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Thinking Woman's Metal: Pelican, Black Cobra @ The Independent, 10/27/09

October 28, 2009

After probably five failed attempts at seeing local metal duo Black Cobra, I finally made it to a show. Man, had I been missing out. First off, these two guys are loud. It should be illegal for two people to make that much noise with only a drum set, guitar, and screams….at least, that’s the only way it could be made more fun to see. Second, it’s heavy and frantic. Guitarist/vocalist Jason Landrian delivers some sludgy tones while screaming like he’s trying to claw his way out of a garbage disposal. He takes a stance on occasion where he looks like he’s about to run offstage. Drummer Rafael Martinez plays like he’s working out to save his life- shirtless in athletic shorts and sweat dripping everywhere. I was really wrapped up in the chaos until this woman started distracting me. She came right up to the front and center of the stage, and started air drumming and dancing like she was in a nightclub. It was so funny and random that I just couldn’t stop staring at her. Luckily she cut it out after a few songs…maybe Black Cobra rattled her back into sobriety.

Pelican set up as I discussed upcoming shows with Photo Ray, Alan, and Umlaut.

And then the rest is kind of a blur.

It’s a good blur- one that comes along with spacing out to heavy, instrumental metal that doesn’t have lyrics to guide you anywhere. It sent me on a weird head trip inside my brain, where I spent the next hour with my recent life flashing before my eyes, gaining some perspective, and bringing things into focus; all while watching four guys play on stage.

From the moment they began, I was assured that they weren’t going to stand there half dead and jam. All members maintain a dynamic stage presence regardless of any vocalist instructing them like a stage play. It actually really allowed me to watch their hands move- such precision, such flow…..and that’s where I got lost.

I start thinking about my day, how I talked to Rob Zombie on the phone earlier, and how he claims to not get scared. Then I start thinking about how I had just heard that the Bay Bridge was shut down after some rods came crashing down…almost exactly one week to the minute after I drove across for STP and tweeted that I hate that bridge. One of the guys moves and I come back into focus and notice that these guys are all really skinny and wear shirts that are probably the same size as mine. I notice the ink on the lead guitarist’s forearms and wonder if he has a tattoo of a pelican. Then I start thinking about this guy I saw earlier with really nice tattoos that was really good looking, and start thinking about how Pelican would probably be nice make out music. No polarizing lyrics or mood killers….then the guitarist and bassist switch places. The lighting changes and I notice the people around me. This one guy looks familiar. This other guy is wearing a horrible hat. There are only one or two other girls around. And then the set ends.

They come back out for one more song. I manage to stay focused on them for it, but realized that I really enjoyed that hour of spacing out….maybe I need to do that more. Perhaps my perpetual state of work->show->write is wearing me down. Because seeing Pelican was one of the most relaxing nights I’ve had in a while. Except my ears hurt when I left.

I went home and IMed with my best friend in New York about shoes (or as she says, ‘schewz’) for a half hour, but still made it to bed before my usual time of 3:30am. Why I share this with you I don’t know. Pelican relaxed me.


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