Friday, September 19, 2014

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XXV-XXVIII, Third Round (Matches 589-596)

This is, unfortunately, a bit of a one-off.  I wrote these brackets sometime in July, and was waiting to write more and gain momentum before posting.  But finding time to post blog entries of any kind is going to be damn-near impossible for the foreseeable future.  I'll still throw something up from time to time (like this), but don't expect me to finish this tournament any time before Summerslam 2015.  I do hope you enjoy these eight matches that will never happen.  They're pretty interesting:

BRACKET XXV, Third Round (Matches 589 & 590):



Edge VS George Hackenschmidt

Oh how I love a contrast of styles.  Edge made his bread in TLC matches and as the opportunistic character he was, used two Money In The Bank cases and a relationship with SmackDown GM Vickie Guerrero to win the bulk of his 11 world titles.  He was fast, impactful (with moves like the Edgecution, Impaler DDT and of course the Spear) and he used psychology over substance at times.  George Hackenschmidt was just so strong no one could out wrestle him.  I'd wager the Hack would have been able to rend the Gordian knot that was the Rated R Superstar


Mideon (aka Phinneas I Godwin) VS Lawrence Taylor

Okay.  Pig Farmer / Human Sacrifice Victim /Thrall of the Ministry / Nudist / Fanny Pack Enthusiast Mideon, or one of the best defensive players the NFL ever saw and the guy that wasn't that bad in his one pro wrestling match he ever had (which happened to main event a Wrestlemania)?  The choice is clear, though I can scarcely believe it: LAWRENCE TAYLOR IS ADVANCING TO THE FOURTH ROUND.


BRACKET XXVI, Third Round (Matches 591 & 592):



"The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiassi VS Sting

THIS would've been a dream match.  You wouldn't have had to change much of anything from the original Hogan angle; DiBiassi tries to corrupt Sting with wealth, Sting ain't havin' it, they fight, it's awesome and "The Million Dollar Man" lives up to his name by being the perfect foil to an amazing babyface while drawing huge gate receipts in the process.  Of course, Dibiassi has to lose in that scenario, but when you look at Sting's run as THE MAN in both WCW and TNA, Dibiassi would lose to Sting in any scenario, in spite of being one of the best heels of all time.


Alex Shelley VS Dean Malenko

SPOTFEST ALERT!!!  Shelly and Malenko would've put on a helluva show had the two ever met, but alas they were from different generations.  Malenko would've killed 'em, though.  Just too damn good on the mat.


BRACKET XXVII, Third Round (Matches 593 & 594):



Kurt Angle VS Owen Hart

Holy.  Freakin'.  Crap.  This is a match that would've been too good in a way.  If this square-off had happened, there are few one on ones left that could've measured up to it.  Two of the top five technicians of our age going at it for what one would assume would be at least a half-hour...shit, could you imagine two out of three falls for some kind of title?  I could, and it makes me giddy.  But hey, we've gotta pick a winner, and I've gotta go with Angle.  He is one of the best wrestlers to ever do it, period.  Owen was great, should have been world champion and should be in the Hall of Fame, but Kurt Angle could beat...maybe anyone in this tournament.  It's true.  It's DAMN true!


Stan "The Man" Stasiak VS The Boogeyman

The guy who dethroned Pedro Morales for the WWWF Championship or the guy who was amusing and ate worms?  Um, Stan "The Man" please.


BRACKET XXVIII, Third Round (Matches 595 & 596):



"Cowboy" James Storm VS Damien Sandow

This would be a tight little matchup, and given that both are active competitors, it may one day occur, either in NXT after Sandow gets demoted from the main roster and WWE buys out TNA, or if Sandow finally gets sick of WWE's shit and chooses to pursue a line of work elsewhere.  Storm is far more seasoned, has better moves and a world championship to his credit.  Cowboy advances.


Goldberg VS "The Belfast Bruiser" Fit Finlay

Even with legalized Shillelaghs, Finlay would've been no match for Goldberg, the mack truck of professional wrestling.


RECAP:

George Hackenschmidt defeats Edge
Lawrence Taylor defeats Mideon
Sting defeats Ted DiBiassi
Dean Malenko defeats Alex Shelley
Kurt Angle defeats Owen Hart
Stan Stasiak defeats The Boogeyman
"Cowboy" James Storm defeats Damien Sandow
Goldberg defeats Finlay

Monday, September 8, 2014

TO THE MEMBER OF [REDACTED] THAT PULLED SOME RACIST BULLSHIT IN THE PARKING LOT

You made a friend of mine cry.

You made him cry out of frustration, anger, humiliation...I can't pretend to know what was going through his head or feel what he'd experienced, but your actions caused my friend severe emotional distress.  You questioned his very humanity.  And the worst part is, you probably thought nothing of it.

We were just coming in for second shift, around 5 o'clock.  I was already upstairs getting changed, and dude comes in and explains to me what just happened.  Some guy in a Range Rover pulled up to him in the parking lot and said "You don't look like you belong here."

My friend is black, and you are white.

You began forcing the issue, demanding to see the supervisor and this and that, which is what it came down to because you could not believe a person of color worked at this establishment.  My friend was so riled by the experience, he couldn't regain his composure and went home.

I don't blame him.

There was "nothing the management could do" of course: You're been a dues-paying member for 25 years.  The whole thing makes me wish I'd been in the parking lot so I could've asked "Excuse me sir.  Do I look like I belong here?"  Because I rolled into work in a Hyundai with bumper damage wearing a frayed Bullet Bill shirt and a backwards baseball cap.  Not exactly someone who looks like he "belongs" on the premises either. 

Here's where I'm supposed to say some macho bullshit about how if we ever met, I'd pencil you in for an ADA-certified fist-dentist, but that ain't it at all.

I don't respect you enough to hit you.

I don't want to even waste another brain cell on you, so let's just call you a douchebag and leave it at that.

Money does not buy you the right to be a terrible human being.  [Okay, fuck it; let's be honest: It does.  But it shouldn't.]  Not only did you hurt a friend of mine deeply, but we had to work that shift short-handed because dude went home.  I shouldn't have to write this in 2014, but I do.  And it's DISGUSTING.

You question my friend's humanity?  I question yours.  Learn how to be humane, dickweed; it's got the word "human" in it.

                        -Sincerely,
                            Nicholas Nutter, Human Being

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Composure

Crack knuckles.
Stretch neck.
Deep breath.
Begin.

Electrochemical locomotion
Impelling digits
Transmogrifying thought
Into words.

Raw.
Un-oiled.
Returning from
The depths of Hell.

Trying to remember
How this whole thing went.
But not desperately.
Calm reigns.

Confidence
Once extinct
Turns extant
From thin air.

Without the bullshit of
Alchemy
A new chapter is
Constructed.

A nod of satisfaction.
A job well done.
A decent start.
One bite at a time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Whole Robin Williams Thing...

You know what's happened by now.  It's terrible.  You're probably really sad, and maybe a little angry.  If you've suffered through depression, maybe you're really pissed off.  Or just a little terrified, because a) This guy had all the resources in the world, and still lost the war, and b) This guy lived with this shit for 63 years, and STILL lost the war.  Alice Radley of the Rational Wrestling Review podcast brought up that first point (and many more profound and painful ones) in this week's episode of her show.  It hurt to listen to, and if you're somehow reading this Alice, I'd love to give you a hug.

That probably sounds condescending, but fuck it.  When you're in that place, human contact can make a big difference.

This is already jumbled and rambling, but whatever.  It's a complex issue with no real solution.  Not really.  If there was, Robin Williams, Mike Awesome, Don Cornelius, Chris Lighty, Jonathan Brandis, Spalding Gray, Chris Kanyon, Kurt Cobain, Freddy Prinze Sr., Junior Seau, Hunter S. Thompson, Dick Trickle, Chris, Kerry and Mike Von Erich, David Foster Wallace, Wendy O. Williams and Lee Thompson Young would all still be here.  (And that's just the famous people Wikipedia told me about.  Add another million people a year and you really get how pervasive this shit is.)

The POINT of this post is NO ONE IS ALONE.  You FEEL alone, but you're not.  I'm not.  Just last week, I went through the most hopeless hour of my life, so hopeless that suicide wasn't even an option because I didn't believe that death would even change my situation.  But I'm still here.  I still hurt, shit is miserable and I can't say for certain I'll ever feel good again, but I PROBABLY WILL.  You probably will.  The reason all of this is jumbled and messed up is because it's a fucked up topic that is hard to convey the emotions of.  Feeling alone is a by-product of feeling too scared and scarred to reach out.

Notice I didn't say "being" too scared; I said "feeling".  There's a difference.

Talk to somebody.  You don't even have to tell them what's wrong, really.  If it feels like too much, just start with human contact.  If that's not enough, share a little and see where it goes.  If it goes "wrong" in some way, don't let that discourage you.  Important things may take more than one effort.  Wow, this is getting sappy, but...hey.  It ain't wrong.

I opened up this window basically to post Alice Radley's podcast this week (be prepared to be bummed out, but have a new understanding of what it's like to live with depression) and David Wong's article "Robin Williams and Why Funny People Commit Suicide".  They are both great insights into this...fucked up thing that happened.  Ultimately, we cannot know Mr. Williams's personal pain, but we can extrapolate, as we do, from shared human experience.

(Still, way to bum everybody out, Robin.  Da fuck did you do?)

This:



And this:


http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/robin-williams-why-funny-people-kill-themselves/


Just remember.  You are not alone.  Not if you don't want to be.  Here's some Frank Zappa:

Friday, August 1, 2014

FRIDAY MIX-TASTIC: "Not Quite..."

This is an experiment to see if you can build a bad-ass musical robot out of spare parts.  I was looking for songs that...aren't quite what you're looking for.  The Non-Obvious Choice, if you will.  Yes, "Entre Nous" was a single, but it's not even the second or third song you think of when you reach for some Rush.  So that's what angle we're attacking from today: the Non-Obvious one.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

SEVEN-TWENTY-TWO: Ten Fucking Years

Today, we go into a little piece of my past.  (Yes, it's somewhat bizarre to think of a triple album as little, but dude.  Figurative speech is a thing.)  "7:22" was "released" in late June 2004 (as in I declared it done and started handing out copies to people).  Normally, I could give you the exact date, but the file I have where I write all this shit down is inexplicably missing the entire year.  (Now that I look, 2006 isn't in their either.)

Anyway, because it was ten years ago and it's 7/22 today (and I'm bored), I figured we'd go back in the ol' time machine and dust off this weapon of mass distraction.  Back in 2004, all I had to do with my time was write a shit ton of fucked up music; it's how I chose to express myself.  I literally set out to translate my emotional state into song, and I think I succeeded.  It's two and a half hours of impotent rage, confusion, sadness, fear and stupid shit that made me laugh.  All told it was 47 tracks, three discs, and holy fuck do I wish I could do something this dumb and fun again.

I didn't write this alone.  It's by "The GV Crew" for a reason.  But by this time, I was so far up my own asshole, that other people only show up on nine tracks (that's only 19 percent), and not until track 10 of the first disc.  I took over the entire "GV Crew" process, didn't realize I had, and wondered why my friends didn't think this album was the crowning moment of awesome for all humanity.  (Not to mention the other mission statement of making that one dude at Hartland Inn regret telling me to "Turn that crap down" while listening to GV6; I showed him by making an annoying fucking LOUD fucking album...about two weeks after I left Hartland Inn, as I recall.)  Holy SHIT was I out of my head. 

This is back when I valued uniqueness and creativity above all else, including quality or friendship.  I tortured a lot of motherfucking ear lobes by blasting this crap and thinking at the time it was the best shit ever.  There's some cool moments on this album, some legit loud and abusive tuneage with some quiet melancholy thrown in.  (This is when I discovered dynamics as a composing technique and abused the shit out of it.)  Experiments fail and succeed.  This is a collection of both.

So click away on the play, those of you so inclined.  "7:22" has some pretty weird/cool shit in it if you can wade through some noise.  Make this a background soundtrack to your day and see if it enhances the experience!  (I know I will.)


Monday, June 30, 2014

I Said COCAINE, You Morons, Not CODEINE!!! Rock Stars Take COCAINE!!! (Music Reviews for June 30, 2014)

Boredom demands a cure, and well...music ain't gonna cut it.  Let's see if making fun of (or was it supposed to be "reviewing"?) music slakes my brainthirst.

Ratings system is a 0-to-5 star rating (with the occasional negative if an album really gets my goat), with the rating denoted after the title of the album.  Here we go!


   
Ab-Soul "These Days..."

Can we PLEASE destroy the world's supply of cough syrup so we can stop hearing albums this tuurbl?


 
Bad Suns "Language & Perspective"  ** and 7/8

Full of perfectly serviceable indie pop rock with a melancholy tinge.  Honestly one of the better things I've reviewed in this article.  The songs remind me of the deep cuts on an underrated new wave band's follow-up album that sold nothing.


 
Ceci Bastida "La Edad de la Violencia" * and 2/3

"Una Ves Mas" is a good example of the difference between "Indie" and "Hipster".  It sounds like A) It has a will to live, and B) Has some decent writing in it.  "Hipster" is the same race to the bottom of the effort scale that plagued mid-90's rock, and it's choking modern music to death across the board, because it's a pan-genre disease.

What were we talking about?  Oh yeah, Ceci Bastida.  Kinda checked out around track 4, because the songs started blending together, but still, she could probably flame throw The Arcade Fire alive.


 
Deadmau5 "while (1<2)"

(1<2) might refer to the fact this is a double album, but I find that less (1>2) may have been more.  I'm just not a fan of Deadmau5.  Aside from his flashing helmet mask, he doesn't do anything to distinguish himself from the boops and beeps of everyday life (or any other goddamn DJ you'd care to name with the same problem). 


 
 Ed Sheeran "X" (Deluxe Edition)

This guy is the only music thing music websites want to talk about anymore and I have no idea what he sounds like, so let's take a look at what everybody be typing about.

...and it's a falsetto douche with an acoustic guitar.  Basically Justin Timberlake without the street cred.  (Sadly enough, Justin Timberlake has street cred now.  That's fucked up.)  Point is, I could probably go forever without hearing any of his songs (which I haven't until now) and not be sad.  I could also hear him years from now when he's on his fourth album and still not remember who he is.  (For instance, I went to type him in the tag section of this blog, and I'VE ALREADY BLOGGED ABOUT HIM AND DIDN'T REMEMBER.  I think it was the Taylor Swift song he was on, but without going back and looking, I couldn't tell you.)  So really, this is the perfect album for 2014.  Music that makes me feel nothing and sounds boring as shit.


 
 G-Easy "These Things Happen" *

Would be better if the beats weren't FUCKING cliché.  Weak too.  The verses are solid, if a little underwhelming.  In the end it comes off as a mopey version of Childish Gambino.


 
How To Dress Well "What Is This Heart?" [Negative 1/2 Star]

See Sam Smith below, but worse (somehow).


 
Lana Del Rey "Ultraviolence"

One of the most boring albums I've ever heard.  NOTHING HAPPENS FOR FIFTY ONE AND A HALF MINUTES.  A pretty girl vacantly moans her death rattle into a microphone trying to make profundity out of prattle, and this is how you debut at number one.  Boring is popular, kids.  Never forget it.


 
Linkin Park "The Hunting Party" * and 1/2

The opening song has a thrashy chorus, but no guts to it, then goes straight into a really shitty rap verse.  Shinoda was never great, but come ON, homie.  Somehow, they roped Page Hamilton into this bullshit for "All For Nothing" (weak as fuck), Rakim for "Guilty All The Same", Daran Malakian for "Rebellion" (which is the only decent song on here because they let him write it and play guitar on it) and Tom Morello because he does whatever the fuck you tell him to.  (Hey, wait a minute...)  This is what happens when you "forget to hook up the doll", man.  It's like they're trying to make a rock album like back in their glory days, but they forgot what having testicles is like.  "Mark The Graves" winds up being notable because it has balls, no guest stars to claim them, and sticks out like a sore thumb as something interesting in the middle of this mess.


 
 Mastodon "Once More 'Round The Sun" ***

I think what's happening to Mastodon is the same process that happened to Soundgarden.  They're not as angry as they used to be, and as they progress they're playing more with melody.  The bizarre musical tricks are there, like polyrhythm and crazy drum shit, but they're more palatable to the average listener.  The song "Once More 'Round The Sun" sounds like something that could've been recorded during the "Down On The Upside" sessions (the verses even remind me of Pearl Jam a bit).

It's got some good tunes: "The Motherload", the title track and "Feast Your Eyes" stand out in particular.  But the album gets slow in the middle (even though I like "Asleep In The Deep"; I think if you cut out "Chimes At Midnight" it would be a better record as a whole), and really aside from the three songs I pointed out, everything else is an idea Mastodon has done before and done better.  At least with "Down On The Upside", or even The Black Album, you got different ideas, not just the same thing with more mainstream inside.  "Once More 'Round The Sun" is still worth a listen, though.


 
Nothing More *

Sounds like RA, but minus anything clever.


 
Owl City "Ultraviolet" (EP) (no relation to Lana Del Ray's "Ultraviolence")

Makes "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift sound like Meshuggah remixed by Skrillex.  This is the polar opposite of having balls.  (Though "Up All Night" is catchy, and if I heard it in a public place somewhere, I wouldn't roll my eyes I suppose.)


 
Phish "Fuego" **

Chill but not detached.  It's rock music, but not about rocking; it's more about harmony and songcraft.  It's not music I'd necessarily choose to listen to, but at least it seems like there's a point.  Something sorely missing from most music these days.


 
Riff Raff "Neon Icon" ** and 1/2

The third best rap album of the year, and I don't even like this shit.  His flow and delivery are pretty decent; kinda like if Redman and Anthony Kedis got spliced into one being in a teleportation accident.  It gets such a high rating because I really appreciate the attitude of trying to make hip-hop fun, and that album cover.


 
Sam Smith "In The Lonely Hour"

This makes me feel more than Ed Sheeran, but holy shit is it terrible.  Falsetto is in, I'm guessing; so is sounding "indie".  (That's not fair, really; there's a difference between "indie" and "hipster bullshit".  This crosses the line.)  If my homie Matt can remember, it's basically that one guy we saw at the Miramar open mic night ten years ago that sucked shit and we sat in the back and made fun of him.  THAT'S what's popular now.  (Though fuck, what's "popular"?)


 
Somekindawonderful

Bruno Mars - Any Redeeming Qualities + Hipster Bullshit = Somekindawonderful!  (Approximately.  Couldn't figure out how to type a squigly equal sign.)


 
 Vacationer "Relief" *

Starts off well enough with a forgettable opener and the song "Paradise Waiting" afterward, but holy shit does this album fall through the fail hole after that.  Just Colonial Williamsburg all up in this piece all day and tomorrow.


 
The Fault In Our Stars (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

A perfect snapshot of the zeitgeist, if this batch of releases is to be believed.  Ed Sheeran?  Check.  Hipster bullshit?  Check.  Barely audible songs with indiscernable lyrics?  Check and check.  A dance pop song with a cliché phrase for an anthem?  You betcha.  Boredom reigning supreme over all that ever was?  Fuckin'-A.  Weirdly enough, there's a FRENCH RAP SONG smack dab in the middle of this bitch, and it's so out of place by being interesting, the universe blinked out of then back into existence for a second.  For real, one of the quietest, non-offensive albums ever, more boring than Lana Del Rey, then...FRENCH HIP HOP.  Okay, I guess I'll let you live.


And that's it.  Hope this was fun, or at the very least informative.  I'm really rusty as far as this writing thing goes, so I hope I wasn't too disappointing.  See you next time!  (Whenever that is...)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XXI-XXIV, Third Round (Matches 581-588)

BRACKET XXI, Third Round (Matches 581 & 582):


"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff VS Hernandez

Wow.  Tough month for Hernandez.  Loses his gig with TNA, now he loses in the Third Round of this tournament.  At least he's going out to a guy who main evented Wrestlemania.

Umaga VS Andre The Giant

This might've been fun.  Andre still gets the win, though.  Bulldozin' a bulldozer.


BRACKET XXII, Third Round (Matches 583 & 584):


Pat O'Connor VS The Berzerker

In a completely surreal turn of events, Pat O'Connor throws The Berzerker out of the ring to get counted out!  (Which is what The Berzerker did to his opponents.  Dude, it's not as cool when you have to explain it.)

Gene Kiniski VS "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig

Whoever loses, a legend will fall.  And this time, it's Mr. Perfect.  Kiniski was one of the greatest heel champions of all time; even Mr. Perfect wouldn't be able to stand up to the man who came within an eyelash of winning all three major world titles in the 1960's (against the men who had a stranglehold on them, no less).


BRACKET XXIII, Third Round (Matches 585 & 586):


Ice Train / M.I. Smooth VS Charlie Haas

Ice Train need to prepare for a Haas-tyle takeover, son.  Ain't no Steven Segal to save your bitch ass this time.

Jake "The Snake" Roberts VS Verne Gagne

This.  Is.  A tough one.  Two of the most legendary wrestlers of all time going head to head.  This hurts me all the way down to my very childhood, but Verne Gagne's got to fucking win this match.  He WAS the AWA, and the AWA was a leg in the wrestling tripod for thirty years.  But Jake would give ol' Verne a run for his money.  Have no doubt.  He would get within an inch of beating the legend, but one last uncanny burst of mat skills gets Roberts pinned in a roll-up.  A sweat-drenched, knock-down, drag out in 33:35.


BRACKET XXIV, Third Round (Matches 587 & 588):


Meng / Haku VS The Wall

Knowing Haku, does it SURPRISE you he cannot be stopped by a wall?

911 VS Giant Baba

Two giants, one winner.  Giant Baba goes over 911 based on experience edge and Championship pedigree.


RECAP:

Paul Orndorff defeats Hernandez
Andre The Giant defeats Umaga
Pat O'Connor defeats The Berzerker
Gene Kiniski defeats Curt Hennig
Charlie Haas defeats Ice Train
Verne Gagne defeats Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Haku defeats The Wall
Giant Baba defeats 911


THE TOURNAMENT TO END ALL TOURNAMENTS: Brackets XVII-XX, Third Round (Matches 573-580)

It's been awhile, and I'm afraid it will be an undetermined amount of "longer" still before the next batch, because I HATE writing these things now, but I was bored, I haven't posted a blog in a week or two...let's see if anybody notices if I don't mention this on Facebook and just post these eight brackets up right 'chere:


BRACKET XVII, Third Round (Matches 573 & 574):


"The IT Factor" Bobby Roode VS Mike Awesome

This would have been one for the ages, folks.  Both men quick for their size, and Mike Awesome's power matched by Bobby Roode's technical ability.  Both men former world champions.  In the end it comes down to experience.  Bobby Roode wrestled far longer than Mike Awesome chose to.  The IT Factor takes IT to the bank.

Rey Mysterio VS Rick Martel

Holy greased lightning, Batman!  The amount of agility in a ring with these two between the ropes would set the world on fire!  (Good God, King!)  I've gotta give the edge to Rey Mysterio here, though, because in spite of Martel's epic reign as AWA Champion, Rey Rey has won more high profile matches.  When it comes down to nut-cuttin' time, Mysterio comes through in the clutch.


BRACKET XVIII, Third Round (Matches 575 & 576):


Batista VS Dory Funk Jr.

Purists will hate me for it, but Batista would smash Funk Jr. in a work.  (Though a shoot would be another story...)

Larry Zbyszko VS "Dr. Death" Steve Williams

Gotta go with Dr. Death.  Zbyszko's mat prowess would not be enough to overcome the brutality of this Oklahoman freight train.


BRACKET XIX, Third Round (Matches 577 & 578):


Edouard Carpentier VS The Undertaker

For real?  Taker.

Raven VS Kanyon

Who betta than Kanyon?  RAVEN.  (Ca-KAW!)

BRACKET XX, Third Round (Matches 579 & 580):


Whipper Billy Watson VS Nova (aka Simon Dean)

Whipper Billy Watson is from so far back, he doesn't have quotations around his name.  People just call him Whipper.  Given that he was World Champion back then too, he's more than enough to chew up Simon Dean and spit him out (though would you want to?).

Randy Orton VS Jeff Hardy

Quite the intriguing matchup.  Unfortunately for Jeff (and for the readers and writers of this tournament) Ol' Sleeves up there advances.  He's just too much more of a star.


RECAP:

Bobby Roode defeats Mike Awesome
Rey Mysterio defeats Rick Martel
Batista defeats Dory Funk Jr.
"Dr. Death" Steve Williams defeats Larry Zbyszko
The Undertaker defeats Edouard Carpentier
Raven defeats Kanyon
Whipper Billy Watson defeats Nova
Randy Orton defeats Jeff Hardy



Friday, June 20, 2014

Concert Review: Sevendust @ The Rave, 6-14-14 (Acoustic Show)

 

On Saturday, June the fourteenth, I had occasion to take in a concert at Milwaukee's (not-so) fine Rave establishment.  Sevendust were there to play two sets of exclusively acoustic compositions, and it served to be a rather refreshing evening out.

The best part was: THIS SHIT WAS FREE!

There's a bit of a story behind that: My roommate's uncle came about four free tickets, but doesn't live in the area.  He asked her if she wanted to go see this band (who neither my roommate nor her uncle had heard of), and after looking them up on YouTube, was like "Hell no".  But she knew I was into metal, and asked if I wanted to go, so I scooped that shit up like a back hoe.  Only problem was, this was on a Tuesday, and we didn't know if the tickets would get here by Saturday through the mail.  Drama, drama, drama!

I started asking around to see who wanted to go.  My main man Mike (from The Night Howls) was down, but I couldn't find anybody else that was free.  I had two extra tickets and an empty wallet, so I was like, do I try to scalp these things?  With my luck and level of ineptitude, I'd probably sell to an undercover cop or something and get arrested.  I struggled with this risk/reward dynamic all the way up to the doors of the venue, where I found out the depressing truth:

ALL of the tickets were free.

Well, most of them.  Sevendust, who are still a pretty big deal on rock radio (which, granted, isn't much of a big deal itself anymore) couldn't even sell out The Rave.  We're not talking the Eagles' Ballroom upstairs, we're talking the smaller Rave hall downstairs. It has a capacity somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500, and a band like SEVENDUST couldn't sell half of that.  I don't know if the acoustic nature of the show had anything to do with this but dude, when Sevendust has to pull out all the stops and give away tickets to a show weeks in advance to fill up THE RAVE, it's a damning indictment against the rock scene in Milwaukee.  (I ended up giving my two extra tickets to the doorman to hand out to someone else, since he was handing out free tickets at the door.)

All that aside, we got in the door just as the band took the stage.  The place was packed, but knowing they had to resort to WCW tactics to get there, it was still a bit depressing.  The show itself was really fun and it was the first time I'd seen a metal band do an all acoustic set, so it was interesting to see where they took some of the material.  Here's a rundown of what happened:

SET ONE:

1. Trust (from "Animosity")

Don't remember much from this one, as a) "Animosity" is one of the Sevendust albums I'm least familiar with, and b) I was in back, peering over all these tall-ass people and the soundboard while Mike went and drained the lizard.  Two seeds I'll plant here: There are two microphone stands for Lajon, and we keep moving up as the show progresses.

2. Prayer (from "Sevendust")

It was pretty cool to hear them bust this one out acoustically.  Found Mike, but still jostling for position.  Can barely see the stage at points.

3. Crucified (from "Animosity")

Out of the reworked songs, this might be my favorite.  I don't remember much about the original, but I like this swingy, chill rendition.  Finally found a place towards the back to the side of the soundboard where we can kinda see.

4. Xmas Day (from "Animosity")

This was the first real sing-along moment of the night.  Being one of the jams from "Animosity" I always liked, I was singing right along with e'erbody.  Had to move a bunch as usual, because for some reason I always end up being the guy in everybody's way.  Like seven or eight times during this song I had to move so muh fukaz could get beer.

5. Under It All (from "Time Travelers & Bonfires")

Moved closer to the sound board because fuck people.

6. Skeleton Song (from "Seasons")

Kinda started to get bored at this point, because I didn't know this one either.  I mean, I liked it fine, but we still couldn't see great, and being an acoustic number I guess I shoulda did my homework and took another pass at "Bonfires".  (Poor Mike wasn't familiar with most of their material.  He only knew them from the radio in the late 90's.  He still seemed to enjoy the show, though.)

7. The Wait (from "Time Travelers & Bonfires")

I think this is when I really started to enjoy the show.  (We also move up a little more around this point, which probably had something to do with that; being able to see the band is kinda nice, y'know?)

8. Denial (from "Home")

Hey, a hit!  Throughout the show, despite at least half the house getting in free, everybody seemed into it, but they really went for this one. 

9. Disgrace (from "Seasons")

This was okay.  Like I said, not familiar with "Seasons" at all, but they played it good, and it's a decent tune.

10. (Mutha FUCKIN') Rumble Fish (from "Home", but in which they scream "SEASOOOOONS")

This might be one of their heaviest songs, so to hear them break this one out was CRAAAAY-ZEEEEE!  I have a vague memory of seeing them play the Bradley Center at the turn of the millennium where I tried to fucking BREAK myself to this shit (it's that kinda song).  To hear them do it acoustically was a bit of a surprise, to say the least.

11. Gone (from "Seasons")

This sounds like a good song to end a set to; not super down, yet not the pit-inducing juggernaut that "Rumble Fish" was either.  The unplugged setting makes the song a lot more unique than it would be otherwise.

After that, it was a half hour before they came back out for the second set.  In the meantime, Mike & I moved up to a far better position.  (If you split the room in thirds, we would've been at the back of the first third.)  Also during the break, we heard a kick-ass Tesla song I'd forgotten existed, and a really terrible Slaughter song I'd also forgotten existed.

SET TWO:

12. Come Down (from "Time Travelers & Bonfires")

Hooray, they're back!  And...with a song that sounds like any Sevendust song you'd care to name since 2001.  Oh well; still decent.

13. Hurt (Johnny Cash version)

This one got the people singing, though I stayed silent.  Lighter-waving moment.

14. Jessie's Girl (?!?)

Lajon started talking about how he'd be pissed if he was Jesse and he heard this song.  I mean, it's a lose-lose situation if you're that guy, isn't it?  You hear your best friend Rick Springfield singin' about how he wishes he has your girl, and even if she ain't interested...your girl's gonna end up with Rick Springfield; you just know it!  Fuck!  So anyway, Clint Lowry starts playing the song, and when he gets to the chorus does it death metal growl style.  It was rather amusing.  They actually played two verses of this.

15. Don't Stop Believin' (?!?!?)

To show off their touring keyboard player (who had been offering up ambience for the most part), they had him start playing that damn Journey song.  Of course everybody started singing it, even me.  I mean hell, this is Sevendust covering Journey; how often can you say that?  (Okay, probably every stop on this tour, but forget about logistics for a moment; this was fun!)  The lead where they go into the second verse sounds kinda comical on an acoustic guitar.  I think Lowry did some deth vox on this one too.

16. Hard Core Whistling (?!?!?!?)

I don't know what the hell Lajon was trying to whistle, but it ended up with him musing about what hard core whistling would sound like.  This was the funniest part of the show, with the band taking turns blowing really hard into microphones and playing power chords and just acting like doufusses. 

17. Karma (from "Cold Day Memory")

This is literally the only song I remember from this album.  I do like it though, so bonus points for that.  It was at this point A FUCKING MOSH PIT BROKE OUT RIGHT NEXT TO US.  Only five dudes were throwin' down, but the crowd made enough room for fifteen or twenty.  May I remind you this was an acoustic show, and this wasn't even the most rockin' song they played by any stretch.

18. Got A Feeling (NOT the Black Eyed Peas song; the one from "Black Out The Sun")

I'm not gonna go into any details about my recent emotional state, since the last time I did that, I came off like a whiney little bitch, but yo.  I felt things during this song.  If you wanna get technical, this is only the second show I've ever seen that's made me laugh and (sorta) cry besides Ingrid Michaelson.  (We'll leave it at that.)

19. Angel's Son (from "Strait Up" or "Animosity"; take yer pick)

Speaking of getting choked up, Lajon got misty as he recalled how this song came about after the death of Snot frontman James Lynn Strait.  He explained how this was the first time anyone in their circle had lost someone their age...someone like them.  And then they busted out the song, and it was killer.  The pit was back in action for this ballad, believe it or not.

20. Black (from "Sevendust")

Of course they'd have to play this one.  I mean, it's still getting steady rotation on the radio seventeen years (DEARGODI'MOLD) after it's release.  The pit added two or three more participants for this one, we all headbanged, and the show came to a close with Lajon nor anyone else ever using the second microphone set up next to his primary one.

As we left, Mike and I were each handed two free tickets to the Mayhem Festival coming in July.

God dammit, Milwaukee...