April 21, 2008

Hessian Revelry

So, it came time once again to descend upon the Rose City for a night of hessian revelry and spectacle -- both of which were in sheer abundance. This gathering that I speak of was for traditional metal stalwarts, [The Lord Weird] Slough Feg and the perennial, controversy-shrouded and flak-inducing newcomers, The Sword - who's near overnight ascension to metal royalty has been well-documented and mulled over by nearly every self-respecting metalhead worth his or her salt.

The mere fact that the the new, major label darlings The Sword are headlining over a band
that has been in a suspended state of relative obscurity - nay, popular inertia -
for the better half
of nearly the last two decades is what serves as a bit of an impetus for the cross-examination that they've been under since their inception. Well, credibility and authenticity
are important signposts, especially when it comes to metal; but in a live setting, The Sword were
definitely in their element, and showed that they were at least eager to dispel any notions of
disingenuity, at the least. At the most, they had an intensity and a drive that would put
many so-called "true" metal bands to shame. Their studio material, however, pales in comparison. But, like I said, this band excels in a live setting that completely eclipses and obliterates any of the purile and ho-hum tendencies that are part and parcel of their studio repetoire.

Slough Feg... ah yes. The Bay Area band has been a bit of a perpetual outlier and constantly riding the cusp of metal obscurity for most of its existence - much to the dismay of the metal community, which is just now, in large, starting to discover and herald them for the tasteful, intelligent and timeless band that they are. Their set was wrought with youthful abandon and a swagger that would usually be befitting of a band half their age; yet they exude enough charisma and boyant energy to rival Iron Maiden as far as stage presence and command goes.
The band tore through a veritable "best-of" - reaching as far back as their debut and as recent as their latest, more streamlined and, arguably, commercially-viable outing, Hardworlder
(which, in my not-so-humble-opinion, is nowhere near the staggering commercial conceit than many-a-detractor has posited - it's simply a bit more palletable and somewhat refined). Everyone in the band were consummate professionals and extremely personable. No rock-star, primadonna posteuring and holier-than-thou attitudes on display. Just simple, almost blue-collar rockers who know how aren't afraid to rock out with all of the intensity that they can possibly muster. So, of course they delivered. They basically set the bar so incredibly high for the night that The Sword, besides being spot on technically, were much more subdued than their tourmates. This came as no suprise, though. Slough Feg has built quite a reputation on their now-legendary live act; and this night proved as no exception.

Now, enough pontificating and onto the visual goods:

Slough Feg

The Sword


April 19, 2008

Trespassing on Sanctity

Like I mentioned in my introductory post; the event that I attended, The Wordless Music Series, was a two day, back-to-back showcase aimed at exposing the parallel between indie/experimental/ambient/drone music and chamber/classical music. All-in-all, it was a definite success that managed to illustrate the correlation between the two "mediums" and hinted that there is a growing rapport between the oft-pereceived proletariat rock sect and the almost (at least from an outsider's perspective) lofty and impenetrable world of classical music.

The boundaries between the two realms of music have gradually been blurred through the last 50 years or so, but it has reached an almost fever-pitch in recent years with indie labels pretty much co-opting classical aesthetics, but slightly subverting and skewing them to stay within somewhat tenuous "rock" boundaries. Now it seems like convention is being completely thrown out the window, and these "scene parameters" are starting to erode from within. If anything, I think that mass-communication in the form of the internet has added some momentum/propulsion to this.

Kids who, formerly, spent their lives being spoonfed vapid, paint-by-numbers rock and pop now have this vast resource at their fingertips -- and for the first time in history, they have complete say in what they want to be exposed to. This is where classical music that has, previously, been very "exclusive", in a sense, is now starting to make in in-road into more contemporary forms of music -- and for the better; as Eluvium (aka Matthew Cooper) and the Third Angle New Music Ensemble (Ron Blessinger, Peter Frajola, Brian Quincey and Hamilton Cheifetz) have aptly displayed.

Now here's what I'm sure everyone really wants to see: the pictures. And...


Third Angle New Music Ensemble

April 18, 2008

...And So It Begins!

Well, here it is. After what seemed like an eternity mulling over what should reside here, the opening salvo has been fired and I can finally feel like I have something accomplished -- although *what* exactly has been accomplished has yet to be seen. Consider this a bit of an experiment that has little, if any, aim in sight, thus far. 

In the following weeks, this blog will become increasingly less 
spartan and much more fruitful.
But for now you're basically looking at a "work in progress" that is 
very much in its infancy 
and not quite ready for mass consumption. So take that as a bit of a 
modus operandi at this point. Being the avid concert-goer I am,
there will be no lack of visual content in the forthcoming posts.
This, coupled with supplemental, somewhat-hard-to-find music from
the corresponding artists will hopefully elevate this blog above a mere exercise in meaninglessness (and a proverbial needle in the blogstack).

Anyway -- enough rambling and onto something with substance.
To get the ball rolling, I'll be posting the first of a series of
concert photos that will ultimately end up on a few online publications, but will receive their first exposure (no pun intended) here. Without much ado,
I present you with my first batch of eye-candy in the form of Stars of the Lid -- with support from Christopher Willits and Classical Revolution (who will have to remain here in sentiment only due to my complete photographic ineptitude during their respective performances)
live at Holocene in Portland, Oregon on April 17th, 2008 -- as part of a two-day, classical/chamber/ambient showcase entitled, The Wordless Music Series. Enjoy!