Wednesday night was a friggin’ rock show at The Badlander. I’d never been there before, and when I saw how small it was, particularly the stage, I had my doubts. But the place filled up and it was unreal. One of the best shows I’ve been to, certainly in Missoula. Mahamawaldi opened the show, and they were their punishing, death metal selves. They do their thing very well, and people dug them.
I’ll talk about The Sword next, even though they were the headliners and played last. They were good. Not great, but good. Probably better than their records, since it was live and delivered with thunder. They certainly aren’t the indie pretty boys many say they are, they just looked like greasy touring rockers like every other band that tours out of a van. Julia did acknowledge that one of them was cute enough for the hype, and he was also the most “rock” of any of them. He’s the one on the left in this shot:
While she was licking her lips over goldilocks, I was lusting for the bass player’s telecaster bass. It was a reissue, but I reflected on my high school band director’s vintage tele bass that he used to let me play, and I wanted it.
The drummer took his job very seriously. A solid player, but I don’t think he smiled once. I was right up front, close enough so that the air coming through the mic opening in the front head off the kick drum was blowing against me with every beat. This picture looks like he’s trying to relocate a troublesome burrito:
It was a brutal crowd. Julia and I were shoulder to shoulder right up front for the whole show, and it was a battle. Waves of drunken college kids tried to supplant us, but they broke like waves against the rocks. She impressed the hell out of me, because I know I was just getting hammered repeatedly from the crowd. It’s kind of fun to be able to exert 100% strength now and then, but I worried about her. She did a great job. I thought I would be sore, but aside from my ears ringing, the only other thing is the palms of my hands are really sore from being pressed against the monitors. Julia has a bruised knuckle where she backhanded some dude who head-butted her. I’m telling you, it was a rock show. Sid and Will are both bruised and battered from the mosh pit. It was a great time.
My god, did Slough Feg rock. I’d heard how great they are live, and I love their records, but they blew me away. And I don’t blow away easily. I loved everything about them. I loved hanging out before the show and chatting with them a bit. Julia, Mike Scalzi (Slough Feg’s Main Guy) and I talked about being old warriors in bands with really stupid names that nobody knows about and fewer like, but that it is still so goddamn great and fun simply because so much of it IS so stupid! I loved that they are touring in a pair of minivans (their bass player, when I was proclaiming my amazement and lust over his bitchin’ 4×12 bass cabinet said, “It’s 2000 watts, and best thing is it fits in the minivan!”), I loved that they didn’t have any stinkin’ roadies (The Sword had 3), I loved that their pedals and cables and stuff were being pulled out of ratty old backpacks and satchels . . . I just loved how real it all was. Then they plugged in and just dominated.
Like Bob Marshall (drummer for Volumen, guitar player for Bacon and Egg, and owner of Biga Pizza) said, they were like everything that is good about rock n’ roll distilled down into one band. They were THAT good. I’m flying high over it, big time. I wish I was in that band, for crissakes. As I mentioned, the stage at The Badlander is really small, but it had a bunch of cabinets and tables off stage left, and Scalzi kept getting up and getting out on the wing. At one point during a song that has dueling leads going back and forth between he and “Don” Angelo Tringali (2nd guitarist), Scalzi takes his guitar off and hands it out into the crowd to Julia’s boyfriend from The Sword, who is just rocking out with everyone else, and that guy commences to shred; this went back and forth a couple times. It was brilliant. The crowd ate that shit up. Mike Scalzi is the real deal. I’m practically hyperventilating just thinking about it. I can’t wait to see them again.
Tonight Missoula’s own answer to Heavy Rock Quality, the mighty LAZERWOLFS, commence recording of our third album, titled La Bruja. I’m very excited. We haven’t recorded in a couple years, actually. We used to rehearse in Jimmy’s garage, which was also a studio, and we got spoiled because we could record whenever we wanted to. Since he moved and hasn’t rebuilt a new studio yet, we haven’t recorded. The new “control room” is all set up and ready to go in the conference room of the office he runs (which is also where we rehearse). This go-round will be different for us in a lot of ways. Not only are we under pressure to bang the entire thing out in one weekend, it is also the first time we have songs to record that we’ve never played live before. Sure, we’ve demoed new stuff in the past, but never from “brand new” straight to album before. Christ, I don’t even know for certain what I’m going to sing on a couple songs. That adds an element of freshness and excitement that I am eager to jump in the middle of. And then next week we are going into Habbilis to record TATER PIG!