I pulled up close to the Great American Music Hall and parked. I turned the car off and sat there for a second. I’ve already seen BRMC today, dropped off my friend at the airport, and now I’m about to go see two more bands I love. And I’m already thinking that I’ll probably leave before the headliner to sneak back over to Slim’s….I’m really lucky that everything fell into place after feeling so weird about my New York trip.
GAMH is probably my favorite venue in SF, but there are only shows I want to see there every once in a while. After checking in at will call, I show my ID to the doorman, who’s like, ‘hey you!’ I haven’t been there in several months. He goes to stamp my hand, which still has a faded Slim’s stamp from the night before.
I’m able to walk right up to the front even though the show was supposed to start in 10 minutes. The place is pretty empty, which is a shame, because io echo is a great upcoming band. This was my third time seeing them- they opened for NIN at their final show and She Wants Revenge last year.
The band comes out, black clad in boots. American bands in boots (not Cowboy ones, obviously) tend to correlate nicely with my affinity for them. The stage is dark, and it gets loud really quickly. Io’s angelic voice cuts through the fuzz, which is led by the awesome work of Leopold Ross on guitar.
Io can go from statuesque to thrashing around easily. She slowly moves her hands along with the song, and might utilize the mic cable like she’s coiling it in preparation for strangling someone. Whatever she is doing, she has the audience in the palm of her hand.
I tried to video a song, and immediately was tapped on the shoulder by security, who stood there and made me delete it. When did GAMH become a no tape venue? It was always open before.
‘I’m on Fire’ and ‘Doorway’ are great songs….but really I like all of their songs. Their set was only 30 minutes. I hope this tour gives them great exposure.
Video from the night before in LA:
I love watching Oliver Ackermann set up his gear; the chaos cables rat nest, the beat up guitars turned over in submission. When people ask me about good new bands, I always tell them that A Place to Bury Strangers is the last band I truly fell in love with. But now that I think about it, I can’t really say that anymore. I’ve been following them for 3 years now. This would be my fourth time seeing them.
These guys next to me were obviously drunk. As soon as the music started, they began thrashing around. I’m mixed about this, because while I can tell they are actually fans, this means that the young and the reckless have now discovered my band, and one of them might really give me a Gash in the Head.
But this out of focus moment is only temporary, because I am finally standing right in front of Oliver. I can see all of his crazy maneuvers up close. This set was short- only 6 songs- but he fit the energy of one of their usual sets into this. He was more chaotic and violent than the last times I’ve seen him…there were times when I thought that I might get taken out by his guitar swinging around. I liked the danger, though. Getting a Gash in the Head from Oliver’s guitar would have been an awesome story. And after every song- plunk- guitar dropped on the floor.
I was really thrown off by the set starting with ‘Ocean’, when I’m used to that being the closer. But it made it unpredictable. I’m looking over at the bassist….maybe my face was already melted at this point- but is he new? He looked different. The drummer, JSpace, is the same for sure. As usual for them, the vocals are muted in comparison to the squeals and wails and thuds of everything else. It’s almost pitch black, except for a multitude of projectors spewing colored rays of light all over.
The set ended in an explosion, and Oliver turned over the drums.
The people next to me, while annoying, were blown away by the set. When Oliver came back out, everyone wanted to touch his magic hands. The girl a few down from me told him it was the best show she’d ever seen. I beamed as if I had something to do with it. He crouched down to start undoing all of the doo-dads, and I said, ‘Oliver, can I have the setlist please?’ He turned around and grabbed it without looking up, and then almost handed it to another girl until he said, ‘wait- who said that?’. “Me!”, raising my hand. He stood up and handed it to me with a big smile on his face. This made me insanely happy.
I actually stood there watching him put up the rest of his stuff and listening to people’s reactions before bailing on the headliners.
Apparently, the bassist did get a Gash in the Head.
Video from the night before:
I walked out of the fuzz and into the dirty streets of the ‘loin, clutching my setlist, my precious.
And then I was off to part 3 of my evening.
“Living out the days and nights in absolute fearNever knowing when and where thethreat of the undead draws nearThoughts of…
“Now, listen up She’s a razor sharp If she don’t get her way She’ll slice you apart Now she’s a…
“Oh, they should have knownNot to play with the powers of HellSome people have lost their waySome people have lost…
“I’m the walking dudeI can see all the worldTwist your minds with fearI’m the man with the powerAmong the living,…
“And I find it kind of funny I find it kind of sad The dreams in which I’m dying Are…
“The sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive And the sparkle in your eyes Keeps me alive, keeps me alive…
“It’s early morning, the sun comes out Last night was shaking and pretty loud My cat is purring, it scratches…
“We hold each other closer, as we shift to overdrive And everything goes rushing by, with every nerve alive We…
“I could talk about my world How you brought about ruin I could talk about your greed If you want…
“Always lived, very quiet lifeI ain’t never did no wrongNow I know that life without youHas been too lonely too…
And I thought you said you sucked at getting setlists! Bah!
These pictures encapsulate APTBS perfectly, especially the 2nd to last. Nicely nicely!
I got lucky! Now I won't get one for a good 6 months.
And thanks! You could have done much much better!