So, I’m a fan of Metalocalypse. I saw the Dethklok show in Berkeley and had a great time, so when I heard Dethklok would be playing the Fillmore in SF, I had to go. Right? Right.
So last Thursday, I get all dressed up (ok, jeans, muscle-t, and docs dressed up, but still), get my shit together, and drive to the city. I find parking (eventually), meet my buds BreakManX Cody and Megs, and we go inside. The Fillmore has a full bar, so we all get drinks (which would prove to be a mistake) and find a good spot up near the stage.
So far so good, right?
Well, two songs into Soilent Green‘s set, everything came to a screeching halt. A staffer came onstage to tell us all to evacuate due to an emergency which will hopefully be solved soon, so we did, filing outside in an orderly fashion. The air smelled faintly like something burning, which supported Megs’ observation of the guitarist of Soilent Green, who’d grabbed the lead singer and said something about fire right before the staffer came out.
Outside, we found half a dozen fire trucks and associated emergency vehicles. The truck ladders had been extended up onto the roof and firefighters were heading up. WTF?
It turned out (I learned this from an old rocker dude who was hanging about and had asked staffers, and later confirmed it) that the soundboard had caught fire during the set.
Let me repeat that.
The soundboard caught fire. WTF.
Sadly, the fire officials said that we couldn’t go back inside and the show was canceled. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, particularly by the three of us who were a leetle too drunk to drive home. We went across the street to a Mexican place and had burritos and cokes and waited to sober up. Before leaving, we stopped back by the Fillmore to find out the story on merch and refunds, and learned that there was no access to merch, and that refunds would be available — but that they hoped to reschedule and we should watch the website.
So we did.
And it was rescheduled! WOO HOO!
So last night I went up to the City again (I really, really hate driving up there) and went to the show. I learned upon arriving that not only was it starting earlier (which I’d known) but the opening bands weren’t playing! I was psyched — an earlier night for me, plus not having to suffer through two bands I don’t give a crap about to keep a good spot by the stage. Sweet!
The three of us got inside and bought our merch immediately – the mer
ch guys told us to buy it now because Dethklok was leaving immediately after the show. So I got my shirt and poster and sticker and the three of us checked our stuff at the coat check. This was BRILLIANT and I am definitely going to do that again next time I’m there. Yay, coat check! We got our drinks and got a spot by the stage, and waited.
We talked about all kinds of things and had a pretty hilarious exchange with someone standing nearby.
E: I love D&D – if it weren’t for D&D I wouldn’t have had anybody to look down on in high school. [there is a moment when Cody, Megs, and surrounding people consider lynching me.] I mean, I played D&D, and that meant I could look down on the Magic: The Gathering players.
Bystander: Hell yea! [holds his hand up for a fist bump]
E: [thinking he is going for a high-five, holds hand up for that. There is a moment of back-and-forth hilarity where we each adjust to the other’s gesture. Finally:] High five! [we high five] Now fist bump! [we do] Yeah!
Geekery makes me happy.
We kept waiting. We amused ourselves at one point by reading someone’s tour tshirt to figure out why the band had to leave right away after the show and learned it was because they have a gig in Arizona tonight. They were supposed to have Monday as a day off, but they came back to SF to play the show anyway. Now that is taking care of your fans.
We kept waiting.
Apparently the 7:30 start time had been a lie. Around 8, they played a clip from the news covering the fire of the week before, to much cheering and throwing of horns. Then Dethklok finally came on and ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE.
Now, the closest I’ve ever come to a metal show was the year I went to the New Years’ Eve show Primus put on, and I was smart enough to go up into the balconies for that so as to avoid the moshing. It did not, for some reason, occur to me to do that for the Dethklok show (probably because the one in Berkeley was pretty tame). I’m glad I didn’t, cos it was crazyawesome, but damn. If I’d known in the beginning how crazy it was gonna be, I’d have thought twice.
We were only a couple people deep from the very front, which meant we had a good view, but we also got pressed forward by the mosh pit that formed behind us. Everyone was thrashing and jumping and headbanging and slamming around. Cody, thankfully, has experience at these kinds of shows and helped Megs and me not get trampled or swept away in the crowd. He also managed to keep an eye peeled for crowd surfers so that we only got caught unawares a few times. (Getting caught unawares by a crowd surfer frequently means getting kicked in the head by them. Not good times.)
I had what may be the platonic ideal of an interaction while at the show, which was pretty sweet. There was a guy in front of me who liked jumping up and down in place, and kept landing on my feet. I tried shoving him off but failed, so I shoved harder, and with a bit more elbow, and hollared, “get off my feet, asshole!” He yelled back, “don’t use your elbows, use your forearms, geez” but moved. Then, during one of the video clips when the crowd settled down, he turned around and said, “I’m sorry I was on your feet earlier.” I was surprised, and said, “dude, I’m sorry I caught you with my elbow.” He said, “‘s okay. If I land on your feet again, just let me know and I’ll move.” It was pretty awesome.
The setlist and video were the same as the Berkeley show, but Brendan did the voices for Nathan, Pickles, and Skwissgaar during a break between songs. The three of them went back and forth talking about how they hadn’t been too sure about us SF types but now they liked us. Nathan apologized for “all the bullshit last week,” which was pretty cool.
After the show, we picked up our stuff from the coat check, then stopped by the corner store for liquid and headed home. It was a good night. I lost track of the number of times I was kicked, headbutted, or otherwise beaten about the head, and I got shoved and nearly squashed by the crowd nearly constantly when the music was going (I nearly lost my balance several times, and eventually gave up and hung onto Cody to stay upright), and my hair got tangled and caught a lot. Gotta find a way to get it out of the way safely. I had a great time anyway, though. It was kind of a rush.
Can’t wait for the next gig!
We weren’t allowed to have cameras, but a bunch of folks got shots with their cameraphones. Here are some links:
Some pro shots from the LA show to give you a better idea of what the shows look like.
Edited 6/11 to add: Forgot to mention that aside from being kicked in the head by crowdsurfers, I got slammed in the back of the head by some headbanging guy (I think with his forehead). My head still aches. It has until Friday to shape up and then I’m calling the doctor.