My Musical Adventures

Grrl P0w3r: otep, Bury Your Dead @ DNA Lounge, 3/30/10

I walked into DNA Lounge to the growls of Through the Eyes of the Dead. Past the busy pit action, I made my way to a perch in the balcony. I had seen the prominent display of two members of this band wearing Meshuggah and Behemoth shirts on their MySpace page photo and set a certain expectation, but in reality they sound like Black Dahlia Murder listening to a lot of Behemoth and Meshuggah. The guitar work is impressive, and if I’d been able to see the drummer better I would have liked to check that out.


Onto another ‘Dead’ band, Bury Your Dead. They have a strong front man, who led the crowd throughout the entire set. ‘Raise your left hand in the air, now high five the person on your right, and then the one on your left’. I actually did this to surprise of the dudes on either side of me….I dunno why, I guess I was ‘in the mood’. That was followed by ‘the high five game’ where throughout an entire song you were supposed to do anything you could to try to high five the vocalist as much as possible. The poor kids in the front with the homemade otep shirts got slaughtered. The vocalist’s singing voice in not as strong as his growling voice, but it was nice to have the variance. The crowd was an almost 50/50 gender split, and there were a lot of girls mucking around in the pit. One even was doing so barefoot and in a sports bra. When the crowd was instructed to do the wall of death, I watched her actually stick it out before getting ricocheted out of sight.


This was my third time seeing otep, and it became pretty obvious during setup that not much has changed in her show over that period of time. But that’s ok, because I’m here because I think that Otep Shamaya is an important person to support. You would think that in San Francisco of all places, she would draw an amazing crowd, but perhaps she’s still a bit under the radar. In fact, I think every time I’ve seen her something about the crowd has really ticked her off, and the shows have never been that crowded. While otep’s music weaves in and out of things I like- it’s a fusion of nu-metal and spoken word- it’s what she represents that makes me tune in. Her political activism, being openly lesbian, she’s an advocate for vegetarianism, not to mention being a screamer in a metal band ….there’s no pigeonholing this one. And she covers Nirvana’s ‘Breed’.


She starts almost every song with a different head adornment- a mask, goggles, a piece of netting- and there’s a part of me that wishes she would stop doing this and just concentrate on the music. I tried to draw some deep metaphor for why she does it; maybe how society tried to get us to conceal who we really are- but I’m not feeling particularly deep tonight.


“Take it off!” Don’t shout this at her between songs. She will tell you that you have a shriveled dick. There was another female heckler apparently right up front. I don’t understand these people.

While I feel like I’ve never seen otep completely ‘on’ at a show, I still enjoy her sets. She’s got a great voice, both literally and figuratively. I would love to see her do something with Tom Morello in the future, I think that would be a really cool pairing.

“… my confession

because i’m diluted
perfectly flawed

i shall
live by passion
not by law

and i’m
insecure …
i need aggression

feed the spiders
of perception

and i’m
supposed to be strong
& have
all the answers

in the
new church of cancer

but i’m
nothing special
i’m not unique

i have
many secrets
& i
eat the weak

and i’m
at an end

i’m at an end …..

and there’s …

i need to find my sanctuary
….. someplace safe
gotta get this outta me
….. this is my escape”

~My Confession

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