November 1, 2012


Morbid Angel
When: October 20, 2012
Where: Backstage Live, San Antonio, TX
With: Dark Funeral, Grave

Saint Vitus
When: October 19, 2012
Where: Beauty Ballroom, Austin, TX
With: Weedeater

Sleigh Bells
When: October 18, 2012
Where: La Zona Rosa, Austin, TX

Most people don't see Sleigh Bells, Saint Vitus, and Morbid Angel in a three-day period. I'm not most people, and you should probably be thankful you're not me. You probably have lives outside of music. There is no thread tying these three bands together other than that 1) I dig them and 2) I saw all these bands within three days. So, here's a trio of cake bites for your consumption. Some of them will taste better than others.

You may have recalled my glowing review of Sleigh Bells earlier this year. This time around, I'm not as enthusiastic. For one, Araabmuzik, who had been opening for Sleigh Bells on their recent tour, did not play the Austin show due to his commitments to the impending Fun Fun Fun Fest. Contractual obligations are contractual obligations and I have to respect them, but had Araabmuzik performed, shit would have popped off. Dude makes some of the illest beats, and some of his faster stuff makes me want to form a grindcore band with him. Anyway, the problems with Sleigh Bells set did not come from the music -- the beats went HARD. Had Godflesh embraced dance music, they would come out sounding something like Sleigh Bells. No, the crippling issue, and it pains me to admit this, was Alexis Krauss' vocal performance. I accept that Sleigh Bells might be more of a studio band, but Krauss needs a rest. At least it didn't ruin the Lovers' Metal track "Road to Hell," since they didn't play it. Also, I don't remember the non-Krauss two-thirds leaving the stage for "Rill Rill" last time I saw them. Oh well -- bands have their bad nights.

After a night of MBA-reject bros and so-so vocals, it was time to get much slower to Saint Vitus. No skeeball geting folks thrashing mad -- tonight was all doom. This is also the night where I discovered I am quite bored with Weedeater. While I could never get into them on record, as they just didn't have that something that makes me go apeshit for a band, they've at least been fun live. At this show, they were going through the sludgy motions. Not even Wino getting on the axe for "Gimmie Back My Bullets" could save them. Right as Vitus hit the stage, Dave Chandler joked that it was about to be Mark Adams' 21st birthday -- you must admit Adams does have a bit of a baby face. Saint Vitus' set didn't differ much from their Chaos in Tejas performance, but they were still reliable performers. Wino still sounds like he's 234 years old, which is a positive. War remained our destiny. Chandler didn't go into the crowd for "Born Too Late" this time around, but there was still a lotta guitar freakout. Cool show, despite weak gin and tonics.

Now, the end and the jewel of the journey: Morbid Angel. Yes, despite the fact that they were the most hated metal band in 2011 that wasn't Liturgy, Morbid Angel was the best out of three shows, and it wasn't close. Swedeath might be a hot influence these days, but you don't actually see that many of the originals kicking it in the States. Grave were zero bullshit, busting out those HM-2 bangers effortlessly. Classics like "You'll Never See" and "Extremely Rotten Flesh" still sounded freshly decadent. They even brought out a lucky fan to sing the first verse of "Black Sabbath." Improvisational or not, it ruled. Dark Funeral -- who, for professional reasons, I cannot refer to as Dork FUNeral -- were total clowns. They're ignorant, but not Black Witchery ignorant, which made them rather uninteresting. My opinion notwithstanding, they got the paltry crowd going, including one shirtless dude who, as if his Baphomet belly piece wasn't enough, was Heil Sataning. Yes, making the devil horns in a Heil Hitler fashion. Austin folks are way too concerned about their appearance and social standing to embrace metal like that. Morbid Angel strayed away from controversial material, and while their Altars and Covenant-heavy set may raise criticisms of cowardice, they played all the songs I wanted them to play. David Vincent wants to be Nikki Sixx with his hair and Kip Winger with his moves, as he's the only death metal frontman to do twirls. Obnoxious as it may have been, his humming of the keyboard part in "Immortal Rites" proves that dude has showmanship. This, however, was Trey Azagthoth's night to shine. He still remains the king of shred -- so fluid, so gnarly. "Where the Slime Live" and "God of Emptiness" could have destroyed Backstage Live "Emptiness" also featured two dudes in wigs and sorority shorts bowing faithfully AND splendidly to Vincent. If Morbid Angel could only capture this magic in the studio again.

That's all, folks.

1 comment:

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