rock. The band was tight with bass, drums and guitar with Rufus switching back-and-forth on guitar and piano. This guy IS one of the best…keep your ears open for him.
Ben Folds was next and as his set moved on I realized he should be opening for Rufus. I think he is a very talented performer but I don’t like his songwriting as much as Rufus. Working with a new VERY TIGHT drummer and bass player, he showed us his range… which I was not impressed with. I guess I was never much of a fan and seeing him live didn’t win me over anymore. The crowd was there to see him and everyone else LOVED him. Rufus came out at one point and they did the Wham hit, Careless Whisper, together. This was the high point of the set until Ben told us he would now be doing his version of Dr. Dre’s rap song, “Bitches Ain’t Shit”. If you have not heard this go to iTunes and download this gem! There is something very funny about this pop singer’s rendition of this very crude rap song.
We left early before Ben was finished. The crowd was singing one of his songs word for word and Holly was happy she went.
Teenage Fanclub, Bimbo’s 8/5/05
Hey All- Here is another belated review! Lately it’s been tough to see all the great shows happening in the Bay Area. This night, I made the choice of Scottish power pop band, Teenage Fanclub over the chance to see the amazing guitarist, Pete Anderson with Moot Davis in Felton. Friends that went to see Pete said it was GREAT… so I GOTTA see him next time he comes through. But I was not sorry for my decision… Teenage Fanclub are one fantastic band! The show started with the opener, The Rosebuds. We got there a little late but got to catch a few songs. They immediatly reminded me of the great pop bands from New Zealand, on Flying Nun Records outta the late 80’s… The Bats, Tall Dwarfs, The Verlaines and The Chills… but they were from the Mid West! I’d go see them again if they come back to the Bay Area.
When Teenage Fanclub came out I was thinking that I had never realized that THEY TOO were influenced by that stuff and something more. I had always heard Big Star in them , but for the first time I realize a HUGE influence on them was the Byrds. The harmonies by the three main singer/songwriters was just AMAZING! Now, did you hear what you just read? THREE singer/songwriters in ONE band? How many times can you say you’ve seen this? But it is true here. The three front dudes trade off writing AND singing chores… and do BOTH very well. It’s really cool to hear three different perspectives on life from three different angles, and these guys have been doing just that since the late 80’s. For those of you that don’t know their music, they rock hard but are a very melodic pop band. And the harmonies… oh yeah, THAT is what makes this band SO COOL! Throw in a cover of the great Bevis Frond song “New River Head” and you have a rock show that satisfies and makes you happy to be alive! I hope you all have a chance to see this band in the future.
Beck / Le Tigre, The Santa Cruz Civic 7/11/05
I got the chance to see Beck and Le Tigre a few weeks ago and I’m JUST now getting around to writing my review…so here goes. I had never seen Beck before but I love his music and stylistic changes. So I had been looking forward to this show for awhile. Le Tigre opened the show doing a hard edged techno sound with guitar. I had thought this band was 2 chicks and a guy, but I hadn’t realized that this was an “out of the closet” lesbian rock band! At one point they said something like “this song is about being a butch lesbian” and it hit me then that the guy I thought was a guy… well, I’m sure you get my drift! They are all girls! But BOY do they ROCK! They do use canned beats but Kathleen Hanna is one of the BEST singers I’ve heard front a band in a LONG time. This band is a lot of fun! they have great energy and riffs to boot!
Beck disappointed me slightly. The reason for this was the absence of a lead guitarist. I had seen him on TV a couple times and his guitarist, Smokey Hormel, was GREAT! A very interesting player and fun to watch. Now Beck is on tour without him and he is playing the guitar parts himself. And BARELY pulling it off! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was a bad show… it was very good. But missing Smokey… A LOT! As far as doing the songs, he did all the hits. And the band was great. At one point during a solo acoustic set, the band sat at a table behind Beck, on stage, and acted like they were eating and drinking. As Beck played the songs each member would slowly join in playing percussion on bottles and glasses on the table. Suddenly you noticed that all the stuff on the table had been “tuned” to be played! By the end of Beck’s solo set it was anything but! He had a FULL percussion band behind him! It was REALLY NEAT! He seemed to be “talking” directly to the masses as he launched into his slacker anthem, “Loser”… and the crowd LOVED IT! I think I’d like to see him again, but next time, Beck, bring a guitar player with you.
Zolar X, The Blank Club 6/18/05
I was scared… I mean, again I’m going to see a band of “old guys” doing rock music. This can ALWAYS be a a mixed bag. Will they be pot-bellied? Will they not be able to play or sing anymore? And in the case of Zolar X it has been 26 years since they last played! But my pal, Bobby, informed me,after seeing them quit a few times back in the 70’s, that these guys were VERY professional and would pull it off. So I stayed positive about what was to come and checked out the opening bands. San Francisco’s own Master Moth opened. They are a newish band of old friends that have played under different names in the passed. They were GREAT! A three piece band ( drums, vocals and guitar) that that were kind of a bluesy version of the old New York band Television. They really needed a bass player and according to the guitarist they “couldn’t find a bass player they could control”. But a really liked their songs and I’ll check them out more in the future. The next band just freaked me out. Taurus was two girls in “space age” costumes and a guy with feathered hair on guitar and vocals. I just ran out of the club in terror. Then Zolar X came out and really impressed me. They were now a trio, the original guitarist, Ygarr Ygarrist, original drummer, Eon, and a new bass player. The original singer, Zory Zenith is now in jail( I understand an intergalactic council found him guilty of selling illegal dylithium crystals…or maybe that was crystal meth, I’m not sure). They came out in new costumes, nothing really special, black tights with glittery rings around the arms, legs and waist and the name, ZOLAR X, embroidered across the front . Of course all three donned those very cool white, shoulder length, wigs with the hair, on the fore head, cut to a point right between the eyes. They passed on the “spock” ears but had very nice alien style eye brows! But the thing that really impressed me the most about them was that they seemed to be so “matter a fact” about it all. They didn’t seem to be nervous and were at home in their costumes! The songs were really well done with Ygarr taking on all lead vocals and guitar. This band really were, as Jello Biafra exclaimed “the missing link between Chrome and the Stooges!”. But I might add that to me it’s more like the connection between Ziggy Stardust and The Sex Pistols. Glam Punk. Who knows if they will ever be heard from again but I now can say I got to see this band before they left again for their home planet!
What a fun show!
Thank you Bobby for turning me on to these guys!
Porcupine Tree, The Fillmore 6/08/05
It’s so cool to have a bunch of friends that like music! They turn me on to bands and vice a versa. My pal, Joe, makes very cool power pop compilation cds to give out to his friends and on one of the last ones he gave me included a band called Porcupine Tree. I was listening and thought, “this isn’t power pop!” But in a way it was. They have a pop sensibility with a progressive edge. And I was hooked right in from the first note. Porcupine Tree is really one guy with all his friends. That guys name is Steven Wilson. He uses Moody Blues style vocal harmonies and the King Crimson dynamic…very quite all the way up to monster crunch…all in the same song! Even Crimson’s Adrian Belew does the guest guitarist thing on their new album “Deadwing” and Robert Fripp even opened for them! We all were having such a good time, eating, drinking and bullshitting, up in the Fillmore’s poster bar, that we missed Fripp’s set completely! I heard through the grapevine we didn’t miss much. But the Fripp fan that I am is just a little miffed we missed him. Porcupine Tree made up for us missing Fripp. They did a GREAT set of mostly stuff off the new album. As we checked out this band we heard more influences…Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. The very talented players in this band were able to pull off some pretty spacey jams and make ’em work! The vocal harmonies of the albums were cut a little short but, that said, the singing was still excellent. As the set drew to a close, the band gave us the highlight of their repertoire, one of the BEST melancholy pop songs of the last 5 years, Shesmovedon.
Again I find myself thanking a friend for turning me on to a wonderful artist!
Eddie and the Hot Rods, The Blank Club 6/05/2005
These days when I go to see a band that I LOVED when I was 17, I’m a little leery of them being REALLY BAD. If you remember my review of The Vibrators show you know what I mean. A complete loss of energy and chops… that is what I am scared of. But I was pleasantly surprise when we walked into The Blank Club to the opening strains of Eddie and the Hot Rods classic song from 1976, Teenage Depression… THEY WERE ROCKIN’! The only original member is the vocalist, Barrie Masters. He reminded me of Mick Jaggers 50 year old little brother. VERY worn from lots of European touring, ( they haven’t been to the states since 1977!) Barrie still has the energy and voice to front this band very well! I just try to figure out how a guy can sing punk rock for over 25 years and STILL have a voice?!? The rest of the band are all new to the band within the last 5 years… but they all knew what it was all about to keep the energy high and rock like the early days. As I watched this band go thru there great early material, Life on the Line, Do anything you Wanna Do and Quit This Town, I thought to myself, ” could they have been very much better in 1977?”… younger, yes, but I REALLY don’t think this band could have rocked much more than they did. Sure the new guitarists do the “Heavy Metal noodle” riff a little to the extreme, but the shear excitement of this band and the great songs did not let this minor point get in the way. From a few GREAT covers ( Wooly Bully, Hard Drivin’ Man and Gloria) to a couple very good songs from a brand new album, Eddie and the Hot Rods still have what it takes to carry on the great British pub rock tradition.
Fiery Furnaces/Dios Malos/Bunky, GAMH, San Francisco 4/29/05
I had seen this band once before so I thought I knew what I was getting into. This band is an experimental pop band probably influenced by Patti Smith, Velvet Underground and Wire, and their albums are impressive abstract pop art pieces… I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when they changed the arrangements on ALL their material. It was an amazing set of cutting-edge indi- rock that was fueled by a drummer. And not just any drummer. I’m not sure if he was a new drummer or just “transformed”. The first time I saw them it was very simplistic drumming…but good. In this incarnation he was on par with Keith Moon of the Who! Standing up, sitting down, spinning the sticks…even the crazy facial gestures. He was amazing! And the virtuosity of this band just thrived on his rhythms by make all the old songs new. This is what live music is all about. Surprising the crowd with your talent and taking the music to new heights… this is what they did, and they did it VERY WELL!
And that was just the Fiery Furnaces… Dios Malos was the middle band. From Hawthorne, Ca., this Hispanic rock band does not sound Hispanic. Not that I would mind if they did… but they sound more like Pet Sounds era Beach Boys! Smooth and airy most of the time with an edgy pop ditty thrown in every once in a while to mix it up. Great players one and all.. this band did the songs JUST LIKE their one and only debut album. It was a wonderful set that made me want to listen to their album again! I guess that means they sold that set! But when the last song came to an end they just started to break down their equipment. That’s right! That was it! No thank U’s…no encores…nothing. they just put things away and left. Very strange ending to a GREAT set.
AND.. now the opening act. Bunky. A duo from San Diego. Female singer/drummer and male singer/guitarist. And for this show, two horn players, a bass/ guitar player, and percussionist. All these guys had beards! Except the female drummer, of course. I don’t think I’ve seen this much facial hair on stage since ZZ Top! Now I’m not much for opening bands, so they REALLY had to blow me away to get my attention. This band gabbed me right away! Sort of like Jane Wiedlan of the Go Go’s singing with Chicago (If they were an indi/pop/punk band!). They were a great band to watch and the drummer told a funny joke about a family of moles! Just when you think there is nothing new you can do with pop music, a band comes along and shows you that there is no limits to creativity!
A good time was had by all and I hope to see all these band again!
Of course it was held at the Great American Music Hall and this has got to be one of THE BEST places to see a band if you can’t see them in a small club. The Fiery Furnaces did TWO nights in a row here. This is not a small place..and it was packed! Just goes to prove… San Francisco has pretty cool taste in pop music!
Blue Oyster Cult, Slim’s, San Francisco 3/21/05
I just can’t figure it out…WHY isn’t BLUE OYSTER CULT a HUGE rock band!?!? They’re definitely a very intelligent rock band… both with their music and how they have run their long careers. The music is very catchy pop/rock with a great slant toward progressive rock. They really are NOT the classic rock style you would think by just hearing their hits. Could it be you’re afraid of the song titles (Hot Rails To Hell, 7 Screaming Diz-Busters, Baby Ice Dog, Career Of Evil, Dominance And Submission, Cagey Cretins, I Am The One You Warned Me Of, I Just Like To Be Bad, Veteran Of The Psychic Wars, Sinful Love, Tattoo Vampire, Harvester Of Eyes and, how could we ever forget, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper)? Is it the Saturday Night Live “Cowbell” skit that just makes you laugh them off as a run of the mill classic rock/metal band? Is it the hard to decipher scary sci-fi, horror lyrics co-written with MASTER scribes like Michael Moorcock, Ian Hunter, Patti Smith, Jim Carroll, John Shirley and, their early producers, Krugman and Pearlman? Maybe you just would NEVER listen to a band that used an umlaut in their name…those scary “eyes” over the O in Oyster. And the symbol, which is a take-off on the ancient symbol of the planet Saturn and Kronos, the Titan god who swallowed his son, the Grim Reaper…well THAT alone would scare off a Creed fan or two (And THAT is a good thing!). Or maybe you just have never given them another chance… outside of The Reaper, Godzilla and I’m Burnin’ For You. These questions went around and around in my mind after seeing this band, for about the 10th time since 1976, at Slim’s on one VERY stormy eve, the 21st of March 2005.
I usually dislike the Boz Scagg’s dive they call Slim’s, so my pal Fred and I payed extra to get the upstairs dinner seats. This was a GREAT idea, on Fred’s part, cuz I had a KICK-BUTT rib-eye steak and could see the band the whole night! If I go back to Slim’s I would probably do the dinner seats again! I don’t remember the opening band’s name but they were a kind of fun “cock” rocking, glam band… But we were there to see BOC…so they really didn’t matter to us.
BOC did a set HEAVY on the first three albums from 1972, 73 and 74 and also threw in the hits and a few more obscure cuts like, Lips In The Hills from 1980 and The Vigil from 1979. With a new rhythm section in toe, the three original members, Eric Bloom, Buck Dharma and Allen Lanier, probably did one of the BEST shows I’ve seen them do since their days in the arenas. The sound was GREAT and the new guys were FANS (you could just tell!) and inspired the boys to rock like youngins! The highlight of the evening, for me, was them doing the beautiful ballad, from their 1977 album, SPECTRES, called I Love The Night. It was just one of those moments were a rock song can be one of the most important things in the world. It sent chills up my spine…
PLEASE… put Sept 2nd on your calendar… they will be back playing the Avalon in Santa Clara! Here is your chance to see them! The band is at one of their many peaks at the moment and you should take advantage of this opportunity to see a band that has influenced so many.