Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It List: Tuesday

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead/Secret Machines/Ume (Granada): You know that scene in "Stand By Me," where the kids are all really scared of the junkyard guard-dog, "Chopper?" I mean, they should be scared, right? The dog has a really scary name, and a devastating reputation for mangling the genitalia of would-be trespassers, so who could blame them?

Of course, the reality is that Chopper is really a pathetic and rather small golden retriever that starts playfully digging a hole when he chases Wil Wheaton's "Gordie" out of the junkyard. When he finally looks back to see what has caused this collective terror amongst his friends, he soberly asks, "That's Chopper?"

In fact, Chopper was played by a dog who, in reality, is named, "Popeye," and also starred in "The War Of The Roses" as "Benny," and in "Out Of Bounds" as "Barney The Dog." Names and characters surely more fitting to represent the actor-pup's gentle nature.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead might be the poster act for what I refer to as "Chopper Bands." They've got real tough names, dark album artwork, a really fierce reputation, and yet, as soon as I saw them finish a set with a childish tantrum towards their own equipment* at a sold out performance opening for Blonde Redhead years ago, I muttered under my breath, "That's Chopper?"

In fact, it is AYWKUBTTOD's equipment that has the most to fear when they step on-stage, and I find their instrument smashing act to be simultaneously redundant, and somehow also the most interesting thing about them. It was definitely the best sound that came from the stage during their performance.

I could not believe that I was supposed to tremble before this occasionally de-tuned emo-rock that at its best sounded like a lukewarm, mid-tempo Sonic Youth jam, with melodramatic, "whiny guy in a black t-shirt" vocals over it.

The artwork on their albums has gotten increasingly and ridiculously ornate to the point that it now makes the group's visual representation something of a goth doily. So there you have it. A Hot Topic Doily that should have "Benny," "Popeye," or "Barney The Dog" crocheted into the fabric. That's Trail Of Dead for me.

Metallica (American Airlines Center): I love when bands are so huge they don't have opening acts. Seriously, I think it's great. Probably the most comparably large show I ever attended was Pink Floyd in eighth grade; and I didn't have to put up with Blind Melon or Crash Test Dummies opening, or any of the similarly terrible radio rock going on at that time.

I'm not a Metallica fan other than perhaps kind of liking the ultra-dry production technique on their first record, and they have decent taste in cover songs. After that, they aren't that interesting, save for the giant cartoon they became of course, and they have done well to exploit that through more than one documentary showcasing their behavior.

To be fair, when I saw "Some Kind Of Monster," I actually cringed a couple of times when I found myself relating to a couple of particularly bad episodes which were the result of James Hetfield's attitude problems. If you spent seventy something dollars to see this, I doubt you'll be disappointed and that's probably the best thing I can say about Metallica at The AAC.

Disqo Disco (Fallout Lounge)

90's Night With Yeah Def (Hailey's) Anonymous says... 4:15 pm: "Aw, dude, how can you trash Trail of Dead and Metallica and then put the link for Disco Disqo and 90's Night? Fucking lame, man. That's why this blog sux. Whatever. You guys always talk about dance music/noise/metal/punk/wimpy indie shit/hyped up bullshit/jorts/skinny jeans/v neck shirts/alan palomo/your stupid friend's bands/etc." Rock on, Scene-agers. I do it for you.

*I hear they cut this out. Too bad.


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