Friday, October 24, 2008

After seeing WATAIN I have the cleanest hair in town!!!

I'm not certain what manner of animal skull is pictured in the photo to the left. I'm guessing either lamb or goat. There were three others strategically placed around the stage. And any doubt one had as to the authenticity of said skulls was wiped away within about 20 seconds. There was no mistaking where that smell was coming from. They also had two candlesticks under each skull so once those were lit the smell really intensified. There was some incense burning as well but I think it was for purely ceremonial purposes. Nothing was going to be able to overpower the stench emanating from the skulls. So yes...Watain had, as promised, animal skulls. And they had blood too. But apparently not too much as the only appearance of it was when bassist/vocalist Erik Dannielson returned to the stage for the encore with a fresh coating on his face. Reports from other stops on the tour have the band pouring buckets of blood upon themselves before taking the stage as well as Erik spitting blood into the audience. So we got a toned down show from a sanguine standpoint. But the band more than made up for the lack of gore with their set. Local act Resigned to Fate started off the evening's festivities with a brief set that apparently is the band's last. There music was a blend of black metal and classic thrash. Their set started off promisingly before derailing into monotony, a trait that unfortunately befalls many bands of the genre. I'm not really sure why the band had decided to call it quits. With some guidance I could easily see them becoming a vital act on the national scene. Perhaps their lead guitarist was responsible. Of his numerous tattoos the most striking was the one that arced just above his navel:

BLACK METAL [except in Old English font]

That tattoo shows a level of commitment to a specific genre that I think many musicians would be unwilling to make. I seriously doubt that when Dwight Yoakum takes his shirt off at the end of the day that Mrs. Yoakum gets treated to "Honkytonk Country" emblazoned across his belly.

A visit to Resigned to Fate's page on Myspace offered zero clues as to why last night was their final show. I like to assume that it had something to do with a reluctance on the other four members of the band to get "Black Metal" permanently inked onto their torsos.

Resigned to Fate was followed by Book of Black Earth. This Seattle quintet played an uninspired set of blackened death metal. Repeated attempts by the band to get the assembled crowd to form some sort of pit resulted in epic fail. The crowd was clearly unmoved by these guys.

Atlanta's Withered graced the stage lit only by several orange lights placed at various points. The lighting provided the perfect accompaniment to the band's concoction of black, thrash, and doom metal. Things were finally taking a turn for the better.

Watain hit the stage hell-bent on validating their position as one of the top black metal acts in the world. The best black metal acts straddle the fine line between earnestness and parody. The corpsepaint and blatantly Satanic lyrics and imagery so often prominent can be hard to take seriously. And the names of the bands and members will have you doing Google searches to find out what obscure demon inspired this name or that name. Often one gets the impression that the band members are "in on the joke" and have their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks.

Watain seem to be 100% serious in their service to their dark lord. They're certainly one of the few bands whose members aren't resorting to "stage names". But more importantly Watain backs it up where it truly counts: these guys rawk!

Starting off with "Legion of the Black Light" - the blistering opening track from the band's most recent release Sworn to the Dark - Watain ripped through a set taken mostly from SttD but also covering the band's earlier works. The crowd, which had pretty much been lulled into a catatonic state by the opening acts, responded with extreme fervor. Watain returned the enthusiasm by never easing up. Their set was relentless and certainly helped by the new found sense of melody that they seem to have discovered with SttD [a style I refer to as black & roll].

But all good things must come to an end. Watain called it an evening after an epic rendition of "Stellarvore" that had the crowd screaming along:


It was the perfect way to end a perfect set. I left not only wanting to run home and listen to my Watain CDs. I left vowing to try to make it to Austin to see the band again tomorrow night [work pretty much precludes my being able to make it to tonight's show in Houston]. I also now have a couple more awesome shirts that are pretty much guaranteed to shock.

And that leads me to why I now have the cleanest hair in town. You know how your hair smells "smoky" after spending an evening in a smoky bar? My hair had a certain smell to it as well. I'm not really sure how to describe it. I suppose if it were to be a Glad Plug-In fragrance it would be called "Rotting Carcass". I washed my hair as soon as I got home. But upon going to bed I could still smell that unmistakable scent. So I took a full blown shower which apparently only temporarily covered it up as I awoke to that smell again this morning. It's like the b.o. the valet had in that episode of Seinfeld. It clearly had no plans on going away anytime soon. So another shower took place during which I washed my hair with some fancy schmancy shampoo as well as a dandruff shampoo. That seems to have taken care of the odor. But I'll tell you...when I look at the photos below I can pick up traces of it all over again. Aah...the memories!!!

A quick note

I'd like to point out the precarious position I put myself in to take the photos posted below. I have a history of receiving some of the most severe eye injuries [one that nearly resulted in a cornea transplant]. So I'm a bit leery of pointed objects in the general vicinity of my face. Take a look at this photo:

What you've probably immediately noticed are the numerous spikes protruding from Watain's touring guitarist's shin guard. This gent [apologies...I don't know what his name is...let's call him Spike] spent a good deal of time onstage directly in front of me. Spike also had a tendency to prop his leg up on the monitor directly in front of me. This meant that Spikes spikes were literally a couple of inches from not only my face...but my eyes.

I considered reaching out and touching the spikes to see if they were made of metal or some sort of rubber or plastic. But I thought that Spike might not enjoy me touching his spikes and would show his disdain be sending said spikes through my skull. So I merely made sure his spikes didn't get to close to me.

The same can't be said for the douchenozzle next to me hoisting invisible oranges [you can see him holding one in the photo]. This was not the Ell-Hag referred to in my earlier post. No, this DN had invisible oranges in each hand and was clearly proud of his invisible fruit as he felt the need to swing and wave his arms all over the place. But it gets better.

Sometimes the DN would squeeze his invisible oranges. Of course this resulted in invisible orange juice spilling all over the place. We all know how sticky orange juice can get. Just imagine how treacherous it is when you can't see the orange juice. But he's not done yet.

After squeezing the life out of his invisible oranges he produces new invisible oranges in each hand. This is ridiculous. I'm not sure where he was hiding all of those invisible oranges. He seemed to have a veritable invisible fruit stand stashed in his pockets. And trust me, I wasn't the only one less than thrilled at having to deal with his invisible fruit hijinks.

That is why I am urging all concert venues to begin searching people for invisible fruit at entry. Invisible fruit is no doubt a part of a healthy diet but it has no business being brought into a performance space.

WATAIN photos

BREAKING NEWS: Mythological [???] creature sighted. For real!!!

Yes, yes...I know you're all waiting to hear about last night's black metal hootenanny. And it will happen later today.

But something occurred at the show that I felt was of such urgency that it should be shared ASAP. I witnessed a creature that I have never heard about. I've never even considered the possibility of its existence. But let me tell is definitely real.

I'm sure you're thinking that I saw Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, a chupacabra, or one of those Geico cavepersons. was something far more rare. Prepare yourself for complete shock as I tell you about...

The left-handed air guitarist.

I realize that you're thinking "lots of dunderheads at concerts play air guitar." And I'm not denying that. Hell, lots of 'em don't even need to be at a concert to break out their imaginary axe. But up to this point every air guitarist that I've seen has been of the right-handed variety.

Now you're thinking "so the guy plays air guitar with a different hand. What's the big deal?" I'll tell you what the big deal is. It's a very subtle difference that would likely only be noticed through careful observation of the Ell-Hag.

The Ell-Hag's right handed brethren, while playing their oxygenated instruments, are prone to raising the horns, throwing the goat, whatever you wanna call that hand sign that's of unknown origin [though credited to Ronnie James Dio]. But Ell-Hag does not do these things. No...he does something far more puzzling.

Ell-Hag hoists invisible oranges into the air.

Be wary of any Ell-Hags you may encounter. They may be a peaceful bunch. But then again the invisible fruit may be a sinister attempt to lower the defenses of those who cross its path. I will continue to keep my eyes open for another Ell-Hag. And you should as well. Only through combining our shared observations will we be able to put together a proper character profile befitting of a creature of such rarity.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stop the madness

I ask all perusers of this blog to join with me and help spread the word about a travesty of such cruelty that is being perpetrated not only in our country, but also around the world. Yes, I'm talking about the sales of mittens.

I know many people who would never purchase a rabbit's foot keychain. Everytime I see a three-legged bunny it gives me pause to think about how some assclown is walking around with that poor creatures foot attached to his keys under the guise that it will bring him "good luck".

The same goes for mittens. It has been in the past couple of hours that I was able to deduce why cats are running rampant across our fair lands. They're looking for their mittens. We all learned in nursery school that kittens without mittens shall receive no pie. And kitties love themselves some pie!

Of course these poor kittens mittens - mittens which were likely stolen from said kittens - are being sold in stores everywhere...especially now that the temperatures are starting to drop. The cats are not able to simply stroll into Target or Wal Mart or The Bon Marche to purchase mittens. Most retail establishments preclude animals entering their stores unless they are service animals.

So the cats have no option but to roam the streets in search of a pair of mittens that somebody has discarded haphazardly alongside the road. All for the sake of a getting a piece of pie.

So please...spread the word. DO NOT BUY MITTENS!!!

Better yet, take the money you would have purchased mittens with and use it to buy some pie to give the poor roaming kitties. They can has cheezburger...but they'd really prefer pie.

What I'm doing tonight

I'm going to go see Watain. Should be a good show based on this nugget from the band's website:

Hark in woe, infidels! One and a half year after their triumphant display of magic and death upon North American, Watain shall now return to those lands on a headliner tour. Due to the strict prohibitions of anything Satanic and Criminal passing over the border to USA, a lot of compromises had to be made on the last US tour regarding both members and stage-show. This time however, the full artillery shall be brought across the sea, in all it's terrible glory. The first date is on October 3rd and after that the wolves shall storm from Canada through USA on what shall constitute the last part of the monstrous crusade that has been the Fuck the World Tour.

The band's US distributor had this on their site:

WATAIN thirsts for BLOOD!

Release Date: -- [ 9/16/2008 ]


WATAIN needs at least 1 liter of blood for their live rites each night. Can you assist?

Likewise, if anyone can bring carrion(pig/sheep/other heads) to add to the feast let us know by sending an email to ajna @ theajnaoffensive . com. Be sure to let us know what city you'll be attending.

Recompense will be made when/where it can.

This sounds like guaranteed hijinks to me! I'll post a recap tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

FEY-dar - Tina on Letterman and SNL

I love Tina Fey. She's cute and witty and clever and seems to be as obsessed with pop culture as myself. But she's married so she and I are probably never going to happen. But I'm content with admiring her via television.
Tina's been all over the place lately. 30 Rock [consistently the best comedy on television since my beloved Arrested Development] recently won several Emmys. The second season was released on DVD a couple of weeks ago to give fans time to catch up before the third season premieres on October 30.

Oh yeah...she's been lampooning Vice President wannabe Sarah Palin quite successfully on Saturday Night Live.

Tina was on David Letterman's show this past Thursday and I couldn't help but feel that she had probably been booked to promote 30 Rock. But Dave seemed to want to talk about the Palin impersonations and Tina seemed fine with that. 30 Rock was almost entirely an afterthought to Dave. Oh's his show so I suppose that gives him the right to talk about whatever the heck he wants to talk about.
Something that came up during their conversation was whether or not the real Sarah Palin would be making an appearance on SNL. Tina said that Palin had contacted the show about dropping in. This certainly wouldn't be the first time that a politician has dropped in on SNL. Earlier this year, Hilary Clinton walked onstage while Amy Poehler was impersonating her. The desired effect seems to be to make the politicians appear more "human" by showing that they have a sense of humor and can laugh with everybody else at the exaggerated spoof of their idiosyncrasies [or, as in Palin's case, their general idiocy].

Jump ahead to Friday. The media is all abuzz with reports that Palin - the real Palin - would be appearing on SNL alongside "Fey-lin". The local NBC affiliate even plugged Palin's upcoming "drop-in" several times during their late news on Saturday night preceding SNL. So now everyone's expecting Palin to show up. Any surprise or spontaneity on the part of Palin or the show is completely sucked away. I think Palin's people were responsible for issuing the alerts. If SNL was in some sort of ratings quagmire I would suspect it of leaking the news. But SNL is experiencing the best ratings it's had in many, many years due largely to the "Fey-lin" appearances.

SNL starts off with "Fey-lin" making a speech during which the show cuts to a backstage shot of Palin standing alongside SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels. Then Alec Baldwin and Mark Wahlberg show up [Baldwin being Fey's co-star on 30 Rock; Wahlberg there to settle a score with Andy Samberg over Andy's Wahlberg impersonation the previous week] and generate the only real surprise of the opening. Palin eventually replaces "Fey-lin" at the lectern and delivers one of the least enthusiastic "Live from New's Saturday Night!"s I've ever witnessed. But she's not finished.
Palin pops up during the "Weekend Update" portion of the program apparently to deliver a witty bit the show's writers have prepared for her. She says that she's not going to do it because she feels it crosses the line. So a very pregnant [and I mean water's gonna break any moment pregnant] Amy Poehler does the bit which turns out to be a rap song about Palin and he kickass life in Alaska. Palin gets so caught up in it that she "raises the roof". Seated. Now I'm no expert on roof raisin'. But I'm pretty sure it can't be done from the comfort of one's seat. To really maximize your roof raisin' you gotta be standing up. But that's just me. I could be wrong [and sometimes am].

So a great big "Way to go!" Sarah Palin. You clearly have a tremendous sense of humor in addition to having your finger on the pulse of popular culture. You truly are a maverick.

[Please note the introduction of this blog's official Sarcasm Color]