The A.N.C. @ The Cleveland Agora


ANC in Cleveland 17/7/201617 July 2016

Agora Theater & Ballroom; Cleveland, OH

Sunless Sky, Two Dead Roses, Garblejunk, Otep, Suicide Machines, Helmet, Green Jelly, Ministry, Next to None

When I heard the Republican National Convention was going to be held in Cleveland, my first thought was that there was going to be an awesome punk rock show going on somewhere in town at the same time.

I was half right. The A.N.C. wan’t a punk show, but it was fucking awesome.

Me with Vermin Supreme

Me with Vermin Supreme

I made it to the Mistake on the Lake a few hours before the show to join a march to shut down Trump and the RNC. It’s both good and bad that this was a peaceful protest. Good because I didn’t get hurt and bad because it doesn’t make for a very good story. The most exciting part was that I got a selfie with presidential candidate Vermin Supreme.

Then we hoofed it from 18th street all the way back to 50th in time to catch the first notes of the evening. I wished we would have stayed a little longer. Sunless Sky were a good band, but not really my thing. They had a sound like an updated Judas Priest.* It was good enough to get my head bobbing and their singer had an awesome set of pipes, but I was hoping for some incendiary political commentary.

Things didn’t really start to heat up until Garblejunk took the stage. Unlike when I saw them at Scio Showcase a few years ago they didn’t sound Garble-y or Junky. I was somewhat disappointed, but their acoustic metal came through the PA crisp and clear. A good sound coupled with good energy made for an enjoyable set. The best part was looking at the crowd and seeing the looks of confusion… followed quickly by smiles.

The Suicide Machines

The Suicide Machines

One of the main reasons I bought the ticket was to see Otep. I saw her perform at Ozzfest in 2004 and it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Sadly, her performance Sunday was about the same length as at Ozzfest. They rocked their asses off for the half-hour they had and I enjoyed every minute of it, but I would have loved to have heard more than five songs from them.

While it was an awesome show with a great eclectic mix of artists it would have been nice to have had more time with a few of them. I also didn’t care much for having to bounce back and forth between the theater and the ballroom, but I suppose having both stages going was the only way to fit all the bands into 6 hours. Still, it was a little much.

After Otep I stepped into the smaller room and found myself immediately bored by the Suicide Machines. It was such awful noise that I took a minute to check my Facebook. Then they broke into the catchy “War Profiteering Is Killing Us All” and I realized they were a hardcore band and supposed to be awful noise. From that moment I was hooked. I’m not a big fan of the clean guitars of ska, but in a live setting it is pretty enjoyable. And I think I was the only person in the room to cheer when the singer asked if there were any factory or steelworkers in the audience. It was the kind of political rabble rousing I paid my hard earned money to see.

Helmet

Helmet

Unfortunately, I missed the end of their set in order to get a good spot for Helmet. Helmet are dinosaurs. They started in the 90s and Page Hamilton is only two years younger than Al Jourgenson, which means he was born in the neolithic era when bands had to carve their instruments out of rocks. They’re also dinosaurs in the sense that they produce fucking monstrous sounds. You can say “It’s a shame I didn’t get to see them back in the day,” but I’m not sure how they could have been any better in 1996 than they are in 2016.** Then after they were done I felt like I’d been trampled by a herd of brontosauruses. (This concludes the prehistoric-comparison paragraph of this post.)

I wasn’t very impressed with Green Jelly, but I suppose that is somewhat to be expected. When you spend 30 years touring as a joke band and you only have one hit you’re bound to disappoint a lot of people. I was outside smoking when they did “Three Little Pigs” so I only caught the end. I did catch “Anarchy in Bedrock” but it wasn’t the same. By the time their singer climbed onto a ladder to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” I was bored. I managed to find a chair and waited for Ministry to hit the stage.

Ministry

Ministry

MC Jello Biafra wasn’t quite as cool as I’d hoped for. I liked his political rants; though I don’t agree with everything he said. There wasn’t enough time for him to get his point across and he mainly just introduced the bands. I would have paid just as much money to go to an even that was just him, Al Jourgenson and Otep giving speeches, but I think a few other fans just wanted the music. Surprisingly, there were a few Trump fans in the building too. I wonder if they know they paid money to watch a refugee and a lesbian perform.

Ministry is a perennially awesome band. This was the third time I’ve seen them and though I haven’t cared too much for their last few albums it may have been my favorite performance. I loved their opener “Hail To His Majesty.” It seemed like a new song written just to mock Trump, but it turns out it’s on their most recent album From Beer To Eternity. They played a few songs from Rio Grande Blood, which is my favorite of their recent albums, but things didn’t get totally awesome until they hit the one-two punch of “N.W.O.” and “Just One Fix.” The best thing was that they’ve updated them up a little so it wasn’t the same performance I’ve already seen twice before.

Ministry

Ministry

I was shocked to hear them break into “Thieves” and “Stigmata.” I’ve never heard those songs live. I had to hand my buddy the Otep CD I’d bought so I could hop into the pit for the latter. When they left the stage and the lights didn’t come on I wondered how they could top that, but they did “Psalm 69,” “So What” and “Khyber Pass” as an encore. They wrapped up with DEVO’s “Gates of Steel.”

From there the show deteriorated to the point where it was just a commercial for Surgical Meth Machine, Al Jourgenson’s new project. The giant projector continued to play videos with some dancier music in the background. I was about to head out when I saw Uncle Al and guitarist Sin Quirin pop around the side of the stage. I managed to make my way over and get a handshake from both of them. I’m pretty sure that was the highlight of my night.

For some reason there was another band playing after Ministry, but I didn’t stay to check them out. I had been on my feet for 8 hours and still had a long drive home. I was ready to leave and I even called in sick the next day to get a little extra rest.

It was all worth it.

 

*Before you take this as an insult let me point out that I am a fan of Judas Priest. If I wished to insult you I would have compared you to Iron Maiden, who for some reason I’ve never gotten into.

**I ran into the drummer later on and made a comment about his Local H t-shirt. He told me they’ll be on tour with that band in the fall so they may be featured in another post this year.

Fiona Apple “Tidal”


FionaAppleTidal(23 July 1996, Columbia)

A few weeks ago I saw that Tidal was trending on Twitter. I had already planned to do this post so I clicked to see what people were saying. I thought they were talking about Fiona Apple’s magnificent 1996 debut. With the 20th anniversary coming up it made sense. The first tweet linked to an article about how Apple was trying to buy Tidal. Well, this confused me, but then I read it was about tech giant Apple wanting to buy a music streaming service Jay-Z started.

Well, that makes more sense. No one cares about a great piece of music from 20 years ago.

But I wasn’t completely naive to think others still care about Fiona Apple. According to her Wikipedia page the album received awesome acclaim from Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Slate Magazines and is featured in 1001 Albums to Listen to Before you Die.

And then, of course, there is that video. To males of my generation Apple was one of the ultimate sex symbols thanks to “Criminal.” It’s worth noting that this was before the slut-pop explosion of the late 90’s featuring Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and P!nk. Sure, there were other sexy videos at the time, but I can’t remember any of them. I can barely remember any from Britney, Christina or P!nk any more. But “Criminal” is permanently etched in my brain. I think that video may have jump started my pituitary gland into early onset puberty. And now that I’m older I still love this video. Especially the end part where the dish detergent floats up in the air. What the hell is that all about?

But the greatest thing is that the song is about a woman admitting she was wrong, and that’s something we don’t get to hear often enough.

 

It seems disrespectful to lump Apple in with all of the other slut-pop singers. About the only thing she had in common with them was the gratuitous partial nudity (which should be noted only occurred in one video). Aside from that she had more in common with Adele; a sultry voice, jazzy music, lack of choreography and actual talent. If Miley Cyrus’ genre of music is like a romantic comedy, Fiona Apples’ is a serious drama.

It’s also worth noting that Apple never seemed particularly comfortable with her role as rock star/sex symbol. From the “the world is bullshit” acceptance speech she made when receiving a Video Music Award to dating Marilyn Manson to her current status as eccentric artist she never seemed to relish stardom or bask in it. I don’t think shes done extremely well weathering the storms of fame, but she’s done a lot better than Kurt Cobain.

And aside from that one megahugegiganticenourmous hit song there are another nine great tunes. I’ve never cared too much for opener “Sleep to Dream.” I think it may have to do with the instrumentation. I’d prefer piano and drums to the weird backward bass loops. “Shadowboxer” has always been a favorite for it’s driving piano riff. “The First Taste” is interesting and has a bit of an island feel even without steel drums. Because of the line “There’s too much going on…” “Sullen Girl” has always reminded me of “Talking Old Soldiers” by Elton John. They don’t have much in common except for the piano and that one line, but it’s enough for me to make a connection.

My one problem with the album is how much of it is piano/vocal ballads. They’re great songs, but it’s not the kind of music I tend to pull down off the shelf very often. Of course, I can’t imagine what the songs would sound like with a more prominent backing band.

fionaappleBut the lyrics more than make up for any issues I may have. It’s weird and somewhat worrisome that I find the ramblings of this crazy girl so relatable, but with all the copies of this album that sold I can’t have been the only one. My favorite is from the closer “Carrion”: “My feel for you boy, Is decaying in front of me, Like the carrion of a murdered prey.”

That’s right, she’s comparing her emotions to roadkill. This is truly a woman after my own heart.

 

Damn the Years!


bargain_binI’m not the only person who tends to browse through CD bargain bins at gas stations and dollar stores, right? Even if I go in for a 12 pack of pop and a few rolls of toilet paper I still usually end up in front of a rack of CDs for the low, low price of $6 a piece.

It’s kind of a silly thing to do when you think about it. It’s not like I’m going to find some lost gem lurking among Joe Walsh’s But Seriously, Folks… or the Best of Linda Ronstadt. It’s just something I’ve always done. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from any of them aside from maybe a Bob Marley cassette. That was years and years ago. You can tell from the fact that I bought a Bob Marley cassette.

But a few months ago I was in a Dollar General and I noticed something really strange. Sure, there was still Fleetwood Mac, Black Sabbath Vol. 4 and numerous unofficial greatest hits releases, but there was also Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger, Nine Inch Nails’ Pretty Hate Machine and Stone Temple Pilots’ Tiny Music… 

That just didn’t make sense to me. These bins are for the music of old people. Poison, BTO and Neil Diamond. Young people music doesn’t belong in these bins. When did they change that rule? Wait… did they change that rule? I’ve been denying this for years as I heard Nirvana and Weezer in Walmart and Pearl Jam started playing on the muzak at the gas station, but I think I listen to old people music now.

Soon they’ll start calling it classic rock and I’ll have to start browsing a different section at the record store. Damn. You live long enough and just more and more bad stuff starts happening.

I always hoped I’d die before I got old…

Happy Independence Day


While I don’t think anything can top last years post of the Descendents’ “Merican” I have to try something new.

This ode to the Reagan years seems really fitting now that we have another celebrity candidate vowing to “Make America Great Again.”

 

Happy Monday


I had meant to write posts last week for both Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice, but if you’ve been following you already know that I accomplished neither of those goals. I was busy at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium on Father’s Day on the following Monday… well, I’m just a little lazy.

So to make up for it I thought I’d try to cheer you up on the weeks least favorite day.

Happy Monday.

New Music Roundup Part 2


Fisher-Price Little People Animal Songs Sing-A-LongI’ve seen a few posts where people list the music they’ve bought and give a little commentary on it. I find these posts pretty interesting so I thought I’d try my hand at it. I was hoping to make this a twice yearly thing, but blame the state of the music industry for not putting out anything good for me to buy.

*This list does not include anything I have borrowed from the library and ripped to my computer.

13 June 2015 (Walmart New Philadelphia, OH)

Fisher-Price Little People – Animal Songs Sing-Along     $13

Nobody told me how different my music buying habits would change when I had a child, but I can’t expect her to enjoy GWAR or Acid Bath the way I do so I had to buy her something for long car rides. All joking aside though the guitar solo on “The Farmer in the Dell” is pretty bad ass and the drums possess a great laid-back Ringo quality.

 

29 June (Browse & Buy Resale Shop New Philadelphia, OH)

Roadrunner United: The All Star Sessions      $2.50

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Automatic            $2.50

I bought the Roadrunner United album when it first came out, but lost it somewhere along the way. It’s a really unique album where the label tapped four musicians to be team captains who led 57 artists from 45 past and present Roadrunner bands and produced the album. It’s definitely a one of a kind album and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to satisfy a metal craving.

I completely forgot about the Jesus and Mary Chain album. I think I still have it…

 

Greatest Shit9 July (Amazon.com)

KMFDM: Greatest Shit   $17.49

Finntroll: Blodsvept         $8.99

I picked up the KMFDM album after seeing En Esch last year and I hate to just get one album at a time so I grabbed the next thing on my wish list.

 

25 Oct (FYE, New Towne Mall New Philadelphia, OH)

Alice in Chains – Live & Unreleased  $3.99

Nirvana – Unplugged in New York     $5

Unplugged in New York was a replacement. My copy was scratched to hell. I grabbed the Live & Unreleased promo disc and was quickly disappointed when I realized it was song that were released later on their Live album. I’ll have to put it on eBay to get some other poor sucker.

 

GWAR-Scumdogs-of-the-UniverseI went on a bit of a GWAR kick after seeing them live last November. My collection isn’t complete yet, but I’m getting pretty close.

10 Nov (Amazon.com)

GWAR – RagNaRok  $8.35

11 Nov (Ebay.com ( jnientertainment ( 17042 ))

GWAR – Carnival of Chaos  $7.34

 

14 Nov (Ebay.com (swmcom11 ( 267 ))

GWAR – Scumdogs of the Universe – $20.74

 

The Best of Mozart6 Dec (Browse & Buy Resale Shop New Philadelphia, OH)

Elton John – Reg Strikes Back  $2.50

The Best of Mozart                    $2.50

I used to wonder how Elton John could go from megarockstar 70s icon to virtually unknown in the 80s. Then I listened to Reg Strikes Back. Have you ever heard it? No? There’s a reason for that.

The Mozart album is pretty good. It features cuts from his entire career. From his humble beginnings playing cover symphonies in Hamburg nightclubs, through his time as a backup player with James Brown, Little Richard and others and even his much chagrined “Fat Mozart” period.

 

20 February 2016 (Amazon.com)

Foo Fighters – Big Me                     $4

The Tea Party – Edges of Twilight  $ 3.91

Glueleg – Heroic Doses                   $ 3.97

Stay away from mikeladano.com. Seriously. If you go on that site you’ll end up reading about some awesome band that you’ve never heard of and the next thing you know they’re on your Amazon wish list. I mean, I don’t regret any of these purchases (Except the Big Me single which is just the single and not the Maxi CD single (Who knew there was such a difference?)) But I was perfectly happy not knowing there was an awesome band called Glueleg and if it hadn’t been for that damn website I probably never would have known.

 

Beezelbubba28 May 2016 (FYE, New Philadelphia, OH)

Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral $9.99

The Dead Milkmen – Beezelbubba       $1.00

I was looking to see if they had any Dead Kennedys when I came across the Dead Milkmen disc and I instantly knew I had to have it. Because it was “Buy 1 Get 1 for $1” day at FYE I replaced my old copy of the Downward Spiral while I was at it.

 

29 May (Bandcamp.com)

Mr. Clit & The Pink Cigarettes – Haircuts $5

(Amazon.com)

Local H – Hey Killer                            $8.99

The Descendents – Everything Sux   $9.49

Bad Guys – Bad Guynaecology         $8.99

Hey Killer is probably the best album of 2015 and nearly everyone missed it. Well, except for the guy that wrote that article telling me how great it was.

 

Axl Versus The Internet


Axl Trump

Axl Trump

On May 29th I got an email from WordPress notifying me of a  DMCA take down notice. It appears someone had a problem with a photo I used on my site and complained of me using their copyrighted material without permission.

OK, I get that. I often google words or phrases and find a picture that fits what I want to say and post it. I figure most of the stuff that shows up high on a google search is done by people who aren’t extremely worried about copyright infringement or has been shared so many times it’s nearly impossible to decipher who is the real owner. (I do ask photographers at concerts I attend to use their photos. Most people are happy for the exposure.)

So I figure’d I’d just stepped on some local photographers toes and was genuinely sorry, but then I read further down the letter which informed me that the company making the complaint was Web Sheriff of London and the copyright holder was…

Axl Gaga

Axl Gaga

Wait for it…

Axl Rose.

That’s right. You’ve seen the picture. Axl is wearing a red bandanna and sporting a Fu Manchu. His bottom lip is pulled back over his teeth and he looks ridiculous. I used it in my What’s Wrong With Axl Rose? post. I read on Billboard a week later that Axl’s goal is to wipe this image from the internet completely.

Seems like another screw just came loose from Axlbot 2016.

Axl Rose (and most performers) do retain rights to professionally taken photos of themselves so there is a legal precedent for this (even if the newspaper who took the photo disagrees with the decision and it is a total dick move), but remember that time Axl was arrested in St. Louis for inciting a riot? I bet he doesn’t own the rights to those pictures.

Axl Simmons

Axl Simmons

So fuck you Axl.

Oh, and by the way, I haven’t copyrighted any of these images. Feel free to use them, share them and spread them around like a bad case of crabs. If we all work hard enough, hopefully they’ll make it back to Axl.

 

 

 

 

Nobody likes me...

Nobody likes me…