also appearing: Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth, Testament
Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio – June 7, 2018
It can be distressingly easy to take Slayer for granted. Can be, has been, continues to be. The band is both force of nature and fact of life, and has stood a silent, menacing vigil as the unofficially understood gatekeeper of extreme metal for well over three decades. If ever a metal band this side of, let’s say, Black Sabbath, could be said to have projected a palpable aura, it was Slayer, though not quite in a way they probably ever intended, despite the over-the-top illustrated deviltry that, blaring from both their garish album artwork and overpriced t-shirts beyond count, is the hallmark of their image. I sometimes picture them – or, more to the point, bald, bearded, stern, stocky, tattooed and temperamental guitarist Kerry King – as bouncers at some dingy club, or as symbolic hired muscle working a neighborhood poker game made up of aspiring metal bands and fans – stentorian, intimidating, unbending – ensuring only the worthy are ever dealt in. Continue Reading
“I hate when I feel like this, and I never…hated you.”
Looking back now, surveying the wreck, I can see, and concede, that I wasn’t quite ready to share four walls of any description with Scott Hutchison, and that my limited exposure to his work, intense and gratifying as it was – right up, at times, to the edge of transcendence – left me terribly ill-prepared to process the sad end to which he came. The self-effacing singer and oft-stunning lyricist of revered folk/indie rock thunderhead Frightened Rabbit died at some point last week, surely by his own hand, in the woods near a marina in his native Scotland, his body finally discovered at the end of a desperate, wide-ranging, communal search effort two days after he’d gone missing. If it appears I am unconcerned about the specifics in this case, you are correct. There’s nothing to be gained in any sense I value by trailing behind Scott Hutchison and somehow observing as he whittled away his life’s final hours in isolation. My heart’s broken enough already, thanks. Continue Reading
Express Live! Columbus, Ohio – April 15, 2018
I had so much fun at my first ever Ring of Honor live event that I barely know where to start. So I guess I’ll begin with some context.
I have pretty much always been a professional wrestling fan, though there were times I was more loath than others to admit it, sometimes even to myself. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly my problem was. I’ve always been fascinated with the storytelling prowess and superlative athleticism that go into the in-ring product, and discovering as a tween that the results were predetermined did little to deter my interest, actually deepening it in scope and intensity as the years passed. Perhaps it was simple seasonal boredom, or a zest to explore other arenas once I’d determined this one had grown stale. I did use my two self-imposed sabbaticals from conspicuous wrestling consumption semi-productively Continue Reading
Every 25th post, darkadaptedeye takes a planned break from normal business to plumb the shallow depths of its author’s psyche and/or overtly explore the locked attic of memories it only ever really dabbles in otherwise. You might think of it as a pit stop, or maybe a soft reboot. In “Danse Macabre”, Stephen King termed his own such digression “An Annoying Autobiographical Pause”, which I choose to think was kind of charming. Please know I take seriously the challenge of making patent self-indulgence interesting – actual results be damned – and I appreciate you being game. We’ll return to our irregularly scheduled programming shortly…
“Put down that chainsaw and listen to me / It’s time for us to join in the fight!
It’s time to let your babies grow up to be cowboys / It’s time to let the bedbugs bite!
You’d better put all your eggs in one basket / You’d better count your chickens before they hatch!
You’d better sell some wine before its time / You’d better find yourself an itch to scratch…”
What do you say at the moment you finally meet your idol?
This mile marker post snuck up me, I must admit. Normally, I start thinking about what personal aspect or chestnut or toy from the attic I might want to unpack and talk about several posts in advance. It’s a sort of game, occasionally even fun. This time, however, I cycled through a handful of disparate topics and even started writing up one in earnest before also deeming it unsatisfactory. These “25s” (“quarters”?) have been known to impede my progress otherwise before. I made it a rule early on that the mile marker always had to be dealt with, in its proper chronological spot, before other business could be attended to. Someone special died? Some awesome movie filled you to the brim with inspiration?* Too bad. Finish your “quarter” first. Luckily, the answer to this conundrum was staring me in the face the whole time. If I couldn’t quite make it out until the moment it represented was nigh, perhaps it was obscured by the clouds of my ongoing daydream. I come to you here a humble, relatively happy man. Continue Reading
In what has become something of an unfortunate tradition inside a tradition, once again it takes me until February to officially close up business for the prior year (though the Valentine’s Day publishing date was an unexpected coincidence). I don’t know what to tell you. There’s not a lot to recommend researching, compiling, writing up, and releasing a comprehensive top twenty music countdown without fellow contributors to help shoulder the workload. I write professionally in addition to running this little backwater, and I can tell you that there are days when the last possible thing on my mind is trying to fill yet another blank page with pop culture ephemera. There’s also a level on which I was probably too consistently consumed with national and world events in 2017 to let the year’s roster of music go about its transporting and soothing work to the degree it was needed. Lord knows I could’ve used the break. Continue Reading
also appearing: Devin Townsend Project, The Obsessed
Express Live! Columbus, Ohio – December 31, 2017
There was a time – a simpler time not terribly many backward miles removed from this one – when I could reliably count on any concert by the groove-slinging desperados in Clutch being attended by most everybody I knew. To me, a Clutch show has always been an event, equal parts party and performance, a saucy suaree chemically engineered to make both your butt wiggle and your head bang, and, as an uncut, undistilled, damned near undeniable example of rock and roll at its most simultaneously festive and combustive, perhaps the preeminent affable, affordable, bi-annual flame to which musical Midwestern moths like me might flock. Even if, beyond the surface, all those not-so-long-ago shows might not have ever been anything particularly special, they always felt singular to me Continue Reading
Ace of Cups, Columbus, Ohio – November 14, 2017
This never happens.
Every city has its big-ticket and mid-sized concert venues, and they seem fairly immune to the ravages of either recession or technology-aided obsolescence. The artists that play there have a level of prominence that sells itself, and it’s a good thing I despise a majority of them, since I’m generally loath to contribute any more money to the 1% than I have to. Thank heavens then for the musical proletariat – those touring bands eeking out a living, hand to mouth and a mile at a time, but inarguably living their dream. At a time when it feels like DIY publications and beloved businesses at the local level are folding at an alarming rate, I also hold particular affection, and not a little bit of awe, for the boutique music space, the small downtown club that embraces and enables a potpourri of these varied and varying artists, whether independent, underground, or otherwise obscure. Continue Reading