Archive for the ‘Concerts’ Category

Motorhead w/ Clutch and Valient Thorr, 2/15/11, First Avenue

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

motorhead

I missed Clutch the last time they came through town because they where on something of a strange bill, playing with Children of Bodom (who I’d like to see at some point) and Black Label Society (who I’m indifferent about). The tickets were a bit steep to see just one band that I really wanted to see. I was in something of the same boat with this show; Clutch and Valient Thorr are two of my favorite bands, and while I’ve listened to a bit of Motorhead over the years, I’m not a die hard fan. Still, they’re on my list of iconic bands I owe it to myself to see, so I decided to go check them out with Rygar.

After stopping by to pick up Rygar (and meet his incredibly cute new daughter), we headed over to the show, where for the first time in pretty much ever we were EARLY. So we stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe for a few beers.* When we saw the line outside the door shrink to manageable levels, we headed over and found some prime real estate to check out the show. Shortly after, we were greeted by Chad, the drummer from Jabberwocky, who is a huge Clutch fan (and who I’ve seen at every show).

After a short wait, Valient Thorr took the stage and did what they did best – saving the world through the power of rock and/or roll. They’ve easily become one of my favorite live bands, although it is much more fun to see them in a smaller venue. Still, they put on an AWESOME show, as always.

Clutch came up next, and while I didn’t keep track of their setlist, I know that Rygar did. So as soon he posts it, I’ll copy it. They played a set filled with some of their heavier numbers, and I wonder if that isn’t a hint of what’s coming up on their next album; time will tell. They were solid, and they have by far the best rhythm section in rock.

Motorhead was next. And Motorhead was LOUD. And continued to get louder with EVERY SINGLE SONG. I’m only familiar with a very small portion of their catalog, so I didn’t recognize a whole lot, but it was solid, no frills, honest rock and roll, which is ALWAYS a pleasure to see. We stuck around for about half the set, decided that our ears had been sufficiently punished and headed out.

* The Hard Rock still brings back a strange combination of wonderful and terrible memories for me due to the Neighborhood Flash.

Eluveitie w/ 3 Inches of Blood, Holy Grail, and System Divide, 2/09/11, Station 4

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

I really went to this show just to see 3 Inches of Blood, but I stuck around for a bit of Eluveitie as well.

Since I’m pretty much the only person I know who likes 3 Inches of Blood, I was on the fence about checking out this show, since I would most likely have to go alone. After a long day at the office, I was feeling pretty spent, and had a cold related headache to boot. In the end, I decided to suck it up and cure my ails with some serious metal at one of my favorite clubs, Station 4.

I love parking in lowertown St Paul, as for shows at Station 4 I’ve never had to park further than a block away, and I’ve always parked for FREE. I showed up a bit late, as is fairly standard for me, just in time to catch the last half of Holy Grail’s set. I’ve seen Holy Grail previously, when they opened up for 3 Inches of Blood at the Triple Rock back in ’09. They seemed to have grown into their sound a bit more, although their live mix wasn’t great. Soon enough, it was time for 3 Inches of Blood, who were a little loose in the beginning of their set, but got back into form quickly. Since it was an all ages show, it was a pretty interesting mix of people in the crowd; serious thrash metal fans in patched denim headbanging, and the usual random dudes who seem to be there for the violence of the pit. I managed to get damn near tackled by one such dude, but that’s metal shows for you. I would have liked to see 3 Inches of Blood play a full headlining set, but maybe they’ll come back later this year once they have a new album out.

After a short break, Eluveitie was up. A band from Switzerland, they play folk metal. Since I didn’t really know what to expect (not having done a lot of research beforehand), I expected something along the lines of Finntroll. I was pleasantly surprised to find they were more like In Flames, except with flute and hurdy gurdy.

Wait, what?

Yup, hurdy gurdy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kb8WGig0MLU[/youtube]

It was pretty funny, because from where I was standing I couldn’t actually see what one of the band members was playing. Turns out it was the hurdy gurdy. I can’t imagine how much of a nightmare it was to run sound for a metal band with lute, hurdy gurdy, and flute. Still, they put on a great live show and I was inspired enough to want to pick up an album.

WWE RAW Live, 2/04/11, Target Center

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

So this requires a bit of explaining.

At some point last year, I can’t remember exactly when, I came home from one of my Monday night rehearsals to find my wife watching wrestling on TV. We laughed about it, and she explained that she was watching it because one of the girls in her tumbling class was a big wrestling fan, and she wanted to see what it was all about.

The next week, she was watching it again. Shortly after that, I started watching with her. What can I say… IT’S FUN.

I was a huge wrestling fan as a kid, watching AWA on Sunday mornings, and WWF when it took off in the eighties. I lost all interest in it once I got older, kind of putting in the same boat as NASCAR – just not my thing.

A few months back my weekly email from Ticketmaster contained info about a WWE RAW Live show coming to the Target Center, and I instantly started teasing my wife about it being her Valentine’s Day present. I was, of course, completely serious. So we headed out to watch some wrasslin’, having NO idea what to expect.

Since we have only watched WWE on TV, we were expecting jumbotrons, and flames, and maybe steel cage matches. The traveling setup that they use is quite a bit smaller, without the huge stage or pyrotechnics. I imagine that’s difficult to travel with, especially since they have matches Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday in different cities.* At first we thought the ring looked REALLY small, but once the wrestlers started doing their thing it seemed to grow.

The funny thing about watching wrestling live, as opposed to watching it on TV, is that it appears MUCH more realistic up close – because regardless of the fact that the outcome might be already decided, these guys really do hit each other. Sure, the fake punches look more fake when you’re closer and the camera isn’t masking them, but you can’t really fake throwing a guy off the top rope. One of the reasons my wife got interested in watching wrestling (other than watching dudes with crazy ab muscles) is the acrobatics involved, and that has changed a lot since I was a kid. In my day, they just jumped off the ropes. Now, they do double backflips and all variety of crazy twists, except instead of landing on a padded floor mat, they land on a folding chair.

Have I mentioned that they hit each other with chairs? Frequently?

The other change that has happened since I was a kid is that there are now “Divas”, female wrestlers – who also hit each other with chairs, while wearing heels. It’s remarkably impressive.

We had a great time. it was fun to get out and do something completely out of the ordinary for us, and also to boo at the villains and cheer for the heroes. I also got to see dudes totally wail on each other with chairs and some girl fights, and you can never go wrong with that.

* Which is a pretty crazy schedule, really, for how physically demanding their jobs are.