After taking two wrong turns, skidding my car around on water, and traipsing through the rain, I made it to this Blake’s place. Now, I never travel “overseas” for shows, but I heard the venue was small, I like the 2 main bands a lot, and it was only $8. I made an exception.
I walk down the stairs and feel like I had been transported to HRC’s early concert going days in Austin. Tiny shit venue with shit sound and…no stage! Seriously, I think the stage was sunken. And I think that everyone in there knew each other, because I was getting stares like crazy. Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name-style. Why do people freak out when a girl goes out to shows by herself? And Berkeley apparently has their own brand of goths…hippie goths, if you will. Interesting.
I know these bands are way better than this venue.
“It is a testament to Kris Dommin’s voice that it can transcend the shitty speakers.”
I barely made it as Dommin was taking the stage at the seriously early time of 8:30p. I walked up as close as I could, but their swiftly building cult following prevented me from being able to see much 3 people back from the stage. They started with “My Heart Your Hands”. I could occasionally peep the curl, but could not see a instrument. This made HRC sad. It is a testament to Kris Dommin’s voice that it can transcend the shitty speakers. At the middle of the opening song, the power on his amp went out. Luckily that didn’t happen again. They followed MHYH up with “Tonight”. A couple songs later, they did a Depeche Mode cover that I didn’t love…much preferred the cover they did when they opened for BLB and Combichrist last month. It needed to be more synth heavy. But, they closed strongly with “Without End”. Roses were tossed and good times were had by a few ladies in the front row.
A quick glance around and I knew I needed to find a better place to stand than in the middle of the would-be pit. I also really wanted to be able to see. I found a place along the side, where the band walks by, sets up equipment, and apparently does their pre-drumming stretches. It was odd, and kinda took a bit of magic away. A setlist was posted in plain sight on the wall near me.
Wednesday 13 is “horror punk”, and takes the name from the lead man, who used to front Murderdolls and the creatively named Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13. It’s best summed up by Rob Zombie meets Marilyn Manson, with a side of Rancid.
“And the front row was literally on top of them.”
The guys hit the stage, and the crowd goes bonkers. It’s kinda funny to watch people fight to go from third person from stage to first, since that’s the only way you can see. And the front row was literally on top of the band. After the first song, W13 asked for everyone to take a step back. The room that was created didn’t last long. He had to remind people of this several times, “this isn’t war”. The sound started out, once again, horribly. Luckily W13’s voice has almost static-y qualities, so it almost fit. But the sound either improved, or my ears settled.
The fans knew every word to every song, and were obedient to W13’s “put your fist up” and “put those horns up” demands…which HRC no likey. I saw at least 2 couples making out in the midst of the pit, scaring me that someone’s tongue was going to get bitten off.
Now, I could only see slightly better during this set, but I came to two conclusions about Mr. W13. 1, he has really nice hair. 2, he seems waaayyyy too stiff up there. Dude, I know you write songs about cadavers, but you don’t have to sing like one. It was just something in his eyes. This was my first time to see him, so I don’t know if this is the norm.
They worked their way through “My Home Sweet Homicide”, “Gimme Gimme Bloodshed”, an old song from his Frankenstein Drag Queen days, “Bad Things”, ending with “I Love to Say Fuck”…which is a real fun one live. There were a few other songs in there. However, I, and everyone else, thought they were coming back out for an encore for sure, but the house lights came on. The setlist had more on it, but I think W13 may have felt the same way as me about this venue…or perhaps he was having a bad day. Who knows.
I need a do-over at seeing Wednesday 13. Please come back to SF next time
I gotta give it to the guys in Berkeley- you have some creative pick up lines, as well as methods of delivery (cell phone! wow.). To the guy who said I “looked like a band member’s wife”- thanks. It made my night.
So, I went to see Dommin and Wednesday 13 and all I got was this shitty photo:
Wednesday 13 performance: 8/10
Dommin performance: 8/10
venue (Blake’s in Berkeley): 1/10
value ($8.00/ticket): 8.5/10