Yes, you are reading that correctly. D.R.I. and Attitude Adjustment on the same bill. And no I am not talking about 1985 here. I'm talking last night Slim's, mofo's.
If I am remembering correctly, this was the forth time I have seen D.R.I. and A.A. share the same stage, dating back over 25 years. Both bands were a staple of San Francisco's Punk/Metal/Crossover scene back in the day, and I can recall seeing them together at the On Broadway, Ruthie's and The Farm. At the risk of getting all sentimental and shit, those were pretty magical times, especially for the long haired metal kid from the East Bay that was myself. For those of you who were there, I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. I'm not gonna wax poetic about it, but if you weren't there, or need a history lesson, go here.
Before I get started here, let me apologize in advance for these pictures, as they are not up to my standards by any means. But to say that I was in battle conditions would be an extreme understatement. There was no barricade for photographers (I think I would have been disappointed if there was,) so I spent over 3 hours smashed against the stage. I could hardly move, let alone dial in my camera settings or take pictures. I was fending off stage divers all night, as well as some dude who muscled his way to the front of the stage and decided to be a total dick to every single person around him. At one point this motherfucker decided to wrap his arm around my head for leverage, but my elbow in his rib cage convinced him that that was not a good idea. It was a total blast though, and I can definitely hold my own up there, but I had started to fear for my camera and gear and decided to bail to the much safer confines of the bar area half way through D.R.I.'s set. I think the pictures do capture the vibe of the show though.
Up first this evening was Vöetsek, and local band that I have somehow managed to miss live over the years. Although I believe they use to be a bit more hardcore style, their music seems to have progressed into more of a straight up crossover sound. Think Hirax meets Cryptic Slaughter. All I can really say is that they were the PERFECT band to open the show, and I really can't believe I waited so long to see them. Singer Ami Lawless cant grunt and scream out the vox right up there with her male counter parts, while guitarist Ben Reduction crunched out some pretty heavy riffage. Unfortunately their time on stage was way too short. Not going to miss them next time they play.
Next was Attitude Adjustment, and I really don't think I can say anything here that will do them justice. They just flat out killed it. This was the third time I've seen them in the last year or so (last time was a pretty epic show at Your Hauz with Fang, Verbal Abuse, and Oppressed Logic) and was by far the best. The current line-up may not be the one all the old school people are most familiar with, but it is one of the best. Original vocalist Kevin Reed was nothing short of a total mad man, and belted out the American Paranoia-era songs with just as much fury as Andy "Airborne" Anderson. Original drummer Chris Kontos just beat the shit out of his kit, and he and the band were a five piece wrecking crew. Classics such as "Grey World", "DSFA" "Hunger And Poverty", "Dope Fiend" and "Johnny" sounded just good as they did all those years ago. I really cannot say enough good thing about their set. They just totally ruled. They will be playing with Anvil at The Fillmore on February 6th, and you really need to go see them.
When D.R.I. finally hit the stage and I saw Spike picked up his guitar, I admit that I got a bit choked up inside. As most of you know Spike Cassidy was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006, and after both radiation and chemotherapy he has made a full recovery. I'm not going to get into it, but this really hit home with me.(If you follow this blog back to it's beginnings you will get just a tiny part of what I'm talking about.) Anyways, once I heard the opening of "Who Am I" I forgot about all that and was totally transported back in time. Kurt's voice still sounds great, and with Spike riffs every song just blew me away. The crowd was just going absolutely nuts, and after counting at least 30 stage divers flying over my head and catching more than a few elbows, I decided to get the hell out of there and make my way to the bar. While there I overheard a guy say to his friend, "Dude, every song is a money shot!" And I couldn't agree more. "Snap", "I'd Rather Be Sleeping", "Soup Kitchen" "Mad Man" "Nursing Home Blues" "I Don't Need Society" and "Five Year Plan" were all there, and proved just how much a part of San Francisco Punk Rock History D.R.I. really are. They were the band that got me into Punk Rock in the first place, and I hope that they are gonna stick around for awhile.
Although this was a pretty awesome show to start of the new year with, I must say that my love/hate relationship with the Great American Music Hall continues. But don't get me wrong here- from a music geek perspective, it is by far one of my favorite venues. The acoustics are amazing, and it is without a doubt the most intimate "big" room in San Francisco. The staff is always super cool as well, and that always scores major points with me. From a photographers point of view however, I really don't enjoy shooting there. There is no barricade for photographers, which means I always have to show up at least 45 minutes before the doors open to be one of the first in line, and secure a spot against the stage. It also means that I can't really move around, and am limited to shooting whoever is in front of me. The lighting is somewhat minimal as well, and It is always a challenge to get decent shots. Such was the case last night with the Melvins. I was directly in front of Buzz for the most of the first set, and after getting the minimal shots needed I decided to put my camera, and just watch the show as a fan. And I must say that I'm glad I did, because they put on a pretty amazing set, and I think I enjoyed this show more than any other Melvins show I've seen over the years. Check out Umlaut for more on the evening, and then go over to Secret Serpents to purchase one of their amazing posters designed for the show!