Friday, March 7, 2014

The Sword at the Double Door March 5th, 2014

I'm gonna start by saying that I, personally, have never seen the Double Door as packed as it was Wednesday night. The whole thing was almost ridiculous, and then went right over the edge when the mosh pit started.

This was the second time that I'd seen the Austin foursome in the venerable Wicker Park venue, and in neither case was it as fun as their 2010 show at the Metro. Simply for the sheer fact that I could not move, and I was surrounded by a fair number of douchey assholes, in with the decent folks. Perhaps this is a result of the band's growing popularity, or more likely the difference between a venue with a capacity of 500 versus 1150.

I cannot fathom why metal bands, after they reach a certain level of popularity, immediately become a magnet for ballcapped frat assholes. I suppose it can be traced to male power fantasies, but, whatever. The whole thing gets worse when compounded with entitlement syndrome....

You know what I'm talking about, the moment when some fireplug-shaped jagbag with a shaved head and a goatee decides he has to get to the front RIGHT NOW, and plows through everyone on the floor. Doing so in the absolutely most discourteous and, flatly, dangerous way possible.

See, back in my days of mosh pit madness, there was a code. There was an understood level of respect and concern for the people around you. If someone went down, you stopped and blocked until they could get on their feet, you could get them on their feet, or security could get them out. It was a brotherhood of violent physical release, not a competition. Not a contest to see who could force themselves furthest up front. Some idiot on Wednesday even tried to crowd surf.


Let's come to an understanding here....when the club is packed like sardines, you don't deserve to get to the front. Especially when you arrive late.

In short. Fuck you.

Anyway, aside from all that. Fantastic show.

The openers were impressive, moreso than usual. I was particularly taken with O'Brother out of Atlanta. They were heavy enough to be appropriate, melodic enough to be interesting, and their vocalist, Tanner Merritt, has a hell of a set of pipes. This despite a lot of modulation on the vocals (which was a theme for the night). The songs were catchy, which is always of primary importance with me. Definitely a band, I'll be picking up at least one disk from.

Big Business
Also on the bill was Big Business, which includes a couple of guys who play with The Melvins. I was totally unaware of this, as usual. Good band, a hard-hitting band, and Coady Willis is simply a monster drummer. Powerful and all over the kit. Thrilling to watch, although he kind of looks like an accountant (a super-cool accountant, but nevertheless...). Also with Jared Warren on bass and truly distinctive vocals. I really enjoyed the set, but, I have to admit, just base don comparing the two openers, I didn't find Big Business' songs as compelling as the performance. I might download some tracks, or an album, but I have a feeling that without the live energy, I might not be too jazzed.

The Sword was, as usual, great.  I simply love this band, so my "review" may leave a lot to be desired. I love the songs, I love the style, and I, personally, love J.D. Cronise's voice. Although, again, clearly a lot of processing on his vocal tracks.

The Sword
The sound was vastly better than the last time I saw the band at the Double Door, the vocals were pretty much inaudible at the show, and it annoyed me. Wednesday night there was no such problem. The band is rather static on stage, but that's generally fine with me. Aside from my beloved Springsteen, I'd rather bands stand still and play well (not that Springsteen doesn't play well - quite the opposite). I've had enough of the half-assed musicianship in the service of "putting on a show."

I do admit to a true joy in watching bassist Bryan Richie play. It's so unlike most metal musicians, who tend to the violent thrash. Headbanging and the like. It reflects his playing, a flow, rather than an attack. It's probably part of why I love this band so much, a true sense of groove.

The Sword stands, and delivers. In fact, the only complaint I could level would be that Night City didn't make the setlist.

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