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UME at SXSW 2011

UME

Day four of SXSW 2011, Saturday 3/19 and I took a bit of a break from the Metal to go down to Skinny’s Ballroom and catch Austin’s very own UME.  I was turned on to this band by a YouTube post on FB by my buddy Chris Smith (aka Jibbies) and I was hooked.  What a fantastic power trio they are.  Led by the gorgeous Lauren Larson, who is a sick guitar player and has a beautiful voice to boot.  Husband (boooo), Eric Larson, on bass and a hard hitting new drummer, Rachel Fuhrer.  Rachel was commandeering a kick-ass red/black striped Gretsch kit.  The house was packed and although it was their fourth show of the day, I don’t think anyone would have known by the enthusiasm and energy that they exuded.  The songs are punchy, catchy, and have a great combo of bite and beauty.  Lauren’s stage presence is freakin awesome.  She’s a very physical player with her head banging and hair flayling…what a bad-ass chick.  All the while shredding on the guitar and howling on the mic.  A very entertaining and captivating performance.  Their 5 song Sunshower EP is killer and widely available…so check that out.  I look forward to hearing more good stuff from this band in the near future.

A Drug Called Sheen

I don’t understand why people are making such a big deal about Charlie Sheen.  It’s yet another testimony to how our society is just a bunch of overly sensitive, bored, judgmental, self righteous, pansies.  Who cares?  Live and let live…ever heard the term?  I think the guy is pretty darn funny.  He’s definitely nutty, but man is he having a good time.  It’s interesting and funny to me that he really just plays himself on ‘Two and a Half Men’…now that’s reality TV…ha!  It’s all entertainment.  Why is it being taken so seriously?  On air or off the air…they’re celebrities…entertainers…don’t give them more than that.  None of them should be anyone’s role models.  I can kinda understand women hating on this guy, but dudes that do so are pretty hypocritical.  I mean come on…Sheen is living the life of a rock-star…and what dude wouldn’t want that, if not for at least one day?  He becomes “important” because of the constant media coverage and the mindless masses that eat it up.  And then everyone gets in their arm-chair and under the guise of the internet becomes an expert of some sort – judge, doctor, psychiatrist, pharmacist, therapist, etc.  So, to Mr. Sheen, I say party on dude.  Your tales of booze, drugs, hookers, and general kookiness give me a chuckle.  I have no place or reason to judge you and for that matter to care for or about you.

Friendship & Metal Dreams

BG and I after we played at SXSW 2008

Bobby and I have been friends since high school (about 23 years).  He is the only person outside of family that I have known that long.  It was our love of Metal that initiated our friendship and today that friendship has evolved, changed, and matured in a host of ways.  We’ve played music together in various permutations since high school and in our last band together I felt the musical chemistry between us was the most incredible.  During composing/arranging sessions it felt like we knew what the other person was thinking.  We had an immensely fun time and we were a very efficient musical alchemy team.  Our bond encompasses much more than just music.  We share similar views and outlooks on women/relationships, society, humor (he’s one of the funniest people ever), and our kitschy appreciation for things dark and macabre.  He’s a very kind, friendly, and good person.  Good people are hard to come by these days.  We’ve had a ton of killer experiences together and have gone through personal lows and highs together as well.  We have an awesome time just kickin it and hangin out.  I guess I kind of look to him as a big brother.  In recent years, he had a child and moved far away to Clear Lake .  We didn’t see each other, hardly talked, and the band was done.  I missed him greatly.  One comes to realize that the number of people we love or consider true friends becomes smaller and smaller as we get older.  Thus, forgetting or discarding those relationships is tragic and sad.  I finally got out to Clear Lake (two years late) and hung out with Bobby and got to meet his adorable daughter.  I’ve seen him a couple of times since then as well and it just felt really good.  It was really great to see Bobby with his little girl and how enamored he is with her.  You can just tell that he’s a great dad.  It was so fun ridin around with Piper in her car seat tellin Bobby to play the music loud…ha!

I had an amusing dream about Bobby and I last night.  I dreamt that we had found a new practice spot to play music and we were starting to set it all up.  The weird thing was that we both looked very different.  We both were wearing all black and had really long hair.  It’s like we were a couple of Scandinavian Metal dudes.  The best part was that he had a black flying V that he had just acquired and I was asking him if he would be doing any cool guitar moves or acrobatics with it.  He then put the V part on his leg with the front of the guitar facing away from him and holding the guitar vertically started to shred and solo like a guitar god.

I told Bobby about the dream and he had a great response.  He said – “You even dream Heavy Metal.  That’s pretty funny”.

Ha!  Indeed.  It all comes back to the Metal.

Horns up fuckers!

Bass Girls

What is it about chick bass players that is so hot? For that matter, I find women musicians in general to be attractive (not just in a physical way). For me it’s because the bass guitar is a formidable opponent in stature. As much as the lead guitar is considered a phallic symbol; the bass is a raging monster cock. A woman’s hands manipulating said instrument is a joyous sight. There’s also something mighty about the bass. It is felt as much as heard. A powerful and heavy tool in the arsenal of sonic craftsmanship. Thus the woman that wields this four stringed beast typifies for me the strong woman/tough chick persona. Hail \,,/

Here are some of my faves…

Paz Lenchantin

Paz Lenchantin – Most famous for her work with A Perfect Circle on their first record. The shot of her in the video for “Judith” in the mini skirt and heels, putting her hair in a pony tail at the 01:55 mark, getting the pick out of her mouth, and getting right back into the song is ultra-hot.

Nicole Fiorentino

Nicole Fiorentino – The latest cutie in a long line of female bass players for The Smashing Pumpkins. Just before The Pumpkins, she was a member of the post-Nina Gordon era Veruca Salt. I saw her with Veruca Salt at The Engine Room and couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She’s gorgeous.

Nadja Peulen

Nadja Peulen – She replaced Rayna Foss Rose as the bass player for the now defunct Coal Chamber. In my humble opinion, Nadja is way sexier than Rayna. She has her own t-shirt company and is currently a member of Vera Mesmer.

Melissa Auf Der Maur

Melissa Auf D er Maur – Easily the coolest and most talented of this bunch. She’s played with Hole and The Smashing Pumpkins. Her solo debut record was an absolute masterpiece. A great performer. I saw her twice at SXSW on two different occasions.

Tal Wilkenfeld

Tal Wilkenfeld – The youngest (24) bunny on my list and probably the most accomplished as a musicians musician. She has played with practically everybody. Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Chick Corea, Vinnie Colaiuta, Herbie Hancock, and many many more. She’s absolutely adorable with her long spiral curls. My friend, Kathy, told me “just wait until you see the girl playing with Jeff Beck” when we were watching the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame Legends video. Man, she wasn’t kidding.

Blood Red Throne, Enslaved, and Dimmu Borgir

T’was many nights before Christmas and evil rolled into the land.
They came from oceans away with sticks, drums, and battle axes in hand.
All the naughty little boys and girls rejoiced and cheered their Norse visitors with horns in the sky.
And in the background I could’ve sworn I heard Santa and Jesus cry.

-Aamir Hydari, 12/8/10…ha!

Blood Red Throne, Enslaved, and Dimmu Borgir at HOB Houston , December 7, 2010…

A crushing Norwegian onslaught befell Houston last night at The House Of Blues. Riquelme and I walked in as Blood Red Throne was pummeling the masses. Man, these guys were good. They played Floridian Death Metal with that oh so tasty Scandinavian touch and charm. Wailing solos, deep guttural vocals, fluid bass lines, and great drumming. The break downs were groove laden and the fast stuff was dizzying. Added coolness factor were the huge spiked arm bands the singer was sporting. They looked like he could seriously hurt someone with those things. Ha!

Next on deck was Enslaved. These guys put on an absolutely stunning performance. A hybrid of Pink Floydish atmospherics, guitar god fret acrobatics, brilliant melodic synth textures, a juxtaposition of clean vocals and raspy throat shredding, with a foundation of gargantuan Metal. Even with all these elements, there was no cheese and no mindless wankery. It was highly impressive and extremely captivating. Really talented and seasoned group of musicians. Thick mid-tempo groove, soft psychedelic interludes, soaring guitar solos, and the power of a Howitzer. These guys were pure majesty. Added coolness factor was the skull mounted front and center on the drum rack and the group of dudes next to us proudly waving a Norwegian flag. Awesome.

It was now time for Norway ’s ambassadors of darkness to spread their seething evil message over the crowd. The stage setup started to take form and an impressive sight it was. A huge drum riser flanked with inverted crosses, skulls, and pentagrams. The monster kit that sat atop it was magnificent. The humungous backdrop graced with the image of the mask from the cover of the new album – “Abrahadabra”. Two huge fan shaped lighting rigs sat in the background and when fired up delivered a strobe effect that made Riquelme so sick that he couldn’t look straight at them for very long. Ha! After an orchestral intro, Dimmu Borgir burst on to the stage and started to deliver wave after wave of symphonic Black Metal. Gone are the traditional black costumes with spikes and the like. Instead, they have opted for a new look on this tour. Corpse paint still used, but the garb was white. They looked like a group of evil polar mutants. They sounded fantastic and with all the symphonic/orchestral interplay it all had a regal-evilness to it. Ha! The precision and execution was mind boggling, especially in the double bass drum work. My favorites were “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse”, “The Serpentine Offering”, and “The Chosen Legacy”. Factoid – Cyrus from Susperia is handling bass duties on this tour for Dimmu Borgir. It was a ‘hell’ of a show…ha!!! Riquelme and I had a major good time. Really glad we went and soaked up some evil for the season. In Sorte Diaboli!!!!!!!!!

Top 10 For 2010

Ok, so I know its a month early, but I was itchin to get this out….

1. Armored Saint – La Raza (Metal Blade Records). Choice track – “Head On”. I was elated beyond belief when it was announced that The Saint was recording a new album this year. I traveled to L.A to see them and the record is just pure majesty. I can’t say enough about these guys.
2. Overkill – Ironbound (E1 Entertainment). Choice track – “The Goal is Your Soul”. The Thrashterpiece of the year. Talk about a ferocious return to form. Some of the most classic and killer riffs I’ve heard in a long time.
3. High On Fire – Snakes For The Divine (Koch Records). Choice track – “Snakes For the Divine”. In the last few years I’ve seen these guys many times and I enjoyed them more and more each time. 3 dudes that make a sound like a Panzer Division steam rolling over your family and sparing no one.
4. Kingdom Of Sorrow – Behind The Blackest Tears (Relapse Records). Choice track – “Gods Law in the Devils Land ”. Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar/Down) join forces on this sophomore release to create a pummeling yet incredible groovy combo of hard-core, metal, and Louisiana sludge.
5. Witchery – Witchkreig (Century Media). Choice track – “Devil Rides Out”. The Swedish super-group returned this year with a stunning record and guest appearances by a who’s who in metal guitar players. Kerry King, Gary Holt, Lee Altus, Hank Sherman, and Jim Durkin all lend solos on this fantastic slab of metal. New front man Legion (ex-Marduk), who replaced Toxine, does a great job on the mic.
6. Sasquatch – III (Small Stone Records). Choice track – “Walkin Shoes”. The perfect soundtrack for driving, the strip club, and just hangin with your best buds and killin some brews. The California trio does it again for their 3rd Small Stone release. Tons of soul, fuzz, and fun.
7. Death Angel – Relentless Retribution (Nuclear Blast). Choice track – “Death of the Meek”. The Filipino thrash legends added a blistering offering to a year of great come-back-thrash. Although the first time in their existence, the band now has two white guys in their ranks. Seeing these guys with Chris Riquelme at Numbers was definitely one of the live music highlights of this year.
8. The Sword – Warp Riders (Kemado). Choice track – “Lawless Lands”. What a year for these guys. Our very own Texas boys were hand picked by Metallica to open for them on the Death Magnetic World Tour. 4 Texas youngins bringin back the soul of NWOBHM and sautering it with modern day spirit and fire.
9. Gozu – Locust Season (Small Stone Records). Choice track – “Mr. Riddle”. Pure genius from this Boston foursome. The production sounds like nothing I’ve heard in a while. Extremely fun, groovy, bluesy, and heavy. Awesome vocal harmonies. If you’ve missed Kyuss as much as I have, you will be thanking whatever deity you bow down to for these guys.
10. Red Giant – D ysfunctional Majesty (Small Stone Records). Choice track – “Never Touch the Lens”. More fantastic stuff from the greatest label today. Perfect soundtrack for tearin up the highway with one hand on the steering wheel and headin West. The kind of stuff to rock out to at a killer house party with your crew and some cool/hot girls who actually get it. Makes me proud to have testicles.

Honorable Mentions

1. Accept – Blood Of The Nations (Nuclear Blast). Choice track – “Teutonic Terror”. I was skeptical as to what this would sound like without mainman Udo Dirkschneider, but my worries were for nothing. Mike Tornillo of TT Quick fame mans the mic on this and does an absolutely killer job. I dare say that I think I prefer him to the little German. Chris Smith and I had oodles of fun seeing these guys at HOB.
2. Black River – Black ‘N Roll (Eagle Records). Choice track – “Too Far Away”. A side project consisting of members from Behemoth, Dimmu Borgir, and Vader. However, sounding nothing like the aforementioned bands. A permutation of the Death ‘N Roll sound started by Entombed. This is whiskey soaked rock swagger.
3. Ratt – Infestation (Roadrunner). Choice track – “Eat Me Up Alive”. Another amazing show this year and an incredible come-back album. I was so glad to see these guys and they sounded amazing. Jackie and I scored a free ticket and one for half price. Eat Me Up Alive has got to be the anthem of the summer.
4. Exodus – Exhibit B: The Human Condition (Nuclear Blast). Choice track – “Hammer and Life”. Clocking in at over an hour, this record will bludgeon you with wave after wave of heaviness, hate, and havoc. Was great to see them with the Chris’ and Jackie at Verizon…that was a fun and crazy night. Ha!
5. Unsun – Clinic For Dolls (Eagle Records). Choice track – “Home”. My guilty pleasure for the year. Aya’s voice, face, and body is beautiful and Mauser (ex-Vader) writes some killer tunes. Really catchy, anthemic,and fun. Metal with a very pop sensibility to it.

A Song For The Hung…ry

My brothers and I like to say “I’m pretty hung & starvacious” instead of “I’m pretty hungry & starving”. Here’s a video to bring this absurd song/jingle to life….

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