There is a small silver lining in terms of the musical cloud that is Albuquerque. That is, we get some run off for South By South West as bands tour across the country here in March. I’m not going to lie, it’s felt a little dry and difficult. Maybe it’s just because I am use to having a really good, really supportive, local scene. But the impression I get from the few musician’s that actually have bands in this town is that the kids just aren’t coming out. The fact that there are not a lot of all ages shows doesn’t help that cause. But I digress. This week I got to see Mike Watt and some awesome metal bands. We already rapped about Watt so now you get to experience the metal.
My cousin in Norway, Anders, who is totally awesome by the way because he is Norwegian and because he’s into awesome shit and because he’s my cousin, wrote me this email telling me how lucky I was because my soon to be new favorite Norwegian band Kvelertak would be heading my way and he implored me, in no uncertain terms, that if I didn’t go I would be really blowing at life. So, like I established, my cousin Anders is awesome. He’s never, ever let me down when it comes to awesome Nordic music. He got me into Turbonegro before Bam Margera was kicking 540 flips, he told me about Hellacopters, he got me into the Cum Shots. He’s pretty hardcore. What music have you gotten me into? Oh that’s right NOTHING. Andres wins, you lose.
I descended upon the Launchpad in “downtown” Albuquerque (and just as an aside I think it’s cute people here in Duke City (DC!) call there like seven tall buildings in a cluster downtown. Reston, VA has a bigger downtown than Albuquerque) for some metal thrashing tuesday! First on the bill was Sandia Man a local, slow, semi sludge band. They were pretty good. I could have used a little more stage presence frankly, but the band was tight, the drummer was totally huge with an amazing beard and it got me psyched for the metalage. I also think it’s pretty cool that Launchpad is trying to put local bands on bigger shows. That’s how you support a scene, even if the people won’t. Which is lame. I would have liked to see more local fans for these guys. I’m hoping the Laughing Dog/Ronoso show in a few weeks gets the kids out. Oh wait, just checked, it’s not all ages anymore. LAME.
The show started late because Kvelertak and Zoroaster were late getting into town. From what I understand, Kvelertak had their visas stolen prior to coming to the states, missed a bunch of shows, have no merch with them and are at the mercy of their tour mates. But they seemed in really good spirits when the mighty Nordics took the stage. First of all, they have three guitar players like Turbonegro in it’s prime. Second, their bass player is HUGE, has face tattoos and is scary as hell. He’s all blond hair, blue eyed and I am sure he’s gonna get weird looks. But they hit the stage totally stoked to play. There were like three dudes up front who went crazy as all hell for them. The rest of Duke City took a big step back. I think the metal kids in this town are mostly afraid of metal. They must be because Kvelertak were amazing. I shot easily a hundred pictures of them playing, which if you can do that for a band you’ve never heard, is amazing. That’s how good they were. One of their guitar players totally does that Kurt Ballou, playing without a pick thing. Kvelertak just absolutely blew me away in no uncertain terms. They did everything a band should, come at you full blast, play amazingly well, hard and heavy and look like they were having a good time. Even the big, scary bass player with face tattoos looked happy. They dropped their bomb, once again proving that the best metal comes from Norway. I’ll probably never get to see them again in my life, but I don’t care because at least I got to see them once, in a good sized club in the middle of the desert.
Zoroaster had the unfortunate task of following the Viking Head Killers and they did all they could to hold their own. The pros in all of this were the overly large drum set, the massive amounts of bass and guitar amps and the fact that their bass player wasn’t so much playing his instrument as treading it like a piece of wood in which to toss about the air and pound on occasionally. They were just a bit too trudgey and riff heavy to follow the fast paced, non-stop rock show Keveltrak gave Albuquerque, but they were pretty damn good at it. The guitar player looked a lot like Kim Thayil and played like the man. Which was pretty cool, actually. To see the good of Soundgarden being appreciated and applied in a more metal fashion is always welcomed to my ears. They built up in speed and showmanship as the show went on and the set ended with a pretty heafty dose of metal awesomeness.
Everyone in town was there to see Weedeater. I guess there’s something about a bunch of dirty, ugly, smelly (yea, I could smell them from the front of the stage) dudes from North Carolina who play the most ugly type of metal that really appeals to the people in this desert town. I can’t say I blame them. I’ve wanted to check out ever since I found out there new album was going to be called Jason…the Dragon. These are guys who clearly do not take the real world seriously and any regular reader of this stupid blog knows that is my current uploaded operating system. I mean, these guys are just ugly dudes. It’s not really a wonder that their life choices brought them to the point in which they play some sludgy, loud rock music. Their bass player/singer guy looked like the type of person who exists to bum people out, both in everyday interaction and when he’s on stage. He played like he didn’t give a fuck what anyone thought and owned the shit out of the four strings. The other two dudes did everything to make sure things stayed heavy with awesome drumming and the dirtiest, most unrefined guitar sound I have ever heard. I mean, by any standards of amplified aesthetics, it was as bad as the guitar tones on the first Burzrum album. So when you put everything together you got a sound of music that felt like the sweat and dirt and alcohol and road grease that poured off the members faces.
This traveling circus is on it’s way to Austin. By the time you read this all these dudes will have already burned down that city, leaving an ocean of blood made up of studio executives, posers and shitty tourists trying to act all cool. Sure, I was hoping I’d get some Ceremony, Trash Talk or even Too Many Daves this year. But there’s always October for that. I had no expectations and they were totally blown out of the water anyway. Tuesday Night Metal of that caliber should be a mandatory part of every person’s life in every town, every week for the rest of eternity.