Friday, June 29, 2007

(06.29.07) Recommends:

Concert Photography, Vol. 9.
a first opening band,
Fair to Midland,
a headlining band
San Francisco, Calif.

So the cool folks over at Sneak Attack Media invited me out to see Fair To Midland at Slim's. I didn't know anything about the band, but their publicity photo has the band in a swamp with a banjo-wielding lead singer:

So eschewing the whole "don't judge a book by its cover/don't judge a band by its PR photos" I headed out to Slim's. The first thing I noticed was that the band is proud to be from Texas:

Texas is home to lots of good music, so in my mind I was expecting something along the lines of Southern headbanging bluegrass. Bluegrass, because of that banjo pic. Headbanging, because as I wandered through the crowd, my mind kept repeating one line: "I love you but I've chosen darkness..." This crowd was rocking mohawks (I'm not talking about those obnoxious hipster fauxhawk things, I'm talking honest-to-god three foot mohawks) and lots of black and etc. This seemed like handbanging people. Oh yeah, also headbanging because:

The bassist looked like a cross between Slash and Iggy Pop. So the band came out and started their aural assault on the crowd. The crowd really seemed into it (but then, maybe everybody was into just because it was one of those rare occasions where you can wear your three foot high mohawk and people would give nods of approval rather than rolling their eyes, or shielding their children). I was mainly just confused, and stubborningly holding out hope for some heavy metal bluegrass in the middle of the song.

Now, some of you readers may be scoffing at the notion of heavy metal bluegrass. My love of bluegrass is well documented on this blog. Same goes for my love of alternative forms of bluegrass. In fact, certain blog readers will recall my days as the manager of the infamous, debaucherous, peerless (naysayers may claim "wholly" "fictitious") China Man Bluegrass Band. I managed them starting from their legendary Shanghai Lonesome Sound Tour to the day of that untimely and fiery crash that ended the band in Sandusky, OH. Playing Chinese Bluegrass in the middle of Sandusky, OH. While it may or may not have actually happened, that, my friends, is Alternagrass. Around the same time as CMBB, I fell into the Bloodshot Records scene with Split Lip Rayfield and others playing that indie-rock-country-punk for which the label is known. I'm telling you, in the early 2000s cowboys with tattoos screaming Hank Williams songs was way more dangerous than MTV generated gangsta rap. And that's probably still true today. So all of this is a roundabout way of saying that Heavy Metal Bluegrass seemed completely plausible to me.

Meanwhile back at the show...

I'm not sure how this music is officially classified by those on the internet who have finely calibrated music labeling apparatuses (apparatti?). Does this music qualify as screamo? I think it does. The lead singer is very emo. I don't know if he's emo in real life, but when he steps on stage he has the role of Emo Lead Singer down pat.

But he also really reminded me of the lead singer of local heroes Magic Bullets. As by this I mean he was insanely frantic the entire set.

The wind up:

The delivery:

The pitch:

FTM left the stage, and all the mohawks went wild for the next band. But two songs into the headlining act I left Slim's, head down, slightly dejected. I guess heavy metal bluegrass will have to wait for another day. Until then, I still have Cookie Mongoloid.

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