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Filter @ Cafe du Nord, 3/3/08

March 4, 2008

About a month and a half ago, my bands did the ol’ switcheroo. Twiggy, no longer in NIN, went back to Manson. Weiland went back on drugs and announced an STP reunion, meaning that the DeLeo brothers were done with Army of Anyone. But that didn’t matter, because Richard Patrick wanted to make another Filter album.

Nearing completion of a new album, Filter announced 3 warm up shows at tiny venues along the West coast. I saw Filter in ’99 with the Family Values tour, in the huge and expansive Alamodome. It’s weird to think that almost 10 years later I would be seeing them with a hundred other people in a basement in SF.

After getting the ticket, I anxiously awaited the announcement of the touring musicians. I read that there would be some stellar contributors to the album, including John 5, Josh Freese, and Wes Borland. The thought of seeing any of them on the Cafe du Nord stage is an exciting proposition, especially John 5. But, alas, that did not happen. 3 relatively unheard of nubes were announced as the touring band.

Cold Hot Crash, local to SF, was the opener. I caught 4 or 5 songs from their set. I would guess that they are what is now considered Alternative Rock, which seems to be what is now the catch all for music that is harder and faster than indie rock. The singer has one of those voices that is like a nail on a chalkboard for me, I just didn’t like it and couldn’t get into it at all. Their guitarist seemed like the most redeeming quality of the band. They covered a Helmet song at the end of their set, which the aging crowd showed signs of getting into.

When Filter comes on stage, the crowd has to be prompted to scream, partially because the venue is so small that you can’t see the band come on stage, and partially because the venue is so small that most of the Filter fans can’t believe that they are about to hear Richard Patrick perform 2 feet in front of them.

After a brief intro talking about the warm up tour and their fast upcoming performance in Kuwait, he launches into ‘Welcome to the Fold’, which is a great song to start out with. The crowd starts to get really excited. Afterwards, Patrick makes a comment that he “knows we’re not supposed to mosh in here”, which is rock star code for “don’t you know you are supposed to mosh to my music”. He launches into a new song, and, immediately, the 6’3″ oaf standing right in front, along with every male in his immediate vicinity, start churning. Mind you, Cafe du Nord gives you bottles and real glasses, which do not mix with moshing.

The hits start to come fast, as we hear ‘American Cliche‘, ‘Trip Like I Do‘, ‘Jurassitol‘ (one of my personal favorites), ‘Where Do We Go From Here‘, a song that Patrick says means a lot to him, and ‘The Only Way (is the Wrong Way)‘. He introduces the first single from the new album, ‘Soldiers of Misfortune‘, saying that he wanted to write the most beautiful song he could for his friend that was killed in the war. At about this point in the show, he screams “San Diego….San Francisco!!!!” Oops. The crowd barely notices. The moshers are so tired now that they can’t even get worked up for the uber famous ‘Hey Man Nice Shot‘, and the encore song ‘Take A Picture‘.

The sound is so small in Cafe du Nord that it seems as though it can’t realize the full potential of the band. I feel that the guitar is sometimes muffled, and this is probably affected by the low energy guitarist. Patrick’s vocals are prominent, but not as piercing as they were at Slim’s AoA show. I have a hard time understanding why Filter should be resurrected without utilizing at least one other seasoned musician. I think it would make a great band greater.

Filter performance: 8/10
Cold Hot Crash performance: 4.5/10
venue (Cafe du Nord): 7/10
crowd/scene: 6.5/10
value ($15/ticket): 9.75/10
memorable: 8.5/10

HRC vids

Hey Man Nice Shot

Soldiers of Misfortune-> new single from their upcoming album

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