I do love it when life throws me a pleasant curve ball. Especially when it adds to something that is already awesome. Tuesday was already shaping up to be a killer day because the second I leave the office I’m heading to Downtown LA to see Chothinic, Devildriver and the almighty Skeleton Witch. The only downer about the show is Arch Enemy is the headliner. Nothing against them as a band. Over all Arch Enemy is pretty solid, but after my love of a female fronted Death Metal band wears off, they’re mediocre at best. But headliner aside, I’m looking forward to a killer night of amazing Metal when the work day is done.
As morning morphs into afternoon and my second energy drink begins to kick in, my phone goes off. It’s a text from a guy named Mike. According to him we met a few years back, we talked for awhile but nothing ever came of it. Anyone who knows me at all--and who knows me better than you dear readers--knows that I barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning let alone someone I spoke with two years ago. But I need something to distract me from explaining to a disgruntled designer why it’s too late to buy stuff for Halloween and Christmas, So I reply to him. Besides it’s been a bit slow in the boy department and my ego could use a bit of a boost. So I reply to ask what we spoke about. According to Mike I turned him onto Watain, Devildriver and a few other bands. Still I have no clue who he is, after all I will recommend bands to damn near anyone who will listen, so that tells me nothing. At some point in the conversation I mentioned I was going to the Devildriver, Chthonic, Skeleton Witch show. And since that is the most awesome ticket in town tonight he invites himself along. Normally I don’t meet strangers who text me out of no where, but I’m feeling good tonight. Secure in the knowledge that if he turns out to be complete psycho or butt ugly I can stomp him to death in the pit and no one will be the wiser.
Arriving to the show I’m pleasantly surprised that Mike is pretty cute and all about a night of drinks. We’re standing on the floor in front of the stage, trying to get a good position to see Chthonic. As we’re drinking and chatting the smell of vomit suddenly rises into the air. I look behind me and not three feet away some kid has tossed his cookies. Now I’ve been to more than my fair of shows and seen more than a few light weights loose their shit at the end of the night, but this was the first time I have ever seen someone puke before the show even fucking starts. No one is drunk enough to deal with this just yet and needless to say that the kid that lost it is heckled away from the stage as security comes out to clean up the mess with that vomit powder that they used in pre-school. Just as the stench starts to dissipate the room goes dark and Chthonic takes the stage. The first thing you notice when Chthonic takes the stage is Doris, Thunder Tears on bass. She is stunning and bad ass, everything that a Metal chick should be and from the look on her face is about to play the fucking shit out of that bass. There is a rumble in the air as Doris, Thunder Tears strums the first notes on her bass and Jesse the Infernal slams us with the first riff of “Broken Jade”. Jess, Face of Maradou brings the pain with his gut churning screams. To hear such and amazing voice come from such a slim and handsome man give me all kinds of shivers in places we won’t talk about here. I may be rocking out next to a cute guy tonight, but at this moment I want a Taiwanese boyfriend fucking yesterday! That's right kittens I am totally down with the boba bitches. Chothic put out a set that was fluid and perfect. Even people that were’nt familiar with Chothic were sucked into their presence. This heady blend of Metal and traditional Taiwanese instruments that transcends the concept of East meets West that is sometimes put on Asian bands. Everything about Chthonic is a blend of sonic bliss that makes you happy to be alive and hearing even when you’re thinking of bashing someones brains in. But it’s a feeling that goes to the core of Chthonic and their music. Being that the members of Cthonic are long time human rights activist and their show was co-sponsored by Amnesty International; everything they do is about finding peace. Even if peace has to come from destruction. After a short speech about the importance of human rights issues and teaching the crowd how to FUCK in Taiwanese Chothic left the stage. It was a sad day moment indeed cause I could have listened to them all night.
Time to hit the bar for a quick intermission before Skeleton Witch. The venue is running a tight ship so instead of hanging out on the smoking patio, we take out booze and head back to the floor to get a good spot. We’re not even half way through our drinks before the mad puker is back in action covering the floor in his vile, greasy smelly vomit. Seriously dude, if you’re sick just stay the fuck home, don’t ruin my night with your putrid stomach juice. But I digress, Skeletonwitch took the stage with a fury that I didn’t see coming. Their pit was equally fast and brutal. A random fist sending Mike flying across the floor and into me. But being the professional drinker that I am proud to say that I didn’t spill a drop of my precious vodka tonic, nectar of the pagan gods of Metal. Mike on the other hand ended up damp and with some ice cubes in his pocket. Skeletonwiitch is one of those bands that I have loved for ages, but for some reason I’ve lost track of them over the years. They played a lot of tunes from their new album “Forever Abomination” and I will admit that I didn’t know any of the lyrics, but it really didn’t matter Skeletonwitch rocked the fuck out that place. Spawning a mixture of blood, sweat and epic windmills to break out all over the club. These guys play heavy, riff intense shit that you would have to be an enemy of music and fun not to enjoy. Their technical precision was amazing. Like watching psychics and the secrets of the universe being played out in front of you. What made it even better is that as brilliant as they were there was not a ounce of pretension in the way they played. When you see Skeletonwitch play you’re in the presence of a bunch of guys who fucking love what they do having a good time.Their stage presence was amazing and I’m sure they won over a lot of new fans tonight.
By now me and Mike have a pretty good buzz going, which means we need a trip back to the bar. Because four drinks on a Tuesday night just isn’t enough. Devil Driver is on the stage. Another band that fills me with glee and a bit of shame. Devil Driver is an amazing band and they hail from LA’s backyard, Santa Barbara, I feel bad that they are another band that I have lost track of. The last Devildriver album I bought was 2005s “The Fury of Our Makers Hand”. They played some classic tunes like “Devil’s Son”, “Grinfucked” and “Just Run” but after that I knew fuck all by way of lyrics. But once again it didn’t matter. Dez has an amazing voice and his blend of gut wrenching scream and dizzying high notes gave me chills. John was looking especially hot on bass, putting a buffed out bass player back on my list of guys to date again at some point.
After a quick trip to the merch booth, I’m floating a little tired and thinking of calling it a night. It’s late, I have to work in the morning and I can live without seeing Arch Enemy. It takes another cocktail to coax me back into the fray but Mike manages me to stick around for for the headliner. Angela looks amazing when she steps on the stage, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a lady with a voice like that. At this point I’m still thinking of Arch Enemy as a decent band but nothing to get too excited over. And I couldn’t have been more wrong. All of the energy and passion that always seems to be missing from Arch Enemy’s albums comes through loud and clear when they’re on stage. Angela’s voice soared and growled as the guitars punished my ears with brutality. Angela is a pro-fem metal goddess that whipped all of the ladies in the crowd into a frenzy to create a pit that put a lot of the boys to shame. Whoever is doing the production needs to stop what their doing and channel the energy of Arch Enemy live into their albums yesterday.
It’s 2 am, my ears are ringing, my neck is a bit sore from all of the head banging and I’m a little bit drunk. All in all it is the perfect end to a most excellent evening. The only bummer is that I have to be in the office in the morning. But I had so much fun tonight that drinking my weight in caffeine to get through the day is going to be worth it.