Nile - Vader - Amon Amarth - Kreator - Goatwhore at the Ogden Theatre
by Vitriola and Ice Cream Jonsey
Vitriola: "Youre going to get me drunk for this, right?"
This being the most-anticipated concert, 2k3 style, ever since it was announced about 6 months ago, I thought it would be the perfect first metal show for the biggest pop-swilling, mass-media-meme-falling-for boy Ive ever met. Yeah, Ill get you drunk for this. After all, my idea of fun has been hinting to him that if he didnt keep his yap shut, he might not survive the show at all; us metal fiends being all pagan, cannibalistic, and Straight Outta Hades. Grocery list for show: 1 pack Marlboros, 2 bottles Mad Dog 20/20 (lime/kiwi and kiwi/strawberry flavor) and shimmery girlie eye powdercrèmedustgloss, via LOreal. And were off! Review follows, now with dual stereotextual action!
Hey there, Denver! 4th large city in 3rd state Ive lived in this year! My, the tectonics have been nice to you! How strange to see buildings taller than the heeled goddesses walking next to them in LA, how slightly off-kilter to be able to see to the top of them without the heat wave distortion that Phoenix adds to every landscape. Ogden Theater is right downtown, and this would be the first time I actually saw Denver up close. Not that I saw all that much of Denver, because, as fate would have it, there was a much more voluptuous skyline in sight. Form of: line of scantily clad goth girls lined up for the Marilyn Manson show 2 blocks down! Never let it be said that Im not one to enjoy my surroundings to their fullest. We park. We pound a bottle of MD! Were feeling pretty good for the last 4 Goatwhore songs that we arrived for.
ICJ: I have seen a bunch of Americans and whatever rogue nation claims responsibility for Adrian Belew in concert before, but never really anyone from Scandinavia or, as I would later determine based on some context clues presented to me, the Unspoken Eighth Plane of Hell. What musicians could the wastelands both frozen and fiery prop up for an evening at the Ogden? I've seen what some other nations have attempted to pour into the worldwide aural stew: the British, for instance, had that thing in the 80s where they came up with Rick Astley in their fair attempts to engineer a government sanctioned negro. None of the five bands I saw on Tuesday started off any of their best known tunes just like a Donna Summer classic, but that doesn't mean that the experiences I gathered in my first metal show didn't have me wishing I could be -- with metal -- together... forever.
But. Anyway. The first metal band I ever heard was the aforementioned Goatwhore. Whatever they did, they certainly had the goodwill of the bands that came after them. Amon Amarth thanked them, Nile asked the crowd present to exclaim their name in one of their songs, Kreator gave a little knowing headbob to this one guy who was dressed all in black except for a Goatwhore shirt, and the members of Vader spit out a dribbling of brimstone and smoke from their hateful, blackened tongues that sort of looked like a goat and a whore in the way that it sort of looked like a ship when Gandalf exhaled some Chronicton from Hobbiton at Bilbo in the first Rings movie.
Vitriola: Goatwhore opened up for Grave in Phoenix this past Spring, and after starting off with 2 kickass examples of their songography, they began to drone on after that, much to the boredom and restless tedium of the crowd. Either I was drunk already, (alcohol tally: 1 bottle MD, 2 Scottish porters, 2 Buds), or they pumped it up a bit this time, because I changed my decision to deliberately miss their set on subsequent opening slots, to maybe getting there halfway through. They played faster and with more intensity, and, although I will never buy an album or know any of their song titles, I would definitely see them again on another bill. Something went down pre-show; either some bastid hooligans decided to make off with some vannage, or some bastid customs officials decided to confiscate some axes, because Goatwhore ended up, ironically, whoring out their own equipment to half the line-up that night. Good thing Louisiana isnt contagious, because Amon Amarth suddenly sprouting some Spanish moss and sounding like Eyehategod might put them into quarantine on their way back into Sweden. Great guys, those whores of goats.
ICJ: I was okay with Goatwhore taking my metal virginity. They were sweet about it without coming off as saccharine, they followed up their poetry of foreplay with just the right mix of being rough and being approachable. I mean, I was under the impression that Mr. Duet would have totally given me his shoulder to bite down on as my hymen disintegrated. It is unlikely that we will specifically seek each other out to hook up again, but they were nice enough to keep me out of therapy for my formative, experience-building years.
Vitriola: I had assumed, for some reason, that the line-up was going to be Goatwhore, Kreator, Amon Amarth, Vader, and Nile. This caused some drunken confusion as I was beginning to down another Bud while I waited to see whether or not Kreator was going to either annoy me as much as I expected them to, or enthrall me as much as everyone else seemed to expect them to. Then! I was suddenly blinded by a spotlight shining off a group of well-muscled, oiled, perfumed, glistening and very naked flaxen chests belonging to a group of seafaerers of yore who proceeded to rip into "Death in Fire". Beer, pounded! Front of stage, ran towards! To Barth, I do not like Amon Amarth, chanted! I saw AA opening for Deicide earlier this year, and while Id say that those who saw that show heard a slightly better sound, AA were still at the top of their game. Too much bass masked a lot of the guitar and high-end antics, but, as sources close to me were wont to say, the guitarist could have stood alone and played Irish shepherding ballads, and it would have been worthwhile. Errr, yeah. But! Where was the leather? Where were the studded armbands that have caused more deaths in Sweden than both ski decapitation and the Yeti, combined? Denver might be a bunch of mile-high pansies, but we appreciate flaming faggotry as much as the next urban wasteland. Gay it up a little better next time, ok, guys?
ICJ: We were watching Goatwhore up near the bar, which was rather pleasant. When these guys came on, Dayna more or less led me by the hand down the stairs into the upper section of the Ogden. Into the breach! Id soon find out if I would have to make my way through these things with a placid expression on my mug for the rest of my days or if I would actually enjoy this. It was like the tagline for Zork III: It all comes down to this.
(This is a good time to mention my status of inebriation, and Id like to continue the text adventure motif in order to do it: the Mad Dog mixed with the beers that I had did not take me only to Zork I. Didnt even take me just to Zork II, the competent sequel. It did, in fact, not even muck about leaving me only at the aforementioned Zork III, but instead the fourth game in the series: Beyond Zork. And when these guys started playing and my drunkenness slugged me, I was definitely Beyond Zorked. So when the Vikings arrived, well, that was kind of cool.)
I loved their show, I loved their set, and whatever things you may hear about their lead guitarist, well, fuck it I loved him, too. I cant even remember if the guy was technically good or proficient or anything, all I know is that he totally commanded the theatre and was having a terrific time in doing so. I got a mite addicted, safe to say. I turned to Dayna right before they were finished and simply said that finally, "I understand." I dont know if metal bands have simply the worst audio engineers working for them in the industry or if the limitations of the compact disc cant really capture the "magic" of the performance, but the sketchbook of misery I have been presented as carrying about on Daynas metal list would not be in my inventory if they were all like Amon Amarth.
Vitriola: As we walked into the pit for the first time during the last set, I looked around at the occupants, trying to see them through the eyes of someone who had never been there before. There was a guy outwardly smoking a J next to us, 5 guys pathetically trying to start a pit, a hot chick pinned against the stage bars, a light show that could maybe have competed with anything Yes has done back when Yes were sucking cock for gigs in London in 1966, and a sound system that virtually occluded anything that was coming out of the singers mouth in between songs. Hmmm. Next, who I thought were Kreator came on stage. I stood down in the pit with Robb, and, after another beer, I decided to start counting things. Number of drinks drunk, 5. Number of hot chicks standing in front of me, 2. Number of people walking onto and starting to play on stage, 4. Number of hands feeling intimate places on my body, 3. Number of um, what? Tracing the appendages proved to be daunting, but, after concerted effort, I managed to follow one vector to a guy standing slightly in back of us. I spent the next 20 minutes getting aggro and thinking up new and novel ways of kicking this guys ass. What I came up with involved nothing less than me turning to Robb and saying "hey! Kick that guys ass." Who? "The guy behind you." Why? "He touched me." Robb then informs me that I had the wrong guy. That there WAS a guy, standing way too near us, but that he has booked once I started looking around for him. I then spent the next 7 minutes feeling pissed off that I didnt get to ground the freak, and then decided to go into the pit and beat the shit out of somebody else. 4 seconds later, I landed on my ass. 30 seconds after that, the set ended. Oh well, I really couldnt give a shit about Kreator, anyway.
ICJ: Dunno, I was all over you like a pushy case of leprosy for that part. Though I realized later that the greatest thing I could have ever done in my life would be to feel up my girlfriend at a metal show and then clobber some random guy because I felt up my girlfriend at a metal show. Going off your intel, I didnt realize that it was Vader we were listening to until later, and I remarked a hearty, "Hmm!" when I noticed that a member of the band had a "VADER" tattoo on his chest. I presumed that they have black sharpies in Germany even the non-Nazi parts of Germany that Kreator comes from (or, in the case of Nokturnal Mortum, the non-Nazi section of Germany called "The Ukraine" sellout for whitey, boys) and seeing how everyone there was already ready to suck Goatwhores wang for services rendered, I presumed that it was another show of solidarity. But no, it was in fact Vader, and apparently there is no support for anything in the firepit that spawned these miserable fuckers except for violence against women turned into a much more sophisticated form of violence: violence against men. So I threw this one guy into the makeshift thrash pit and rocked on.
Vitriola: So, you didnt like Vader, then? I did, for the 24 seconds that their blitz of kreig managed to penetrate the orchestra of rage I was conducting within. Another beer bought, we were standing up near the bar ready to sit back for a bit, since Robbs feelings for the Polish onslaught of death can only be summed up in what I call Vaderface. Ok, maybe Vader wasnt the first band to introduce to someone who calls Hall & Oates his favorite band, not even when played while driving the strip in Las Vegas.
Hey, now, how interesting that Vader gets up onstage now and decides to open their set up with a really good rendition of Violent Revolution! How interes---shit. Which was the last coherent thought I had until the real Kreator finished up their set. Jesus, what a show. Thats all I can say. Best set all night.
I was really hoping that we were going to get through this without a Hall and Oates crack. I went from being so close to those guys towards being so out of touch with them, and when it came to you skewering me in the art of heartbreak like that, well, you did it, you did it, you did it, you did it, you did it in a minute.
Previous high score, regarding an individual "moment" at any concert I had been to: when Yes was on the "Talk" tour, they played the song Walls, which is a song about a bunch of hippies and Alan White reveling in the fact that they no longer have to memorize the chord changes to Close to the Edge. That got trumped by Kreator playing Phobia (and not with some weak-assed shit more useful in Uno like the nine of hearts but by both red Jacks). I was really blown away -- their drummer had complete command of the audience and carried himself like he was the most necessary and important guy in Colorado. And when they were asking if someone was following me, well... I'm almost 30, so I don't do things "for the irony" any longer, but when science does finally come up with a safe, tested, and altogether functional time travel device in a few years, the first place I am hopping back to is their performance of that song to spy on myself. Music has done a lot of things to me. It's made me dance, it's made me jump, it's made me thrash, it's made me, ah, nod my head back and forth, but it never had me looking over my shoulder before Kreator's set. Good game, boys.
Vitriola: Ive reviewed Nile about 5 times now, and it really only occurred to me during the time when I was drunkenly hanging over the bars at the show, watching half the crowd leave, like they always do, what it is about Nile that turns me off. Nile is like getting head from somebody whos never done it before. It feels good, in a way, but you cant get into it, she (or, I guess, he) doesnt know your rhythm, might know what theyre doing but you sure as hell cant tell what it is, its frustrating, every time you start getting into it they stop what theyre doing to ask if youre ok, or if you motherfuckers are still brutal, and then when you spooge your Black Seeds of Vengeance all over, its as good as every climax is, but it wasnt quite worth the effort it took to get there. Anyway, I liked the show, but Im so used to seeing this band that Im pretty well practiced in what to ignore to be able to enjoy it. Which is everything. I closed my eyes, leaned on the rail, and just let the intensity of their sound stand alone in my consciousness. I think I still had some at that point. Their sound is still brutal and dense, and if thats what they do best, then that was going to be what I focused on.
ICJ: I thought they were upstaged by Kreator, but I was informed that they always get upstaged, so it sort of made me want to really give them more of a chance. There was a slight delay before their set began as they attempted to get their Windows 98 laptop computer working correctly. One of the really cool things was that a member or two of the other bands were sort of mingling with the crowd after they were finished and before Nile started. When the W98 delays became unbearable, we were all treated to a very special moment when a wag from the crowd shouted, "INSTALL LINUX, PROBLEM SOLVED" and a member of Vader who was incognito among us just pulped the dude and fucking ate him.
Niles front man sort of has this Henry Rollins thing going on, but his hair is much longer and he seemed spawned from a much more bloodier womb. He also, during his set, felt free to put his left leg up on the railing as he cranked away his songs, like he was "at home." That wasnt the extent of his familiarity with the crowd. I believe that at one point he referred to the chaps at the Marilyn Manson concert across the street as "motherfuckers," but then now that I think about it, he sort of called us all fuckers as well when he wanted us to go nuts. He did it without really coming off as infantile or condescending to us (it was mostly a soft crowd that night, and while Nile was a little disappointed by it, they didnt ever whine). As a guy who grew up on pop there really wasnt that one magic moment or hook that I could jump around upon, but after the climax of content that was Kreator, Nile was pretty solid as a curtain of sound and post-coitus gardenia.
Vitriola: At some point during the show, we had become, probably against our will, but does it really count when youre drunk? or should you just go home and forget all about the shame and regret, only to repeat it, years later, in therapy or to some coffeehouse wingnut for a free latte, but, anyway, we had become attired in his-and-her Amon Amarth gear, Fall 2003 collection, ready-to-wear line. Seeing Robb curled up asleep in a shirt proclaiming VIKING in letters large and more fiery than a Mongolians beard the first day of the barbeque was somewhat shrouded by him pointing out to me that I had gone to sleep wearing a text-adventure sweatshirt. Touche. But, the question remains, Are You A Believer??
ICJ: If everything had sucked I probably would have attempted to go through a whole host of sit-com like problems (Sold-out show, drat! I just called the Theatre and a water line broke, drat! Someone stole both of our cars, no, thats not them across the street at the Safeway Brand Discount "Safe Way" Parking Lot, drat!) which stopped us from going to any shows until the Deftones came to town, seen them, and then pretended that I had mono for a really long time. But instead, I am actively looking forward to the next one. To be honest, part of this is because I feel that if I spend enough time at these things I will:
and being able to do that with my head is pretty goddamn cool. After all, Ive really got this ever present need since we got back to see if someone anyone is in fact following me.
I believe, believe, believe.
authors: Vitriola is currently touring the country promoting a line of
dishwasher-safe, tiny circus carnies and Ice Cream Jonsey is currently touring his bedroom
trying to smoke out the four inch clown who nipple-tweaked him.