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Friday, July 27, 2012

Hesher: A Very Bitchy Movie Review

I hate to be blunt, but this movie is a total drag. When I first read blurbs hailing the film as gruesome, dramatic, and hilarious, I was expecting something between Rockstar and Dead Alive. What I got instead was something between a chick-flick and a home movie. The plot is tedious, unless you want to spend an hour and a half of watching a 13 year old suffering constantly. Seriously, the protagonist, T.J, is tormented by his own family, school bullies, authority figures, and especially by the titular character, Hesher. The bad guys are all one-dimensionally cruel, with an annoying heartlessness bordering on that of a cartoon supervillain. Even the good guys are a pain in the ass, as they seem to be pathetic martyrs who passively suffer. For a movie that revolves around death, violence, and substance abuse, it somehow manages to be incredibly boring. Like all dramas, it has the requisite family dinner scene in which the males yell at each other, break the dishes, and storm off while the womenfolk weep and plead them to stop.

As for Hesher himself...
For all the depth he has, he might as well be a stick figure shouting "Weed! Beer! Motorhead! Fire! I'm an asshole! Rawr!" He is basically a caricature of all the negative stereotypes about Metalheads. On the plus side, at least he's not predictable. Even if you don't know what his next move will be, you can rest assured that he is consistently acting like a horrible dick. The worst part is, he'd be kind of hot if he wasn't such an insufferable asshole.

I'm not just being facetious when I say that the credits are my favorite part of the movie. That is the only time you hear a Metal song in its entirety, and I was also mildly entertained by the gallery of Hesher's art that looks like obscene graffiti from a bathroom stall. 

As grueling as this film is, it isn't all bad. The scene in which Hesher smokes weed with the Grandmother is so wrong, yet so beautiful, like the breast-feeding scenario in Grapes Of Wrath.  For the most part, however, this is an account of unjust existential tragedy, the likes of which I haven't seen since the Old Testament. I can acknowledge the allure of the movie's concept, but in all honesty, I pretty much hated the whole thing. Two stars outta five. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Upcoming Shows

I love being 21. Nothing is better than getting smashed and listening to awesome, insane, loud music. For instance...

              If that's not your thing, slightly more marketable/mainstream music is coming to the Sunshine Theater on the 30th.

                                     Or, you can check this out, and Scream It Like You Mean It. AAAAHHHH!!

This Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Joe Angel Productions presents Destroy It All Tour, featuring Epiphany, Carry Your Ghost, and some other crazy Metal bands. Doors open at 7 PM, cost is $7, location is the Gasworks.

Tomorrow, Warehouse 21 is hosting an all-ages show featuring HN-88, as well as up-and-coming band The Regulars. I've never heard of any of the other bands, but since I know the aformentioned artists are both Pop-Punk, I'll assume the whole line-up is similar. Besides, their flyer is an elephant in a suit. Anyway, doors open at seven, the cost is  $5, and no drugs or violence.

The fuck is with the deficit of flyers? Well, I guess I'll just tell you beautiful people all you need to know, sans visual aid. Sorry.

July 10th, HN-88 will be playing again, only this time at a bar. The Underground at Evangelos is a pretty cool venue, and the alcohol helps too. To the best of my knowledge, HN-88 will be the only band performing that night, and shows tend to cost $5, doors tend to open at 7 PM.

Saturday, July 14th, awesome Punk band Dead On Point Five is making their comeback at Hooligans Nightclub. Also playing will be Michael Lee Ostrander(think Joe Satriani on acid) and Skulldron (Think Iron Maiden on some dank weed).  Show starts at 7, I have no idea what the cover charge is but $5 is still a good bet.

Th-th-that's all, folks.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Spiritual Implications Of Mosh Pits, According To A Drunk (Me)

(Rewind: Spring 2011 ) I had learned of Danno's death a week after it transpired. Strangely enough, the day of his death and the day I got news of it had a lot in common. They were Friday mornings for him on the East Coast, Friday nights for me in the Southwestern mountains. And for both of these nights, W21 hosted Metal shows, and both concerts featured the band Obelisk. As such, obelisks have come to symbolize resilience, endurance, and the ability to turn pain into art. That is the glory of Metal, despite its grotesqueness.

The loss of a loved one is one of the most alienating experiences you can ever know. It's like being stranded in the middle of a vast desert, all alone and completely lost. No matter which direction you wander in, it feels like you'll be in this barren wasteland forever. But if in your wanderings you stumble upon something like an obelisk, you'll know that someone was in the same desert as you, they suffered the same loneliness you did, but their sorrow inspired them to create a massive testament to their injured yet ever-present dignity. And you know that maybe you could do it too.

So much for the imagery. As for the actual band, I don't think it was a coincidence that I happened to see them perform both on the night of Danno's death, during which I was ignorant, and the night I learned of it exactly a week thereafter. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, either everything is a miracle or nothing is. Of all the amazing musicians of which I call myself a fan, none were so commensurable with my own psyche as Obelisk was at the time. Their music sounds like melancholy sublimating into rage.

I remember when the bearer of bad news concluded his sad story, something like "...Peacefully in his sleep." My jaw dropped and I walked back into the concert hall, in a daze. I hated the audience for having a good time when such a travesty occured. I hated myself for having even more fun than them just minutes before. I hated the band for sounding just like how I felt. Then, lost in self pity, I was brought back down to earth both literally and figuratively as I was shoved from behind. A mosh pit had spontaneously broken out. I figured Danno's blood will never again pulse, let alone spill, nor his heart ever beat, let alone race. I might as well do it for him. I picked myself up and pushed back. I was moshing for two now. It felt good to knock some anonymous strangers around for a while. It also felt good to endure a little manhandling myself.

I didn't want to "take my mind off it", to distract myself from the tragedy that still stings me to this day. To the contrary,l I've never been so intently focused on one thing in my entire life. My brains, my bones, my blood, my bruises... They were all saturated with the memory of Danno, and that memory has not faded since.

Anyway, I just want to dispel the myth that mosh pits are futile exercises of violence and/or stupidity. Not everyone has the luxury of close proximity to the gravesites of the beloved. Even if I was granted that blessing, I have already aquired a taste for blood. And unlike the ephemeral flowers which rot faster than the graves on which they are placed, my scars are here to stay.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Band Review: Eat A Helicopter

Do you like stuff like Whitechapel and Chelsea Grin, but your concert budget consists of of $20 and a bottle of cheap vodka? Worry no longer, comrades. Eat A Helicopter is just as awesome at a fraction of the cost. If you don't believe me, here's a music video. If you like what you hear, buy the album Descend Into Darkness,  available on Itunes.

The drumming is the typical Metal style, a relentless machine-gun fussilade. The aggressive guitar riffs are reminiscent of the better Miss May I songs. The vocals sound like a pissed off demon. Unlike many Metal acts, the lyrics follow a traditional poetry structure of rhyming couplets and a solid meter. The result is not necessarily melodic, but extremely rhythmic. The music has an underlying groove to it, albeit agitated and heavy.

I rather enjoy the moments when the band vocalizes in unison. It sounds like an angry mob of protesters who are about to erupt into a headline-making riot. There's something tribal, almost cult-ish about the "Us vs. Them" vibe I get from such moments. It's morbidly intriguing. The lyrics are usually poignant without being preachy, but sometimes they are just plain boss. ("All you zombies bounce!" comes to mind here. )

The album art is brilliant in its simplicity: The band logo above, the unassuming CD title below, and a disintegrating hottie in between. The image on the back appears to be a sillhouette of a gravestone wrapped in barbed wire. Seriously, after the aforementioned cheap vodka and this bottle of pills I found, I couldn't look away.

The CD's lifespan is cut tragically short at about 16 minutes worth of music. I could listen to this stuff for hours on end. Thank God for the repeat button, His gift to humanity. The concerts are even better than the recordings. I love a good mosh pit, but I also know how to choose my battles. Stray away from EAH shows if you are faint of heart, lest you have a faint heart attack.

Seriously, these guys will put you in the hospital.

Five stars outta five.