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07.05.14 Awesome Songs Of The Moment Vol.1612.27.13 2013: A Year In Concerts
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10.03.12 Dream Setlist - Local H09.13.12 Awesome Songs Of The Moment Vol.12
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2013: A Year In Concerts

After a massive 2012, I kept the concert-going in check this year. Here are the shows I went to raround the SF Bay Area in 2013.
1Gojira
The Way Of All Flesh


Jan. 23 @ The Fillmore w/Devin Townsend & The Atlas Moth - The first concert of the year might have been my favorite as well. Metal buddy, Tamra, and I arrived at the very end of The Atlas Moth's set. Meh. The best part of their presence this night was seeing their derivative t-shirt knockoff of the Deftones cat (http://superstore.shop.bravadousa.com/Product.aspx?pc=BGCTDT50). Once Devin took the stage, feelings of indifference were swapped for glee. Again, he can't help but have a good time on stage and it shows. Definitely not afraid to be a goofball in front of a crowd that may or may not enjoy his music (and antics) he repeatedly referred to us all as "nerds." Gojira soon came afterwards and decimated the place. It had been almost 4 years since I'd seen them (in a venue half the size) but I was quickly reminded how fucking heavy they are. The Fillmore is a pretty spacious room but the only bigger pit I've ever seen there was for Meshuggah in 2012. Anyway, two of my favorite bands at the top of their game on one bill will be hard to beat. Let's see who else put on a show this year. 5/5
2Two Gallants
The Bloom and the Blight


Feb. 2 @ The Fillmore - I took Bron sorta/kinda/not really for his birthday on a whim. I really liked their last album and thought we should check them out live. They sounded great, had good energy and played most of what I wanted to hear. 3.5/5
3Enslaved
Riitiir


Feb. 9 @ Slim's w/Pallbearer and Royal Thunder - Tam couldn't make the show so I gave her ticket to my boy, B.Lo. His taste in metal differs from mine but I think he still enjoyed himself. Royal Thunder was good live and made me appreciate their 2012 album more. Mlny has a great voice and cool presence. The guitarist is a bit goofy though with his bounciness. Pallbearer bored me. I'm not the biggest doom fan but was hoping they'd convert me cuz I was lukewarm on their debut despite hearing small things that I liked. Their live set made me give up. Enslaved made everything all better. They played a couple tracks from the newest album that came off much better live than on record (Materal, Riitiir) but the highlight was ending the set with a blistering cover of Immigrant Song. 4/5
4Tomahawk
Oddfellows


Feb. 15 & 16 @ Great American Music Hall w/Retox - Birthday concert(s)! I had yet to witness one of my favorite Mike Patton collaborations and the timing could not have been better. I took my girlfriend the first night and we had fun but this is definitely not her thing. After the show though, she decided that metal/hard rock audiences are probably the most courteous. At one point a big dude and his friend in front of us moved out of the way after noticing she couldn't see well. Anyone that bumped her apologized and the entire audience seemed to be having a good time despite Patton being at his most antagonistic I'd seen. The Bad Brains covers were fun but the highlight was being up close for the next night's show. 4/5
5Junius
The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist


Mar. 6 @ DNA Lounge - I went to this last minute because I had nothing better to do and I've enjoyed Junius every other time I've seen them. This was no exception but I think it's time for some new material. Seems like I've seen the same set 3 times in a row now. 3.5/5
6 Dolorata


Mar. 9 @ El Rio - I owed the lead guitarist of this band a video favor so I agreed to film her band's set in the patio area of this tiny venue. I walked in and immediately got weird looks from the women at the bar. Once I got outside, I realized I was the only man there besides the bartender. Apparently Dolorata was playing a big lesbian event that day. No biggie except when I was setting up, one of the organizers aggressively questioned my presence. All was smoothed over and I filmed the show without another hitch except for the butch sigh language girl standing right in front of the rhythm guitarist freaking out as she signed the lyrics. 3/5
7Soul Pie
Battling Mountains


Mar. 15 @ Boom Boom Room w/Vinyl - My friends in Soul Pie (now The Bad Jones) had their EP release show this night. It was a fun time and tons of our friends came out (even my dad!) and had a good time. The venue was packed and the SP/TBJ dudes responded with a great set. 4/5
8Anthrax
Among The Living


Mar. 28 @ The Regency w/Exodus - I really want to like the Regency Ballroom. It's a nice, big space right in the middle of the city but there is always something they fuck up. This time it was forcing the bands to start early without notice to the people attending. My buddy, Ron, and I got there and Exodus was already well into their set, going on almost an hour earlier than previously listed. I texted Tam and another coworker of ours to tell them to get here ASAP or they'd miss part of Anthrax (and Exodus entirely). Tamra got there in time to get Caught In A Mosh but our other friend bailed completely cuz he hadn't even left his house. Weak! Whatever, Anthrax was still super fun even if Joey is a doofus of a frontman. A colleague in the balcony caught me and Ron in the pit and snapped a pic on his phone. Then we all met Gary Holt (GARY HOLT!!!) outside the venue. 3.5/5
9The Lumineers
The Lumineers


Apr. 19 @ The Greek Theater w/Dr. Dog - My girlfriend really liked the Lumineers' album so she got us tickets to their Berkeley show. They are enjoyable enough even though I feel like the Mumford & Sons-y catchy emo folk stuff is reaching its apex. The Lumineers sounded really good, especially for an outdoor venue, but Dr. Dog put me the fuck to sleep. They sounded like watered-down Sublime or 311. Isn't that shit already watered-down (and this is coming from a casual fan of both bands!)? Also, I came prepared for the rough concrete Greek Theater seats by bring foam pads and my ass still hurt. 2.5/5
10Gorod
A Perfect Absolution


May 3 @ Neck Of The Woods w/Fallujah - Wasn't feeling super up for concerting this night but realized I might not ever get a chance to see Gorod again (headlining even!) so I went. Also convenient that this venue is super close to my apt. I've seen Fallujah before and while I like them, I find them hard to get into. They are very technically skilled and have cool aspects to their music but nothing out-right grabs me. Still a decent opener for France's second best death metal band. I've never seen a metal show at this small venue but the crowd was into it from the beginning. I was still feeling lazy so I stayed away from the pit. Gorod is just the right amount of crazy so that made for an entertaining show. I have since delved into their back catalogue and found some gems 3.5/5
11Mike Patton
The Solitude of Prime Numbers


May 7 @ Castro Theater w/3 percussionists - Bron and I headed to the Castro to see Mike Patton perform a live score with 3 percussionists (one being the former Sleepytime Gorilla Museum drummer) to an old German silent film called Waxworks. It was a cool experience and the innovative sound effects and music these four musicians came up with made me appreciate them even more. I was already a huge Patton and SGM fan but my favorite part came from one of the other percussionists who vibrated the palm of his hand over a balloon whenever the fat, conniving villain was on screen. Very fitting. Another highlight was patting Patton (alliteration!) on the shoulder, congratulating him after the show. 3.5/5
12That 1 Guy
Packs A Wallop!


May 10 @ Cafe Du Nord - 3 days later, Bron and I ventured to the Castro neighborhood once more to see That 1 Guy. We'd seen him open for Buckethead and Porcupine Tree before but it had been a while since we'd witnessed his brand of experimental silliness. The members of the smallish but dedicated crowd really seemed to enjoy themselves. Awoooooooooo!!!! 4/5
13Torche
Harmonslaught


May 20 @ The Eagle w/Needles - This gay bar is 3 blocks away from my office so I walked over right after work and grabbed a beer as the first band set up. I think Needles is local and I'd heard of them before but didn't enjoy their set much. Very noisy and nearly incoherent. Torche came on soon after and seemed to really enjoy themselves. I'd only seen them once before and was a bit underwhelmed but this time was better and much more intimate. Steve Brooks even ventured into the crowd near the end of the set. Also, newish track, Harmonslaught, was extra heavy. Sweet! This venue seemed pretty cool but the way its set up is awkward. Despite having a huge patio, there is very little space near the stage inside. Weird! 3/5
14Opeth
Blackwater Park


May 26 @ The Catalyst w/Katatonia - I met Tamra and her husband down in Santa Cruz for some proggy goodness. I've seen Opeth many times and they are always great. The acoustic version of Demon Of The Fall was really cool but the highlights were definitely Deliverance and Blackwater Park. Also, since this show was soon after Jeff Hanneman died, as a tribute during the outro feedback of Blackwater Park, Axenrot did the iconic devil-knocking-on-the-door drum intro to Raining Blood. Would have been so cool if they'd burst into the full song but we only got the tease. Still cool. Oh, Katatonia = Boring. 4/5
15 Jese Lege, Joel Savoy & Kelli Jones


Jun. 25 @ Ashkenaz - I met Joel and his wife Kelli on a work vacation earlier in the year and was treated to their music on a nightly basis for a week straight. While I'm obviously more of a metalhead, their brand of Louisiana folk was really fun. They told me they'd be in town for this show and my friends Matt and Yannick met me out in Berkeley to catch the show. I was hoping to hang out with Joel and Kelli more after their set but after 2 hours and no end in sight, I headed home. Hope to see them again next time they're in town. 3/5
16Cattle Decapitation
Monolith of Inhumanity


Jul. 19 @ The Regency w/Revocation & The Ocean - Summer Slaughter! This was a weird lineup of bands. The three listed here and Dillinger Escape Plan were really the only ones I wanted to see. The problem is that Dillinger headlined and Cattle Decap was done by 7:30. Being that it was my friend's birthday, I decided not to stick around. I've seen Dillinger twice before and couldn't justify sitting through 3 hours of crap I don't care about between the other bands. While that's not the Regency's fault, their no ins-and-outs is. What the fuck? If I could have gotten dinner with my friends and came back I would have but, as mentioned, the Regency finds ways to be lame. No matter cuz Revocation and especially Cattle Decapitation were awesome! I like The Ocean a lot too but they were a bit out of place on this bill and 25 minutes isn't enough time for their sound to sink in. 3.5/5
17 Mary Jones' Lights


Jul. 31 @ Hotel Utah - Some friends formed a new band a year or two ago and I had yet to see them play live. Bron, Matt and I hung out in the balcony section while they played and they impressed me for the most part. The singer, Jonny, has a great vocal range and I like the register he sings in better here than past bands. I also really enjoyed my friend, Nathan's, bass tone. Much fuzzier and deeper than his other band. I didn't quite understand the presence of the guitarist's girlfriend other than sex appeal (if you're into slinky, Angelina Jolie-lipped hipster chicks). Her back-up vocals and intermittent keyboarding was nearly inaudible. 3/5
18Soul Pie
Battling Mountains


Aug. 16 @ Rickshaw Stop - I was hired to by my friends in this band to shoot their first music video for their rebranding and name change later this year. We wanted to showcase their live show a bit so I came out to the Rickshaw to get some footage. Their energy was definitely up there (as it usually is) and I got some great stuff. 4/5
19Soul Pie
Battling Mountains


Aug. 22 @ Boom Boom Room - To get another live setting feel, I came out to this show too to get some more footage for the video. Still fun but this venue is smaller than the Rickshaw and nowhere near as crowded for their EP release show earlier in the year. 3.5/5
20Royal Thunder
CVI


Sept. 7 @ Thee Parkside - Even though she didn't know their music well, I took Tam to see Royal Thunder knowing she would dig it. Considering this was billed as a metal show, it was a low-key night at this tiny venue. RT again was cool live but the guitarist's awkward bounce threw me off like it did at the Enslaved show. I tried to focus on the drummer and Mlny, the bassist/singer. Considering this was the last stop of their tour and they'd been on the road for several weeks, Mlny ended the show early because her voice gave out. She has a deep, raspy delivery so I was none-the-wiser until the last song that she was fading. Still a good set. 3.5/5
21Flight Of The Conchords
I Told You I Was Freaky


Sept. 20 @ The Shoreline w/Dave Chappelle, Jim Jeffries, Hannibal Buress - My girlfriend is a huge Chappelle fan and I enjoy the goofiness that is the Conchords so we got tickets to this HUGE comedy festival at one of my least favorite venues in the Bay. Considering how big this place is, it was hard to have a real connection with the comedians which I find very important. Flight Of The Conchords were the highlight by far (probably helped that they are a musical act too). Dave Chappelle was solid but not great, Jim Jefferies was hilarious and scathing but Hannibal Buress was fairly lame. We saw a few others but I can't remember whom so they must not have been that great. 3/5
22Coliseum
Sister Faith


Oct. 9 @ Bottom Of The Hill w/Kowloon Walled City & Red Hare - I really liked Coliseum's album this year and have been wanting to see them live for a while. They played a solid set but I wasn't super engaged for some reason. Frontman/singer/guitarist, Ryan Patterson, seemed extra appreciative that we all came out on a weeknight. Been wanting to see local dudes, KWC, for a long time too. They put on a good show and I'm looking forward to seeing them again soon. Red Hare is a so-so punk band. They seemed happy to be up there but I wasn't really digging it. 3.5/5
23Death Angel
The Dream Calls For Blood


Oct. 18 @ Slim's w/Revocation & 3 Inches Of Blood - Record release show! A cool way to sell albums is to give it away free with the price of admission. Death Angel did just that and put on a hell of a hometown show in the meantime. Revocation was the shit as always and Tam seemed to like them a lot, as I was hoping she would. 3 Inches Of Blood isn't my favorite but they're at least entertaining. We got a hearty Mexican dinner instead of watching Battlecross, sorry. 4/5
24Lamb Of God
Resolution


Nov. 9 @ The Fox w/Testament - It had been several years since I'd seen LoG and I was excited to finally catch their show again. Bron claimed this was his first ever straight-up metal concert (hopefully there are more in his future). Our buddy, B.Lo, tagged along too and as we were making our way to the venue after dinner he asked, "Have you even had edibles? They're kicking in right now." Luckily he had a seat in the balcony to chill at so we didn't have to deal with his wastedness. Tam was initially going just to see Testament and take off but I made sure she stuck around of Lamb Of God, who she loved. Testament was fun as usual but we hung out at the bar while Killswitch played. Can't really stand them. Once LoG took the stage, I stuck around near the sound board with Bron and Tam before jumping into the pit. Had they played Blacken The Cursed Sun, the night would have been 100% complete. 4.5/5
25Kreator
Dying Alive


Nov. 14 @ The Fillmore - Kreeeeeaaaaatorrrrrr! I got there too late to see Overkill cuz I was watching Sir Iggs drop the Thunder hella hard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GT0kE3LlgFg) but not a big fan anyway. Kreator was sweet as can be. I took a coworker, Justin, cuz Tamra couldn't make it and we hung out on the back edge of the pit throughout their set. The setlist was pretty much greatest hits plus a couple new ones but no Terrible Certainty! C'mon, Kreator. 3.5/5
26 Mary Jones' Lights


Nov. 23 @ Neck Of The Woods w/Staring@Stars & Cash For Gold - I got here a little too late to catch my friend's new band, Staring@Stars, but Mary Jones' Lights put on another solid show. The dudes seemed cranky after the set cuz apparently the sound at Neck Of The Woods is shitty. I remember back in the day when this place was called The Rockit Room and that was the case but thought the new ownership fixed that. Apparently not. Another bit of bad news: chatting with my friend, Jon, from Judgement Day, I came to find out that they are now on indefinite hiatus. Lame! He's hoping they get back to it but not looking likely right now. Cash For Gold came on next and promptly bored the fuck out of the audience so we got Thai food. If only cuz of the J.Day news: 2.5/5
27Yeah. Sure. Whatever.
Through The Heart


Nov. 29 @ Hopmonk Tavern w/David Grecco & Randy Couvillion - I worked with this band earlier in the year and shot some videos for them to help promote this, their EP release show. I took B.Nis and his girl and we got there as Randy was finishing up. I'd filmed David Grecco before with his full band and while I enjoyed them, I found his solo approach boring. YSW came on and definitely upped the energy. Looking forward to the next EP and future shows. 3.5/5
28 Staring@Stars


Dec. 6 @ 50 Mason Social Club w/Ultra Violent Waves & Wolf Colony - So I finally got to see Versus Them's drummer, Isaac's, new band at the horribly-located 50 Mason Social Club, right in the heart of the Tenderloin in SF. Ultra Violent Waves were on when I walked in and I enjoyed what little of them I heard and saw. I checked out their bandcamp a few days later but was unimpressed with their recorded music. Too bad. Moving on, a dude calling himself the Wolf took the stage claiming that his band used to be called Wolf Colony but now he's lost all his band members. You can see why: After putting on a paper wolf mask, he treated us to drab, nasally vocals sung over backing tracks from his laptop. Really dude? Thankfully that only lasted 20 or so minutes before Isaac's band took an hour to set-up for a 30 minute set. Their stuff was catchy and Midi Matilda-ish but ultimately forgettable except for the last song which was stuck in my head the rest of the night. 2.5/5
29 The Bad Jones


Dec. 11 @ Milk Bar w/Super Adventure Club & Stages Of Sleep - The former Soul Pie finally had their debut show as The Bad Jones and packed the house at Milk Bar. I don't care for Stages Of Sleep's brand of gypsy folk rock much so my sister and I played pool with my buddy, Aaron, at the bar across the street while they were on. Super Adventure Club was fun and silly and projected images of Patrick Swayze and David Hasselhoff during their set. The Bad Jones came on after and put on a great show. Looking forward to this band making moves in 2014. 4/5
30Kvelertak
Meir


Dec. 11 @ The Regency w/Windhand - I've wanted to see Windhand since hearing their sophomore album from this year. Not a huge doom fan but there was something I dug about their sound. I forgot my fancy earplugs Tamra got me a couple years ago and paid for it. Windhand was incredibly loud and the feedback from the guitar distortion was mind- numbing. While they were good overall, I was expecting more. The guitarists and bassist headbanged hard to the slow riffs but the singer usually had her back to us or did slow, waddling half-circles as she sang. Very strange. Kvelertak came on and were great from beginning to end. I went to their first ever American show a few years ago and the place went crazy. At the Regency, it took several songs but once things got going, the whole venue seemed like a big ball of frantic energy. And spit. Lots of slimey, Norwegian spit. Working on a new stage presence, I guess. 4/5
31One Of Many
Dismammaled


Dec. 14 @ Peri's w/Physical Suicide Deterrent System Project - While at The Bad Jones show the week before, I was talking with Stages Of Sleep's guitarist, Eli, who mentioned his other band, Physical Suicide Whatever-The-Hell, was playing at Peri's in Fairfax. While not a fan of Stages Of Sleep, Eli is a very talented musician and I've been wanting to check out his folk-grunge project. My girlfriend and I met Yannick at the bar as One Of Many was just getting started. Featuring a short-term Versus Them member, Erinn, on bass, they really impressed me. I bought their album and offered the frontman my card after their set saying I would be interested in shooting a video with them in the future. While Eli's band was setting up, I kept thinking his bassist looked familiar. I then remembered him saying the week before that he'd been working with former Nuclear Rabbit guitarist, Jason. Nuclear Rabbit was one of my favorite bands in high school and college and it was great to meet Jason that night. He said the NR had fizzled but he's been working on stuff with the singer lately. PSDSP took the stage and while I appreciated the musicianship, there wasn't much grabbing any of us. That, coupled with Yannick's exgirlfriend walking in with some other dude, prompted us to leave early. 3/5
32Exodus
Exhibit B: The Human Condition


Dec. 20 @ Slim's W/Hell Fire - To paraphrase Tamra, "this will be a good hometown show." True except it seemed neither of us was feeling particularly in the mood for concerting. Local trad metal band, Hell Fire, opened up and were entertaining if nothing special. Tamra said, "Singer's got a bit of a Rob Halford thing going on," before noticing homeboy's Judas Priest shirt. Oh, Tam. Unfortunately a member of Nails had to have emergency dental work and they didn't make the show. I'd really wanted to see their live set as I've heard it's super intense. Next time. Exodus came on and were awesome but I kept feeling worse and worse. Some cougar next to me was being fairly annoying the whole time and eventually told me I looked like Leonardo DiCaprio. Nice try. A compliment, sure, but lady, get outta me. I tried to enjoy Exodus as much as I could cuz their hometown shows are always full of stupid, violent fun but once the pit opened up twice as big than it had been all night for Toxic Waltz, I scrambled to get Tam into a corner away from the craziness and then took a blow simultaneously to the gut and side of the head. 2013 concerting complete! 3/5
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