As I sit here in my new bachelorette pad, sore from moving and scared for what the future holds, I somehow have a smile on my face. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m still high from the last two days, and I didn’t even take any drugs.
It all started Friday morning at 11am, when Umlaut picked me up (and we immediately spotted a truck with ‘metal only’ spray painted on the back) to meet photoray, who graciously drove us to and from Marysville, a 2+ hour trek beyond Sacramento into the depths of hell. I added my ‘woman’s touch’ to the roadtrip by bringing along a selection from the local patisserie. The guys laughed.
As we got closer to our destination, I realized that it’s been a while since I’ve been out of the city. What’s all this green stuff? Cows! Real houses…..trucks….whoa. When we stepped out of the car into the dusty lot, the heat hit us like a hot towel. It was going to be a long day.
Our early arrival time of 1pm allowed us to miss all traffic, but it left us twiddling our thumbs a bit. Little interest in the opening bands + the heat drove us to sip water and people watch. I was shocked by the amount of Manson shirts….I thought this would be a Slayer crowd for sure. There was about equal representation of Manson, Slayer, and many of the other bands as well.
The first band we watched were locals Skinlab. Heavily dreaded like a dirty version of Rob Zombie, the highlight of this set for me was watching this dude go back in forth through the mosh pit in a Luche Libre mask. Now, this had to be fucking HOT. But it became like a game of Where’s Waldo. Otherwise, I didn’t find anything too special about their set.
It was pushing 3p, and it was time for a beer. We walked around and glanced at the selection of merch booths, when my jaw dropped at a ‘Fuck Michael Jackson’ t-shirt. A little soon for that, methinks…don’t miss the other racist shirt next to it.
After wandering around some more, including backstage (boring), I think I caught snippets of Black Dahlia Murder and Job for a Cowboy, none of which held my interest. But that was all about to change.
I’ve been a fan of Behemoth for a while now, but this was my first time seeing them. I was standing at the soundboard, which is FAR away for me….but it didn’t reduce how incredibly amazed I was. I had high expectations, having watched the production videos they have been releasing in preparation for their upcoming album. Their black and white face paint glistened in the sun, like a demented version of KISS. Their energy soared through the crowd- incredible intensity unmatched by most bands. They’ve got the danger vibe for sure. Towards the end of the set, they leave the stage, and Nergal comes back out wearing this medieval Transylvania mask thing, and the others have blood that starts to run from their mouths and heads. I believe my comments after this set were “Wow”, and “I’m watching this from closer up tomorrow”.
Next I went to the main stage to watch Bullet For My Valentine. I went into this completely unfamiliar with them, but had heard good things caveated by ‘despite the name, they are not an emo band’. While it’s a bit difficult to go from Behemoth to this, I thought they were pretty good. Many of their songs transition well from hard & fast to hard & slow, which is a delicate thing to pull off. They have good energy, and I’m a total sucker for those accents.
Then I ran back out to the side stages for Cannibal Corpse. Despite being a super heavy, dangerous set, I haven’t laughed that hard at a metal show…maybe ever. Vocalist George Fisher has the best interludes into songs. Like: “This song is about shooting blood from your cock”. Or, “You know how I said this was the last song? I LIEEDDDD!!!!”. Plus, the man has the most ridiculous helicopter headbang I have ever seen. I mean, he has a huge neck, and when he does this his face blurs into something otherwordly. And he does it so fast that it really looks like his head might come off. Brutal. They were super fun to watch, from the safety of the soundboard, after years of seeing their crazy album covers and being a bit afraid of ever going to one of their shows. It was also funny to be called a geek for clapping at the end of Cannibal Corpse songs.
After this we took a break in the VIP tent and watched Killswitch Engage on the TVs. Once I saw the tuxedo shirts I knew it wasn’t for me. When we walked backstage before Slayer, I saw the Behemoth guys sans makeup eating in catering. I knew what they looked like from the production videos….but whoa…I like the makeup thing but they really don’t need to be hiding that. Especially Orion (if you ever somehow read this, I apologize for staring, but I just couldn’t help it….)
ANYWAY, I had a pit ticket, but Umlaut had an extra seat….and since it was Slayer I thought I’d skip the pit. I could have survived, though, as it looked pretty tame. This was my second time seeing Slayer, and it was much better than the first. They brought some pyro with them, which is always a nice touch. They sounded great….though people were sitting all around me. It’s hard for me to write about this set because it was totally overshadowed by the next night’s….
Went backstage again, where I stared at Orion some more and also spotted Chris Vrenna and Ginger Fish running around. I was the only Manson fan of the group I had been tagging along with all day, so I went out into the pit when they hit the stage.
I was able to walk up to the extreme right end of the rail, around a bunch of really docile people. I had braced myself to be a bit let down by this set- reading the Europe tour setlists revealed they were heavy on the new tracks, which I’m not totally in love with. I had also heard a lot about Manson being so fucked up that it has been affecting his performances, that he’d gained a lot of weight, etc…
Only four of the eleven songs were new, the rest were essentially the hits. I was a bit far away, but Manson did seem a little wonky. I think this was more due to this being the first show of the tour, and they were working out some kinks. He sounded great though. And it’s great to see Jeordie on guitar. This set also was majorly overshadowed by the following night, so I’ll leave it at this- I’m all for Manson’s theater, but the stage assistants shtick had me rolling my eyes…more on this later.
It was great to see Manson again….it was the one band from the whole day that I grew up with….I don’t care what people say about that.
The drive back was long. Photoray is the man.
I woke up to a text that my partner in crime wasn’t able to make it, so I sadly made the trek to Mountain View by myself. As I got closer, I couldn’t help but think about all the amazing things that happened last time I was at Shoreline for NIN/JA. Le sigh…walking in I started to doubt my outfit, I was already getting harassed, but it was so hot the day before and I just got these cute little shorts…..fuck ’em. There were some really angry protesters out front having a heated argument with some Slayer fans. I love starting out shows like this.
Haha- lookie what I found:
I got inside and went to find a schedule when I heard a faint bassline waft through the air. 3pm was too early for Behemoth, no? I speed walk to the second stages to see that they had just come on, so I weave my way through the crowd to the rail on the side. This was a much better angle for me. They play so fast, with so much intensity, they really live up to their name. The faces they make- screaming, mouths opened, eyes agape- it’s as if they are about to attack the crowd and massacre them with their instrument weapons. I secretly wished for ‘Wish‘…but that would have been too perfect. I can’t wait to hear the entire new album- I’ve heard great things.
An unfortunate thing occurred during this set, where I watched a kid that came over the barrier get into it with a security guard, and get hauled off behind the stage where he got the shit beat out of him. Someone next to me filmed it….seemed pretty much like an abuse of power if you ask me.
I roamed around for a bit, coming back for Black Dahlia Murder, where I made fun of the neon guitar and singer’s ‘heartburn’ tattoo on his stomach. I watched bits and pieces of Job for a Cowboy, too. Someone actually came up to me and said “you look bored” to which I replied “I don’t like this band”. Can’t like them all.
I went backstage to check out the scene, which was much better than Marysville. I saw Chris Vrenna’s wife, Carrie, whose book I’ve read. Haha. I watched the Bullet For My Valentine set from the side of the stage. The sound sucks, but it’s cool to watch the crowd’s reaction and see the band work from this angle.
Back out again for Cannibal Corpse….which was one of the crazier crowds I’ve seen. Trying to get to the soundboard we almost got sucked into the pit, which was moving around the crowd and growing like a living organism. A trash can was thrown near me, a shoe flew through the air- Umlaut kept count of all of the inanimate object action. Once again, I was entertained by song introductions like “this one’s for the ladies…it’s called ‘Fucked With a Knife’!”, or “thanks for the phone!!!” when apparently a cell phone made its way on stage. Or, “if you don’t buy the album by the end of the day…you DIE!!!!”.
Someone’s youtube of the Cannibal Corpse pit:
I was excited to go check out my third row seats, a lucky draw from the Mayhem presale. I decided to check out Killswitch Engage today. The set made me feel bad. When I’m that close to a band that definitely walks around and looks at everyone, and I’m sitting there with a confused look on my face trying to find something I like about them, I get this feeling that I should feign happiness. The guitarist in particular kinda freaked me out. Running around in a cape, boxers, that tuxedo shirt and New Balance shoes, and written on his arm ‘I’m with stupid’ with an arrow pointing up…..I dunno, man. Then he made some comment about wanting to smell all the 18 year old girls in the crowd…..ewwww. Can I killswitch engage Killswitch Engage? Thanks.
P.S. The new Manson bassist is a KSE fan.
Seeing Slayer this close was, to put it simply, very cool.
You know you are close at a Slayer show when:
-you can hear Kerry King’s chains clanking as he walks
-you can see one of the Slayer kids air drumming along to some of the songs
-you can see the Slayer wives/GFs dancing around and mouthing the words….which was super cool considering I’ve seen a lot of rock star SO’s stand there and look bored WTF….
I think that because this was a seated show, the Slayer set really did feel almost like a satanic mass. There was something formal and organized about it, but yet so evil at the same time….it was a great vibe. I was pretty let down by the kids next to me, who had been going off for BFMV and KSE, sat down for all but ‘Raining Blood’.
Being that close to Kerry King kinda takes your breath away. The man is scary, simple as that. But it was watching Tom Araya’s crazy faces that will forever be burned in my brain. I did not stop moving for the entire 60 minutes. Here’s another album I can’t wait to hear…I’ve heard it’s really amazing!
Manson’s set started with a bang as he walked right over to where our seats were, and where all the photographers were, and peeked around the curtain and made a funny face. Hope someone caught it.
Now that I was thisclose to the stage, I can tell you that Manson hasn’t gained any weight- he looks really good actually. And I’m pretty sure that the pretty young thing sitting on the side of the stage was Stoya.
There were some pretty significant changes from the night before- not sure if this means that they are switching things up from night to night, or if they just got all the kinks out of the first show, but either way this version was much better. Manson was in quite a mood, hanging on Jeordie and the new bassist Andy Gerold, toying with the crowd, “Do you want to be called San Francisco or Mountain View? Let’s call it Marilyn Manson town”, and enjoying his assistants bringing him beer and such, taking a sip, and spitting it out and throwing it at the crowd. And then there was the point where he walked over by my seats and I got to run up and hold onto his hand for a quick second. Don’t worry, he was wearing a glove.
There wasn’t one thing about this production that felt even mildly shocking…there were just mild, weird theatrics, but mainly things were focused on the music. He cut himself out of a white box thing during ‘If I Was Your Vampire’, and wore a white shroud for ‘Sweet Dreams’. Did I mention that I could go without these assistants bringing him drinks and patting him down with a towel? Cause I really could.
It was awesome to watch Jeordie play guitar, and after my twitter comments the other night about how most guys can’t pull off playing a flying V, he somehow does it. He’s also much more animated in this role- I mean, he’s not jumping off speakers and shit, but he’s not as dangerously mellow as when he plays bass. Though I’m still glad I got to see him on bass at last year’s Warfield show, since I didn’t get to back in the day.
I danced around like a crazy person for the whole set. It was therapeutic. I still think it’s a weird fit to see Manson after the rest of these bands, but I’ll take it. Next time I’d like to hear more Portrait, though…
My night ended on a funny note involving one of the bands….and that’s all I’ll say about that.
Hmmm….Mayhem will be in San Antonio when I’m home for a wedding….hmmmmm……
Happy HRC w/ Manson in the background: