Last night, metal lovers from Taiwan, Portland, Norway, and San Francisco joined forces.
My path into this show was bumpy….I was supposed to get in on the Bleeding Through guestlist (their PR firm actually responded to me….life of a small-time blogger…sigh), but they dropped off the tour Friday morning. That didn’t leave me any time to retry contacting the Satyricon camp…..but I gladly paid to see them.
You never know if Slim’s is going to have a barrier or not, so I got there bright and early to be able to get a good spot for pictures. I knew it would be a good night when I got parking right out front, was able to walk in and get a drink, and still got a spot at the front corner of the stage. There wasn’t a barrier; and this meant that the bands literally play on top of you.
Chthonic came out promptly at 8pm. I thought they were really amazing. I loved that they are able to fuse Black Metal with Asian influences. They look like they could be the house band for a Takashi Miike film. Each member has their own signature style going on; the vocalist wears white out contacts, which I hadn’t seen in a long time. The female bassist is absolutely beautiful; and it was refreshing to see that she was actually a very skilled player and fiercely headbanged the entire set, in heels…she wasn’t just there for eye candy. They were an excellent choice in opener for Satyricon. The short thirty minute set just wasn’t enough.
As Toxic Holocaust was setting up, a different subset of the crowd squeezed up front amongst the black-clad, mostly female group (myself included). These guys, in their denim swathed in unreadable band logo patches, took pictures of the pedals and were geeking out on the equipment. When the three piece, from Portland, hit the stage, at first it was hard to take singer/guitarist Joel Grind seriously: when I see bleached blond hair and a headband I immediately think hair metal, but that quickly went away. He also had handcuffs attached to his belt…..anyway, I enjoyed the set but would have enjoyed it way more had it been part of a different show. In fact, I was thinking, “man, I would have LOVED to see these guys with Skeletonwitch last night“. Looking at their tour schedule, they are going to be on a tour with Black Dahlia Murder and Skeletonwitch later this month…..haha…..I know how to pick ‘em! After thrashing around to blatantly satanic songs like ‘666’ and ‘Nuke the Cross’, it was time to reposition my brain back into the darkness…..
(something about the lighting for their set killed my camera)
During the set up for Satyricon, the setlist was promptly placed right in front of me…..so no surprises to be had on that front. This band represents a lethal combination for HRC…..music that I love + one of the best looking guys I’ve ever set my eyes on. Even though Satyr cut his hair, which generally means that a band is headed in a new direction, I have thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Age of Nero’ and remain a fan. Earlier this year, I went to see ‘Until the Light Takes Us’, which featured the drummer, Frost. His extravagant drum set had been perched up there on stage all night, awaiting him….the other bands had to set up around it.
It was very intense to be so close during this set. Actually, it made up for the fact that I get so pissed off at metal shows at Slim’s because the sound is so quiet due to ongoing noise ordinance legal issues. It was a tight squeeze for all six band members to be on that stage; I had to watch my hands the entire set as the bassist kept putting his foot on the monitors that I was using to keep my balance through my ferocious headbanging (I lost an earring in the process). There were times when my hair mingled with the bassists during these joint headbanging sessions.
As soon as they started with ‘Repined Bastard Nation’, I was transported into that place where I became one with the music. This was supported by Satyr telling the crowd, “you are part of the show”. ‘The Wolfpack’ into ‘Now, Diabolical’…..amazing. I had a great position to ‘watch’ Frost, who remained mostly a giant blur that my camera could not capture. Someone up front was actually holding onto Satyr’s trident-shaped mic stand as the crowd behind us was going off. I loved how the female keyboardist, when not playing, would stand in front of the keyboards and headbang (side to side style) and pound on her thighs.
“How often do you get Norweigian black metals bands here?” asks Satyr. My response- not nearly often enough! He spoke of it being their fourth time here, and made the obligatory, ‘but this is the best time’ comment. Part of Satyr’s appeal to me is how he exudes a regal quality. His posture, as he pumps his fist at the crowd, commanding us to feel the music, is stiff to a certain degree. He’s in control, and he never loses it. As the set went on, his eye makeup started to run, and it look like he was crying black tears….
‘Black Crow On a Tombstone’…..’Commando’……the crowd is one, stretching our clawed hands into the air. I’m embracing my darkness in the company of those that feel the same as me. There were times that I made eye contact with the guitarist, and I just don’t know what it is about the Norweigians, but there’s a certain coldness in their gaze that is both calming and intensely frightening at the same time. ‘Die By My Hand’ into ‘The Pentagram Burns’ was perhaps my favorite part of the setlist.
The encore: ‘K.I.N.G’ -> ‘Fuel for Hatred’ -> ‘Mother North’ was the perfect ending….like reversing time and going back to the beginning.
The only song I would have loved to hear that I didn’t is ‘Delirium’….but I don’t think they ever play that.
After the show, I was handed the setlist by one of the crew, who I could tell had been giggling at me from the side of the stage because I was drooling over Satyr the entire set. Then, the cool people I had been standing with all night let me know that the band was coming out to sign posters that you could buy at merch. So I bought a shirt and a poster, and Frost and the female keyboardist came out. I had them sign my setlist and got a picture…..very very cool. Check out Frost’s signature! Black Metal. Sure, I was sad that Satyr didn’t come out, but that might have been a good thing….I may never have returned to normalcy after meeting him…..
I went home and had the best sleep I’ve had in months….
Amazing videos from other shows:
I WANT THIS HAT! HAHAHA
Excellent interview that talks about their European tour with Pantera