I hope people tuned in last Thursday night when the webcast of the Metal alliance tour was shown from this very website. But chances are pretty good that nobody but my esteemed new colleague Harley did so I figured it’d be cool to give my impressions of the show. I get there is nothing like being at a live event in person but factors come into play like time and money. And the DNA Lounge where this was broadcast from gives the unique opportunity for people to see a live show if they can’t be there. Maybe they’re in another country or another part of this country and want to see what the show has in store before it comes to their town. So without much more lead in let’s get to it shall we?
First of all I’ve never physically been inside the DNA Lounge in San Francisco. This is weird because it’s literally two or three buildings down from Slim’s which I’ve frequented more then once. But then again Slim’s has metal shows all the time where DNA spends much of it’s time being a goth and alternative lifestyle nightclub. I’ve also never witnessed a ‘festival’ of this sort where this 7 or 8 bands on the bill. Usually when I’m at a show there is two or three bands which gives them all ample time to do sound checks and have about a 45 minute set and the headliners get 90 minutes. I bring up the time factor and number of bands specifically for purposes that I will touch on as we go. Case in point.
Wretched: I completely missed their part of the set. I had to work and by the time I got home I saw what I thought was a set buildup for them and thought that the show was running late. Harley was there from the start and informed me that they just played. Since the show was supposed to start at 6 this means that they must have had only 15 minutes to play. I hear I didn’t miss anything but maybe you all can confirm or deny that.
Impending Doom: This was the actual first band I saw get up there and I’m not very familiar with their music. By their name I would have expected maybe doom but what I got was a metalcore band up there with shrieks and breakdowns and every song sounding the same. Not impressed.
3 Inches of Blood: This was really the band I wanted to see as I’ve never seen them live. And usually it’s shows like this where I’d have to wade through a ton of unfamiliar or shitty bands to get to them. 3IOB is one of my favorite bands of the modern era and the new album ‘Long Live Heavy Metal‘ just might make my year end list. So of course my anticipation is high. The one thing to be concerned with by watching a webcast is not so much the video quality which on this night was grainy and pixelated but the audio quality. You can’t have a vocalist like Cam Pipes up there and be buried in a wall noise. I have to say the vocal part of the PA system was working a bit too good on this evening. Cam sounded so clear that you could actually make out every thing he was singing and how it was difficult to keep up the quality you’d find on a cd. He pulled it off like a champ. And actually the whole band did really well with Justin handling quite a bit of the screeches on older tunes. The set was way to short though at only 30 minutes but the band made up for it with energy and crowd interaction. I would like to see 3IOB on a bill though that isn’t dominated by bands from much more extreme genres of metal because it just seems out of place. The rest of the bands are of a much more extreme variety including Devildriver but I’ll get to them.
Job for a Cowboy: Oh boy. Bring on the hate. I mean bring it if you like this band because I thought they sucked complete ass. I am not a fan of chaotic, frenetic metal with minimal to no structure anyway and this did not help the cause in the slightest. Maybe they sound better on cd but live…..I wanted to punch Jonny Davy in the mouth just to get him to shut up. No distinction between songs and the screaming were more of someone that needed to be sedated and straight jacketed then actually fronting a metal band. Even the music itself was all over the place. I don’t mind off time signatures and whatever but this was just a collective cluster fuck of weedily noise and screaming with no direction. Don’t worry guys, you had a fan or two in the chat room too.
Dying Fetus: You know what, I never thought I’d like much of Dying Fetus knowing full well they had a large following and not too much into slam but I was suitably impressed by these guys. I like riffs and hooks and there was plenty of meaty ones flying this night. And John Gallagher was very appreciative of the crowd after every song. I think this was the exact opposite of JFAC in that not only was it cohesive music amid the chaos but I think Dying Fetus is a band I’d rather hear live then on cd. But they accomplished a goal which is to make me go check them out more in the future. Definitely in the top 3 of the night in terms of a quality show. There was no set list from DNA but I’m sure it wasn’t different in L.A.
The Faceless: Another band I came into knowing nothing about. They got second billing so they must be uber popular right? So how did I not know about them? Because I don’t pay much attention to tech death which is all the rage right now. I find it boring and the Faceless did not change my mind about the genre. In fact I didn’t pay much attention to them after the first couple of songs and went to go do other things. Sorry fans of this but if you can point me to a tech death band that isn’t full of weedily weedily noise then it would be appreciated. Abysmal Dawn gets lumped in that group though I don’t see it but if there are other bands like that then I’ll give it a go.
Devildriver: And now for the main event. I’ve missed these guys so many times in concert it’s not even funny. It doesn’t help that I became bored with them two albums ago. But I had heard that live they’re a great band so I was intrigued. Their set this night had it’s ups and downs for sure. One interesting thing about seeing a show like this is the sound checks. Usually they’re an annoying 10 minutes of listening to a guy yell into the mic over and over “Yeah Yeah Yeah…No…No….No”. This time though there seemed to some issues with the microphone causing fits and the backup mic being used. Plus the tech kept yelling ‘Cup of Soup’ which made me giggle. The exchange of conversation between him and the sound guy at DNA was interesting with the sound guy stating he’d have to tweek it when Dez got up there it was the best he could do. After all of that the band came out and kicked it in gear and Dez yelled “turn me the fuck up”. As it turned out the mic was never going to be an issue. In fact they should have spent more time with the volume from the guitars and drums. Devildriver indeed is a great live band. Even when the music is not spot on or Dez screamed himself into speaking lyrics they still got the crowd involved and the setlist was pretty solid across the board. Devildriver is also one of the bands that gets highly annoyed when everyone is not in the pit as it was referenced multiple times to not be a pussy and get in there. Though one particular time Dez did say to not do any of that karate moshing bullshit and if people didn’t like it to suck his balls. I hate to break it to Dez but Chelsea Grin was not on the bill so there shouldn’t have been any of that anyways. I can’t say I’d want to still see them in person but yeah Devildriver lives up to the hype from what I can see on my computer screen(as unmetal as that sounds).
Here are some final impressions and notes:
- For 25 bucks I think the people there should have been exhausted with the amount of metal pouring out of the place. Though not all of the bands were winners it was quite a bit of music.
- On the flip side 5 or 6 songs on a set can be too short. Some of these bands just started to get in a groove and then had to wrap it up. Crews spent as much time on stage as the band did. You travel to 25 to 30 dates going thousands of miles and doing interviews and shit just to spend 30 minutes on stage seems kind of wrong.
- Just before Devildriver took the stage I found out our new friends in Gemanon were in attendance there via their Facebook. So that was kind of fun having a conversation via Facebook while they were live and I was watching from the eye in the sky. Also they were stoked for The Faceless(sorry guys that I was kind of hard on them) but I delivered on my promise to mention Gemanon when asked if I was going to do a show review so there ya go:)
- I’d like to reiterate that it probably sounds lame to watch a metal concert from a computer at home. Maybe even lazy and cheap but honestly I would have paid to only see 2 bands tops and a third was a surprise bit of enjoyment. For the hassle of driving to the city(gas,bridge toll, and parking) and being dead ass tired with a long drive back home to be semi satisfied with the evening I think it’s a perfect set up. Yes I could be one of those guys that doesn’t care who’s playing as long as it’s metal but if I was one of those people I wouldn’t be doing a website about my interests would I?
Make sure you check out this site or the related DNA Lounge site on Wednesday night as we’ll be doing this again for Death Angel and Sepultura.