Manic Metal Monday: SuidAkrA, Cormorant, Ashkira @ Thee Parkside, 3/15/10

I caught myself peeking out the window to see if it was dark yet.

I spent all weekend in a self-imposed solitary confinement- on a strict diet of brown rice and veggies, no vices, and more than four hours a night of sleep- which is what I try to do between HRC binges (last week AiC / BRMC, later this week, SXSW). Normally, I welcome the solitude; I mean, I’m an only child…..but for some reason, this weekend I felt all Lydia Deets….

Tip #1: When you’re feeling blue, don’t watch a film about a dude in isolation up in space talking to himself (Moon)

Tip #2: When you’re feeling blue, don’t watch a period piece about one of the most well known Romantic poets (Bright Star)

Even though we lost an hour, I was actually ready to go to work on Monday. Then I got to the office and the people around me were out….I didn’t have any meetings…….my email was empty, my RSS feed…empty…..the phone….silent…..

And then, all of a sudden, a butterfly flapped it’s wings somewhere and BOOM, somehow I began to exist within the world again.

One of those things was that Alan had a +1 for a show I was considering going to anyway, so I gladly snatched it up.

As we walked up to Thee Parkside, we could hear that the first band was already on even though we were only about 5 minutes late. Ashkira is local, and though I hadn’t heard of them before tonight, I’m definitely going to put a watch on them. They are Lamb of God influenced, with some Scandinavian metal sensibilities mixed in. The vocalist does a pretty intense crowd stare-down as he plays the bass.

ashkira

I saw Cormorant open for Jello Biafra a couple weeks ago. It was great to be able to see them in such a different venue for comparison. Their sound just fit better at Thee Parkside. I was tripping out watching this high school aged metal kid filming the show with a Flip camera, headbanging at the same time. I wanted to go up to him and be like ‘ummmm….I’ve done that and trust me you’re NOT going to be happy with the video!’. As I watched the set, I thought about how atmospheric their music is, and how I could easily see it integrated into a soundtrack for a movie or videogame. Their songs, which average in the 8-10 minute range, are all little self contained journeys. If I had to pick a winner, tonight’s highlight for me was ‘Uneasy Lies the Head’. It just embodies everything that’s unique about this band….the songs starts one way- dark and brooding- and ends another- triumphant, perhaps, with a power ballad guitar solo in the middle. They played a new song- which is still an instrumental at this point- but it sounds great.

One day I will get a clear pic of these guys….they move around a lot!

cormorant

It always trips me out to see a band come all the way from Germany to this little bar for 75 people. Last time I saw a German band here was Secrets of the Moon. SuidAkrA may have the largest height disparity between guitarist and lead singer/guitarist. The guitarist was so tall that every time he raised his fist in the air, I thought he might hit the ceiling.

suidakra

Calling SuidAkrA pagan metal is a bit of a misnomer. Those elements are definitely there in some songs, but they were more straightforward metal than I expected based on what I’d heard about them. The vocalist may be the first one I’ve ever heard ask ‘how’s my hair’ after a song. Another funny moment came when he said ‘I usually ask for people to show me their hands, feet, and tits; but I got too many man-boobs’.

I was standing back in the corner, watching the crowd as much as the band. At smaller shows that are less packed like this one, with a band that I’m not as vested in, I like to look at the bigger picture. I’m seeing the people in the front latched onto the barrier, the looks on their faces, their mannerisms syncing up to the music. The way they look satisfied when they hear the next song that’s coming, when for me it’s just a word. The way they glisten when the band says that this song is for them. The general feeling of everything coming together that allows a fan and a band from half way around the world to share an experience in a little bar in Potrero Hill on a Monday night.

Sometime during that set I bottomed out. That’s my term for the sort of mild manic depression I suffer from….after last week’s extreme highs (front row for three of my all time favorite bands, seeing one of those bands three times, plus meeting some of them) downward spiraled into the weekend. But once I saw those fans feeling the music, I snapped out of it. In two days I’m going to be on a bender of all benders!!

Somehow life has become blank space between shows. What happens when there’s nothing coming up on my calendar?

One day at a time.

The show ended on a funny note when some heckler/regular bar patron time shouted ‘Stalin sucked!’ at the band. Once we figured out what they were trying to say, there was a murmured apology from the crowd for our California school system.

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