Sunday, February 9, 2020
Sunday, February 2, 2020
Saturday, January 18, 2020
Monday, January 13, 2020
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
To the best of my ability to keep track, I witnessed 55 shows as an audience member, 20 less than last year, and an all time low, one less than the previous worst year, 2017! That's a pretty bad slip, but I have excuses, as always! I worked a lot, and had a lot of band practices, which prevented me from going out many nights that I would have liked to. With Deathgrave practices happening in San Jose on Thursday nights now, it caused me to miss A LOT of shows that I would have gone to in Oakland and San Francisco. Plus, let's face it, I'm old and jaded now. A lot of times I feel like I can get more enjoyment out of a nice hike in the mountains than going to see ANOTHER metal show at a bar in Oakland, where I will drink 3-6 beers, buy an obligatory LP to support the touring band, and stagger home to attempt five hours of sleep. I had to pad my list of shows attended this year with some SERIOUSLY QUESTIONABLE performances I saw while at work, just to make this NOT the lowest year ever for nights spent out!
So as the world crumbles around us, let's have a look at some of the highlights of the year! I got to see Japan's Kikagaku Moyo, one of the best and tightest psychedelic bands going right now, two nights in a row in a tiny bar out in the Big Sur redwoods! Entrancing and intimate. The best bands I saw in 2019 were mostly from Japan, of course, and the biggest winner was Green Milk From The Planet Orange, who I saw at The Knockout in San Francisco. Best live band of the year! (Also, their new record III, which I believe they played in it's entirety that night, note for note, is my favorite album of the year.) Other great Japanese bands I crossed paths with included Boris, Church of Misery and Radioactive. Classic metal bands made a fine showing in 2019! Iron Maiden owned Oakland Arena with an excellent performance and unbelievable stage production. Judas Priest delivered the goods at The Warfield. Obituary slaughtered the UC theater. OK, here's a cool one: I had never seen Metallica live until September of this year, when I was called by work to be a camera assistant at their "Symphony and Metallica" (S&M) 20th anniversary shows at the new Warriors Arena in San Francisco. For two nights, I was beyond front row, as the ageing thrashers played alongside the orchestra. Witnessing the frustration on the faces of the classically trained percussionists as they had to share a stage with Lars Ulrich was priceless! Another highly notable performance of a totally different sort was seeing the Pharaoh Sanders Quartet at Yoshi's. I decided it was more important to see one of the few living jazzmen who had actually played with John Coltrane, than to see King Diamond again. Bay Area choices! Pharaoh Sanders was great, still honking and squawking his sax like a champ at age 79, but he was almost overshadowed by his band, especially the drummer, who was simply jaw dropping in his skill and dexterity. Turned out it was Marvin "Smitty" Smith from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno! Of course, most of the shows I went to were to see the numerous talented, and more often than not, extremely malevolent, local bands. Check the full list for details!
As a drummer, I played 68 shows with five different bands, up slightly from last year, and not bad considering I didn't do any extremely long tours. My amalgamation into Deathgrave certainly boosted my statistics, as the band toured and gigged regularly throughout the year, re-estabishing themselves after six months without a drummer. Half of the sixty eight shows I played were with Deathgrave. My other old bands limped along in various states of disrepair, disagreement or apathy. (To be fair, Hazzard's Cure was actually focusing very hard on writing a completely new album, which will be sure to blow your ear holes in 2020).
Here's the breakdown:
Hazzard's Cure: 5
Accounting for nights when I played or attended more than one show in the same night, that adds up to 121 nights spent out at a show of some kind, or 33.1% of all nights spent out. Barely scraping by as the second lowest year on record, and below the average of 39%. I wish I could do some kind of "decade retrospective" like a lot of people are doing this time of year, it being the end of the "2010s," but my meticulous record keeping only goes back to 2011, and therefore you are spared such heavy analysis. Now, let's have a look a the numbers:
Percentage of total nights spent out:
FULL LIST OF SHOWS ATTENDED AND PERFORMED AFTER THE JUMP