Jan 28, 2013

Editor's Pick: Decapitated, "Carnival Is Forever" - The Meanest Band on Earth

It's no secret that I think popularity nearly made metal irrelevant.  Pleasing the masses very rarely pleases the people who are passionate about something.  The people who care most about a thing are usually ignored for the purpose of satisfying the far greater number of people for whom opinions are based on superficial packaging, or cursory glances at a movement without knowing much about its origins.  Once Nu Metal became a viable commodity in the 90's the chances of truly original heavy bands getting noticed became greatly reduced.  That's what trends in entertainment do; ignore innovation. In fact, trends stifle innovation as more and more people imitate a sound or a look that raked in big bucks for someone else, somewhere else.  Trends limit the scope of creativity because less people are interested in doing something new.  People may try to refine something old, but fewer push forward to see what they might come up with that could be truly unique.  Add to that the necessity of a company to meet its obligations, and the focus becomes funneling talent into a proven money making product... a "sure bet", to the extent that there can be such a thing.  In the Nineties, Nu Metal took a small handful of the primal attractions to heavy music; thick guitar sounds, pent up rage and low end frequencies, and made them the only things that mattered.  Enter the seven string guitar and singers who never stop yelling.  Yep, my beloved form of music was dealt a significant blow as it was taken out of the hands of people who respected its limitless opportunities for creativity, and delivered into the hands of people who were more interested in "units sold".

Profit is not, in and of itself a bad thing.  But when profit is the motivating force behind a creative endeavor, creativity takes a back seat.  I for one, do not have the patience to wade through a bunch of bands' music to see who might do something moderately interesting on two songs.  I prefer bands that create an entirely different space for me, and do so consistently.  In the last few years, Poland's Decapitated have impressed beyond compare, and have become my new favorite metal band.  They are certainly the most exciting metal band I have heard since Opeth and Necrophagist gave me hope for the genre after being disgusted with its lack of creativity for the better part of a decade.  Though their newest album, "Carnival Is Forever" has been out for well over a year, it is new to me, and I have to say that the bar has been raised as it pertains to metal being taken seriously.

Jan 26, 2013

Thanks to King's Barcade and Everyone Who Came Out!

Damn!  What a great show!  We all had a blast at Kings last Saturday night during Loincloth's first show in Raleigh. It was our home town maiden voyage and a homecoming all wrapped into one.  Old faces and new faces were grinning from ear to ear as we unleashed our metal mayhem onto the streets of Raleigh's bustling party district just off of Fayettville Street Mall.  It was nice to see so many loved ones in the audience as we brutalized their beloved little tushies from the stage.  Demon Eye and Solar Halos got things off to a great start with their very well oiled rock machine sets, and everyone in attendance was primed for Loincloth by the time we took the stage.  It was great to be able to feel the anticipation filling the room! The place just kept getting more and more packed throughout the night and we were definitely ready to rock the joint.  It was on!

Jan 14, 2013

Alright Raleigh... Here We Come!

Our first show in Raleigh is finally upon us, and Loincloth cannot wait!  Kings Barcade has invited us to have our home town inaugural blow out on its stage this Saturday, January 19th.  Loincloth welcome Demon Eye, Solar Halos and our own Tomas Phillips to rock the capital at 14 West Martin Street.  Eight bucks before the day of the show, ten bucks if you get your ticket Saturday.  Either way, it's just a decent tip after a great meal!  Hell, have a great meal, stiff the server and come check out all of the bands...  Okay, maybe you shouldn't stiff the server but should instead bring enough for cash the restaurant and the show.  Oh yeah, and some t-shirts, cd's etc...  You'll be a better, happier person for it!  Be there, or be square.  Or surf the sofa eating potato chips and hot dogs on white bread, wondering why no heavy bands ever play in your living room and why all of the action is downtown.  We'd rather see you at Kings though, with all of the full, happy people who are getting their asses rocked off!  Your call, old weiners and stale chips or a night of getting your butt handed to you on a twisted metal platter!

Jan 12, 2013


These are some photos from our trip out west that may be interesting to some but were not included in any of the descriptions of our adventures.  I'm just throwing these in for the curious among you to browse through.  Click "read more" to see them all.  I just realized that if you click on a photo one time you can see a slightly larger version of it, and a scroll appeared at the bottom of the screen from which you can click on any of the photos in this post to see them slightly larger.  There's no charge!  At least, I hope there's no charge...

             Portland: From our hotel window

Jan 9, 2013

The Final Embedded Reporting Installment: Los Angeles, and "The Power of the Riff" Show...

And finally we came to the big show... The Power of the Riff show at the Henry Fonda Theater on Los Angeles' Hollywood Boulevard.  Greg helped put this annual event together to coincide with what the Mayan calendar mysteriously described as "the end of an era".  This day of metal sub genre mayhem brought Void Ov Voices, Loincloth, Black Breath, Dead in the Dirt, Corrosion of Conformity, High on Fire and Sunn together under one roof to rock what some believed would be The End of Days.  Unless we have all been thrust into an alternate plane of existence ( would we ever know? ) the very fact that I am able to write about this show now proves that it was a night just like any other, except for the metal beat down of the people in attendance at the club.  The era that ended may have been the part of their lives before The 'Cloth and six other bands blew their minds.

I had only been to Los Angeles once before, and I was actually in the city for just a few hours before Monica picked me up and took me to her parents' house when she was still in high school.  The only thing I remember seeing in the city was a group of Hispanics getting frisked by the police against a wall.  Monica's first trip into City of Angels stuck in her mind because she saw a woman squat and pinch a loaf right on the sidewalk.  Yes, L.A. has it all if you know where to look.

Jan 8, 2013

San Francisco at last...

We only had a three hour drive to San Francisco after stopping at one of those roadside motels where people either collect money for their kidnapped victims, or dump their bodies. That was our reward for braving Grant's Pass and the death-snow the night before.  We were just happy to have made it down the mountain alive.  The idea that many people never made it out of this particular motel alive never swayed us one bit.  We were tired and there was no reason to continue.  I had made the trip from northern Washington to San Francisco before, laying in the back of a truck.  I mean laying, too... not sitting.  I was traveling with C.O.C. and the only room for me was on top of the speaker cabinets.  To put it bluntly, it blew!  Needless to say, I missed the view on that trip. This time I tried to soak it all in.  Just before you get into San Francisco the hills and trees begin to look like miniatures for a movie adaptation of a Dr. Seuss story.  The hills are really pronounced, but perfectly soft and smooth like green gumdrops with an even blanket of grass.  Trees grow in clusters here and there, but there is nothing like it anywhere I have ever been.  It looks like someone from another planet was trying to imagine what things here on Earth might look like.  Very strange, but captivating in a strange and curious way. 

Jan 6, 2013

Seattle, WA and Haunting Thoughts of The Donner Party

We made it to Seattle and checked into our hotel by about six o'clock Monday morning.  I got up around eleven and had just enough time to get some coffee and something to eat before we had to meet the other bands for load in.  Thomas met me while I was finishing up my breakfast on the fly and we talked about how the trip was going.  I've known Thomas since I was sixteen and it was great to be able to travel with him again.  He and I were in a band called Bloodbath back in high school.  We were kind of like a crossover band before the term existed.  Punk roots tempered with a touch of Celtic Frost and Iron Maiden. Regardless, my first band experiences were with him and it has been wonderful to have them again almost... gulp... thirty years later.

I had been looking forward to the show in Seattle.  It seemed like it would be a good one and I spent a long weekend there some years ago and had a really good time.  Unfortunately we didn't have much extra time because our drive after the show was about fifteen hours down to San Francisco, and believe it or not, it rained a lot while we were there.  Our hotel was not far from the University, but not close enough to take advantage of the kinds of stores one finds around campuses.  We did need some things from the Radio Shack and UPS stores that were right down the street when we left the next morning but other than that, coffee was the only thing nearby that I benefited from personally.  Rain and coffee... welcome to Seattle!

Jan 5, 2013

Next Stop: Bellingham

I was out of the hotel before anyone else every morning.  I have to be at work at 7:00 during the week, and I was always the one walking around town whenever Confessor traveled, so it was no surprise to find myself alone in the mornings.  Also, two of the guys often end up awake until 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning, but I can manage on less sleep than most people.  I knew I wouldn't have time later in the day to scope out our surroundings, so if I wanted to find things to photograph I had to do it before load in or whenever we left for the next town.  It's camera brain.  I had already checked out things around the hotel in Portland, but coffee and a surprisingly good cheese danish seemed a nice way to start the morning.  I used to drink coffee only when I would visit family.  It seemed kind of special, and I associated it with people I cared about.  A few years ago I had coffee two mornings in a row at work and I've had a cup every workday since.  Twice is all it takes sometimes to start a lifelong habit.  Ask any substance abuser!  My cup isn't always great, in fact some mornings it's downright disappointing, but every morning I have high hopes.  Wow!  I guess the "Brown Lady" really does have her hooks in me!

Jan 2, 2013

Embedded Reporting: Arriving in Portland for the Sunn shows...

Showing up to your airport terminal before the first shift airline employees report to work was new to me.  I can tell you that there are other things in life that are far more awesome, but we checked our baggage pretty quickly once people showed up to man the ticket counters.  I always choose window seats.  I can halfway escape my surroundings by soaking in what there is to see from six miles up, and I always wanted to be able to fly when I was a kid.  I was pretty jealous of birds and wondered if they took their superhuman powers for granted.  Birds get to see things like this shot of us landing at Chicago's O'Hare Airport for our connecting flight all the time, and you don't have to work if you can simply fly to wherever food is.  Like being able to fly wouldn't be cool enough on its own!  And unlike us people, birds don't have to pay for tiny bags of peanuts or worry about plummeting to their grisly demise.  Nor do they have to save for months to fly, which is good since they don't need to keep jobs.  Yep, I enjoy getting to fly every now and then.

Jan 1, 2013

Challenges, pt.3: Performing on a kit other than your own...

It is not always practical to travel with something as monstrous as a metal drum kit. They tend to take up a lot of space, and airlines charge twenty five bucks for your first checked bag, thirty five for the second and one hundred for every bag beyond that.  My own kit would have to go in eleven cases, so you can see how impractical it can be.  I have had to play on rented drum kits before, and it is always awkward.  Even setting up my own kit at shows can create some difficult playing environments.  My drums move ever so slightly away from me at the practice space so sometimes at shows I end up setting them up closer to me than I may have grown accustomed.  I'll know within a song or two because my shoulders will get tight right away. Kick ass!  Ten songs to go and I'm already fatigued!  Yes indeed, playing on a kit other than your own provides some interesting challenges.