Wow, what a show! Short, Fast, and Loud 10 Year Anniversary at 924 Gilman
Wow, what a show! is brought to you this week by Will Butler of To Live A Lie Records with photos by Sergio Amalfitano of Magnum XL Photos. If you take photos and like to write about punk shows (or if you and a friend wanna team up to do this) drop us a line at email@example.com with a sample review and pics, and maybe you too can be a MRR shitblogger! Now, take it away, Will…
First off, respect goes where it is deserved. I love MRR, but I also love Short Fast & Load magazine. From the early days of Chris Dodge interviewing the likes of HERESY ten years ago, up to today where Jeff and Athena from Six Weeks picked up and kept the magazine running, this has been one of my favorite magazines, especially since it focuses on fast hardcore and grindcore.
I have never traveled to the West Coast for a show, figured 2011 was the time, and this was the show. I was a little bummed to see LOW THREAT PROFILE played a show in the area a few weeks beforehand, but I was secretly hopeful that they might crash the show and play. No such luck on that front, but they are playing Chaos in Tejas with LÄRM!
So on to the show…
I was quite jet lagged after a seven hour flight into the Oakland/SF/Berkeley area. My friend Ziggy and I hit up Amoeba first, after that we found a restaurant run by a vegan cult to eat at, then headed on to the show with our friend Javad in tow. Following a pack of people off the BART train we eventually meandered down the bike path and over a few blocks and we were at the longest line of punks I’ve seen in a long time. Our small group got absorbed by a larger group which contained a Miami’s friend which was an awesome and odd coincidence. Bummer his band’s last show was the beginning of this year — RIP MEHKAGO NT.
After some stint of time waiting in the longest line ever, we were inside just as DHC is about to go on. I was fairly busy people-watching and getting my bearings on where I was for probably their whole set. I bobbed my head some, but didn’t really register that this was the first band I had ever seen play on the West Coast. After the set I realized I was standing right behind Shawn from CAPITALIST CASUALTIES and excitedly talked to him for a little bit. Sorry DRUNK HARDCORE, wish I gave your band a little bit more of a chance but my own hyperactivity is a wicked mistress.
Next up was IRON LUNG. I have historically been out of town anytime they had played near me in the past five years until I saw them for the first time in 2010 at Maryland Deathfest and they wowed me beyond wow. Super excited to see them again. I met Mike from HUMMINGBIRD OF DEATH for the first time and he was right up near the front. I ended up stuck between him and a guy with a fancy camera, that is where I was when all hell broke loose as the band ripped it up on stage. I tried snapping a few pictures on my crappy digital camera but was bumped and knocked into camera man to my right a little too much for my liking. Killer set by the band — no witty banter like at MDF but I was impressed and happy.
Next to play was VOETSEK, a supergroup of a band including Ami Lawless who contributes to SF&L zine and is the front woman of the band, Athena of Six Weeks on bass, Peter of POPULATION REDUCTION and also a cooking column in the zine, and finally the very courteous Scotty Karate from Tank Crimes Records. The band (don’t hate me) is super sloppy live, but that is really what I’d expect from a bunch of punks playing thrash metal. There were some killer guitar sweeps, I can respect that!
PLUTOCRACY went on next. They were having some sampler issues, but once they got up and running they delivered. The fact that I hadn’t slept in almost a full day was catching up to me but I enjoyed the band. Don’t know how often they play but I’m pretty sure it is a rarity. One guy in the band had his mic cocked upwards, Lemmy-style!
LACK OF INTEREST were the second to last band of the night. I’m not sure what was up, maybe my sleepy stupor, but LOI didn’t really deliver for me. I was super excited to finally see them and just kind of ended up being a sour taste in my mouth. If you disagree with me or you’re in the band, just go with the jetlag excuse — I had probably been awake for 24 hours at this point. Just wasn’t feeling it, was bummed! I feel better about missing MDF this year now.
BRUTAL TRUTH went on last, and my dear sir Rich Hoak, you’re going to hate me, your band was the only band I missed play at the fest. I needed rest and we needed to catch the only way we knew back, which was by way of the BART, and its last departure was 15 minutes from leaving us stuck to try to figure out the 1am bus route. We booked it out of there without an eyeful of their cowboy-hatted front man.
Rest rest rest rest. Woke up and just bummed around San Fran and found foods to eat and ran into the same 303 Miami clique from the day before in the downtown area. They were on their way to Haight Street and we had just come from a brewery my friend wanted to check out, where I got a delicious homemade ginger beer. Pretty sure we went out seeing the sites all wrong, but we both knew what we were in store for that night and needed a nice simple day.
We knew about the mega-line from the night before and got there quite a bit early. Neither of us wanted to miss a band play. When we got in there I found some nachos and non-meat taco meat to eat on to tide me over for the night… very nice of the Gilman folks for giving out some food for us! POPULATION REDUCTION took the stage. I really only know the band because their label has been nice enough to send me free copies of their CD in the past. I didn’t know they were a two piece. The highlight of the set was when they called for Dave from PLF to take the stage and sing. Dave is a man among men and I had never seen him sing sans a guitar. He belted out the song and I remembered him hunkering down to bellow into the microphone. The band finished their set sans Dave. Two-piece bands are great!
A band who I cannot say more great things about took the stage: PLF came from Texas to bring the grindcore laced with thrash mayhem to the city of Berkeley, and the mayhem was indeed brought. My little bubble of insecurity of being out of town was popped by their onslaught. They played for a surprisingly long time but the more the better in my opinion. Frank and Dave never go wrong in my book — really the perfect two-piece grindcore band. For as long as they’ve been a band they deserve any praise they get. Hell, I think POPULATION REDUCTION has been a band for ten years even, so quite a good set of veteran bands were gracing the stage tonight.
Moving on, the almighty DESPISE YOU took the stage. They killed song after song after song. Instead of me describing it in detail, I did take select videos of them while they were playing, you’ll want to check these out. This was my third time seeing them, one time was a secret show, and they preformed just as well as the secret show they played the year before!
CAPITALIST CASUALTIES took stage. I think all these guys are great, the singer Shawn is nice, Jeff does SF&L magazine with Athena and runs a killer label, I don’t really know Mike at all, and Heraldo is a super sweet guy from Denver who also plays in CATHETER and runs Bad People Records. I was stuck behind the worst person ever for their set… goddamn. This dude was towering over me and had a video camera and every type of finger ring imaginable. I’m not much of a shit talker but I don’t care if he reads this, he probably knows he is the huge douchebag who is flipping out filming the band while throwing his video camera all over the place to the point where I could see half of what he was recording was black because he was thrashing around too much to keep the camera pointed at the band. Maybe he is the endearing superfan — take it as you may. I moved up and out of the path of the mega camera arm guy and snapped off a few videos. Say what you may, CAPITALIST CASUALTIES always puts on a solid show… even when Shawn fell through a roof before MDF and sang either in a wheelchair or on crutches they still killed it with energy. Someone got wrecked in the pit during their set and I accidentally ran across the video of what happened here.
I had my fingers crossed on the next band. I was hoping for no more disappointments for the fest, as I had never seen FLAGITIOUS IDIOSYNCRASY IN THE DILAPIDATION (FID) before and had no idea what to expect out of the all female Japanese grindcore outfit. First surprise, white guy on guitar… what? He apparently lives in Tokyo and he went crazy on stage during their set. The singer did some cutesy dance moves and girly singing in a few songs but the rest of the time was belting out horrifying high pitch screams mixed with the most brutal, guttural growls I’ve heard come out of anyone’s mouth. I always seem to compare the band to MIND AS ASIAN, but seeing them live they became their own band in my head. They killed it. Highlight of the two days for me. Here is some video I took of them.
The band to conclude the fest was BASTARD NOISE, aka Eric Wood’s ever evolving ex-MAN IS THE BASTARD/CHARRED REMAINS band, this time taking on Aimee from L.A., of PROGERIA fame. She (wo)manned the noise devices and added screams. Wood and Connoly on their respective bass and drums. I think she had some kind of crazy glowing LED ring/noise device? The band itself took forever to set up and lethargy set in… also the couple dry humping behind me didn’t help, but I was ready to cut and run for the 1 a.m. bus. Had a good wait for the bus, ran into two really nice folks from Dublin, and heard about their travels to the fest and what things are like in Ireland.
Really and truly this fest was mission accomplished. Cheap flight out there, free place to stay (much thanks to Javad, Sarah, and George for putting up with Ziggy and myself), much vegan food was eaten, new friends were made (nice to meet you Marco from Fedup, Mike from HOD, Sir Scotty Karate, Sergio from ACxDC, nice Dubliners, a girl named Paris from PDX, etc.), old friends were high-fived, there were new people for me to hate on as well (no names mentioned), and just a huge thanks to Jeff, Athena, and of course Chris for doing an awesome zine that spans ten years and will continue hopefully at least another ten. I highly encourage you to check out the 10 year anniversary zine + 10″… it is a good read despite an unfortunate slew of errors in spelling and duplicated content… think they might have had to push this out faster than normal for the show. Until next time, fine MRR people, don’t think I’ll have anything as epic to talk about until maybe the Dropdead/Magrudergrind show in DC, and then of course Chaos in Tejas. Until next time — distort Berkeley, distort Raleigh!