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.
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.
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.
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.