Wednesday, April 11, 2012

i'll show you "sold out"...

as i walked into the hemlock tavern on friday night, three thoughts simultaneously cascaded through my head: 1) i gotta pee.  2) BEER ME!  3) wait…it sounds like Grayceon has already started…
given my unwavering confidence in the strength of my bladder and the fact that of the three bands one the bill (Grayceon, Thrones, and Helms Alee) Grayceon was the local band i was going in support of, i rushed past the bar, ignored the bathroom line, and headed to the back to get into the show.  not five steps later i noticed the dude outside of the little entrance to the backroom (the bowels of the bar where rock [and occasionally ping pong] is to be had) chatting casually with his buddies behind a hand written sign that read “SHOW SOLD OUT”…an unforgiving etching perpetrated by a black ball point pen.   undaunted, i proceeded onwards.  “sold out” is just a formality, yeah?  the bar ins’t going to deny somebody’s money…some folks are probably leaving after Grayceon anyways…it’s not really sold out...right?  with that attitude, i approached the doorman wallet in hand and asked if “this shit is really sold out”.  to my dismay, i was told it was indeed…wait, really?  fuck!!!  bit it's was friday!  there was sludgy doom on the opposite side of the wall and this dude couldn’t cut me a break…talk about the definition of brutal. 

as i stood there, (still slightly dumbfounded at the “sold out”-ness that had derailed my night) and contemplated whether urinating or ordering a shot of Jameson and chugging a beer would be my next step before heading home to the mission, a dude with chin length hair and a beard who watched my predicament unfold as he exited the hemlock’s room o’ rock ask me to hold on a second and leaned in to chat with the bespectacled doorman.   after a bit of inaudible conversation, hand wringing, repeated gesturing to a piece of paper in front of the doorman and hearing the word “guest list” thrown around a couple times, suddenly the doorman was inking his stamp and asking for my hand…fuck yes!  metal 4 me.  \m/

“that looked like a bummer man!” my benefactor said and introduced himself as Ben.  We shook and i asked him what band he was with, “Helms Alee” he replied…

…okay, backtrack.  going into this show, i really only knew Grayceon...featuring Max Doyle and Zack Farewell (also of Walken) on guitar and drums respectively, coupled with Jackie Perez-Gratz (also of Giant Squid) on cello and vocals, Grayceon is a band built of musical elements i was fond of before I had even seen a Grayceon show…since seeing them for the first time i’d say i’ve been going to their local shows pretty consistently for about three or so years.  anyways, half of the draw of going to see my favorite local folks tear it up at these awesome local venues is getting a chance to see the out of town folks that are on tour or the newer local projects that are just starting to play out.  i usually find myself staring at my bike at the end of the night…a little tipsy and wondering how i’m going to manage to ride home and not drop any of the records, cds, and/or tapes i just picked up.  so there i was, thursday night, setting the mental plan to head to the hemlock and see these bands Grayceon was bringing to town and, WHAT?!?!?  they’re seattle area bands!  my ol’ stomping grounds! 

as i started investigating the line up Helms Alee was particularly interesting  (…and now a tie in to that random hook this douchebag started with…)  if you google this band, you can find tour dates, random album reviews…but otherwise stuff is kinda sparing…one thing you can find (though it may take a bit of Wikipedia diggin’!) is that on guitar, Helms features Ben Verellen, bassist and vocalist of seattle post-hardcore outfit Harkonen…and also the dude who got me into the show friday night.  A guy who's albums i've bought and who i’d seen on stage a reasonable number of times through college, and i totally failed to make the connection…in my defense I had been pre-funking at home before i got there.
other than Harkonen and random work with Roy, Botch, and These Arms are Snakes, i knew Verellen had been doing some sound engineering, for small indie and bigger bands (well, Mastadon) alike, one of those bands being tacoma two woman powerhouse Lozen…who’s drummer was seated behind the set as Helms took the stage.  What proceeded was a sonic assault so obviously influenced by the Pacific Northwest.  take two parts oppressive grey clouds, one part moss, three parts the smell of crushed pine needles, and finally 5 parts rain, combine with tripped out mathy space rock, the best elements of mid-nineties hardcore, top it off with a heaping spoonful of doom, and that’s your recipe for Helms Alee.  live they provided a tidal wave of energy and shit kicking attitude.  heard about a Hels Alee show in yur town?  GO TO IT. brilliant, heavy stuff.  here’s to hoping we get to see ‘em again soon...or at least before some sort of apocalypse level event...  

 keep it gloomy y’all.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

metal monday in the mission...Walken, Witch Mountain, & Premonition 13

so as i sat at work tuesday morning, moderately hungover and wishing for additional cups of coffee, i was still trying to process exactly what to say about monday night's show.  with so much brutal brilliance berating the venue, it's surprising that the elbo room's structural integrity held...but on to the recap...

i sauntered up to the elbo room at about half past 9, feeling accomplished (i washed AND folded a load of laundry...on a weeknight?!?!  hells yeah!) and ready for some beer(s).  i was stoked to be seeing one of my favorite bands ( if you had to ask) on what would otherwise be a lame ass monday night.  the dude working the door commented on my Walken t shirt on my way in...not really sure if he was talking shit or simply stating the obvious, but either way beer = sandeep's top priority, so what the fuck ever.  with beer in hand i grabbed a quick seat on the periphery and took in the scene.  many of the usual sf metal show regulars were about as members of Hornss, Hazzard's Cure, Black Cobra, and a slew of other local metal greats came together with nerdy fans (ME!!!) and scenesters (cooler, non-socially hopeless, significantly less nerdy metal heads) for the purpose of badass-ness.

considering that i was at a Walken show, i had no doubt that i was going to enjoy myself, but i was particularly curious about Witch Mountain.  i'd missed the band a couple of times in the past, but had heard nothing but badass reviews, so i was pretty stoked.  Premonition 13, being one of Wino Wienrich's bands would undoubtedly be fucking sweet, so all in all, i was revved up for a killer show.
anyone who's ever read insanehinduramblings knows i fucking love Walken.  i can't completely put my finger on what it is, but something about the way they put together their music makes it exactly what i want/need to hear.  their combination of sludgy riffs, mathematical rhythmic accuracy, disturbingly brutal musical talent, and the desire to tear this shit out of every stage they set foot upon ensures that i will avoid missing a Walken show at all costs, while verbally berating folks who can't make it or don't want to come. Walken's set monday night surpassed even my high expectations.  leading off with two newer songs, Walken set the evening's tone with blistering riffs, mournful growls, and the aggressive, meticulously well organized chaos that manifests as Zach Farwell's incredible percussion skills. 

other than the newer unreleased stuff Walken's set highlighted some of the strongest tracks off of their full length from november 2009.  while the set was totally badass, and i'll never get tired of hearing "Thunder Paws" performed live, i couldn't help but wish that the band might consider playing something older...maybe off the silk screened EP...?  (translation: sandeep wants to hear "Bitch Wizard"...cuz it's fucking awesome!!!) in conversation with various members of Walken post set, it sounds like the band will be taking a break from shows in order to get some new songs written.  yes, it will be a total bummer short term wise, but looking long term, that decision will only yield crushingly awesome results.  best wishes for your performance hiatus Walken, we'll be foaming at the mouth for a show when y'all are ready!

Sean, Shane, and Zack in the background...3/4 of the mighty Walken!!!

Shane, Max, and another failed attempt at photographing Zack...Walken!!!  bow down!!!

second to the stage was portland's Witch Mountain.  as a band with a female lead vocalist, it can sometimes be tough for metal audiences to get past that fact.  either we're too testosterone fueled and assume a woman can't thrown down the way a guy could, or we're totally enamored with the fact that it's a woman in a metal band and as a result just spend their set swooning.  Witch Mountain crushed either reaction before they started as lead vocalist Uta Plotkin's sound check caused a hush to fall over the assembled headbangers.  just to let y'all know, i've been having a hard time trying to fully articulate Witch Mountain's sound.  they definitely fall into the epic sludgy doom category (with riffs that reminded me a bit of Brainoil), but those vocals take me in another say if Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler passed on John Michael "Ozzy" Osborne and instead recruited Ella Fitzgerald to sing for Black Sabbath.  needless to say, i spent most of Witch Mountain's set flitting back and forth between complete awe of what i was experiencing, and rocking the fuck out.  if you ever get the chance to see this band or buy their album, DO IT.

Witch Mountain sound checking and obliterating all other sounds at the elbo room.

Witch Mountain...providing utter destruction in the best possible formats.

closing out the show was Premonition 13, Wino's most recent full band project after his acoustic solo album.  personally, i have a hard time not enjoying  Wino's work.  granted,  drony, sludgy, gravelly voiced, skull crushing awesomeness is kinda my thing, so how could i ever not enjoy a Wino production?  with Premonition 13, Wino definitely summons up that recipe for traditional Wino sauce that we all love, and then kicks it into high gear.  despite the delightfully chorused guitars and tube driven fuzz, Premonition 13's riffs represent a little more Thin Lizzy or Steppenwolf influence to Wino's traditional Sabbath/Pentagram styled sounds.  don't get me wrong, Premonition 13 still screams with those classic doom tones, but they're backed up with a little more attack.  during the set i overheard someone shout "it's never a bad day to see Wino", which is totally true.  despite the fact that monday night had turned to tuesday morning and i knew i'd need to be up in less than five hours for work, fuck it, Wino's on stage.

ah Wino...the definition of badass.

as i began my short trek home, i found myself still reeling from the much gut ripping brain still rattling between my ears...i should have stopped at three more Walken shows for a while, bummer...i wonder if i could do some sort of random stream of consciousness section when i blog about this...somebody's pooping on the sidewalk...keep it gloomy y'all!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Walken, Aerial Ruin, Saturn's Return - thee parkside

hey guys, feel like a show review?  too bad, that's what you're getting.  i know what you're thinking, "...(sigh)...a review of another Walken show. let me guess, sandeep loved it.  surprise surprise, what an asshole."  well put.  i guess my burden is to make this a scintillating piece of reading then.  'ear me now (that was an ali g impression):

"i love it...this is like,'metal heads get old and mellow out' night at the bar..." i overheard some random chick saying to her dudeman as they were standing by me during Aerial Ruin's set.  she kinda wasn't kidding.  seriously, if you are into metal, live in sf, and have a significant other who's into lighter shit and you were at this show, you probably got laid like crazy saturday night/sunday morning, your patner thankful for some chill, acoustic-y indie-ish rock and you satisfied by some badass metal.  

as i was pulling up and finding a spot to lock up my bike outside thee parkside i heard music already seeping out the doors.  in my experience, Walken has always had badass bands with the on the bill, so i hurried through my lock up and headed in as quickly as i could.  Saturn's Return was up and laying down some mellowed out...indie (hard) rock?  definite essences of metal showed through with sweep picked guitar parts and the occasional double bass, laying down a sound that sound more akin to Built to Spill rocking out with Alice in Chains than annoying dumb homogenous arcade fire style stuff.  all in all, from the three songs i heard, they were pretty badass, but cill...a little perplexing for the first band at a show headlined by my favorite local metal band.

second onstage was Aerial Ruin.  i first heard about this band when i went to see Cuttthroats 9 at el rio a while back.  i was chatting with Will Carroll post show and asked him if there was any possibility of an Old Grandad doing a show.  he replied that a show would probably happen eventually, but at the moment he was busy with many other bands (at the time Death Angel being the most time consuming!!), and fellow Old Grandad member Erik Moggridge had moved to Portland and was touring with a solo acoustic project.  i wish i could say i looked it up the next day, but in all honesty, let's fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when i google the acts opening for Walken.  when i looked into Aerial Ruin, i found what looked like a rather stereotypical long haired, battle vest wearing, bearded, sludge and/or death and/or thrash and/or power metal looking dude sitting behind an acoustic guitar playing some pretty haunting technical riffs alongside almost folksy vocals.  needless to say, i was curious about what it would be like live...

Erik Moggdrige...aka Aerial Ruin

...and live, it was pretty badass...seriously.  it was an interesting juxtaposition, a dude wearing a Lesbian t shirt (the same Lesbian t shirt i have!!!) growling out song titles only to cut into riffs and vocals reminiscent of At the Gates' acoustic work and Neutral Milk Hotel simultaneously.  Aerial Ruin went electric for the last few songs featuring hypnotic guitar doubling between Moggridge and Eric Peterson (of Saturn Returns that night, but also Night After Night and Lost Goat).  All in all, Aerial Ruin's set was fun and despite expecting the usual distorted guitars that usually accompany Walken's opening acts, i really fucking enjoyed Aerial Ruin's show.  the album is well worth picking up, offering an interesting view one metal head's perspective of acoustic rock.  after listening to the album it was easy to see that i probably would have been much more into Aerial Ruin's set were i more in the mood for something a little more laid back...but saturday night i was ready to rock the fuck out to some Walken!

as Walken prepared to start heir set and close out the show, frontman Shane Bergman (also of Hazzard's Cure) joked that the audience could take out their earplugs.  thankfully, i never wear earplugs, and why would i?  put a fucking barrier between myself and the soul crushing awesomeness that is Walken live??!!  fuck no!  if you've ever read a blog post where i've mentioned this band, you know i can't be impartial on this front.  these guys seem to play music that exactly fits my definition of 'kickass tunes'.  now i don't mean to sound totally arrogant, but i like to think i have pretty fucking good taste in music (if i was being honest i'd say i have the best fucking taste in music on the planet, i just haven't discovered all the bands that fit into it yet, but in an attempt to show at least one measly iota of humility, i'll say i have 'pretty fucking good taste' in music), that being the case, it would follow that bands i think are totally fucking amazing are not only extremely talented, but are also folks whom you should think are totally fucking awesome...TOTALLY FUCKING MINDBEDINGLY AWESOME.  i for one, think Walken is one of the most amazing bands i've come across in the last five years, so following the simple syllogism i just set up...well, you get the point, you love Walken too, now read on.

Sean, Shane, Zack (in the back!), and Max..WALKEN!!!  \m/

i've constantly had the pleasure of being able to ask the members of Walken when their next album is coming out. totally awesome for me, though possibly a pain in the ass tot he membership of Walken, but i can't help it.  ever since my first Walken show, i've been hearing songs announced as "new songs" sometimes without lyrics or titles...and they've all absolutely destroyed...just totally fucking DESTROYED!  at first i would constantly come home from shows with 'Thunder Paws' stuck in my head for days, salivating rabidly over the prospect of having a copy (thankfully we got that album back in november of '09!). it's addictive fucking music folks, and staurday's show dished up even more...some new tracks that are starting to feel a little familiar (in the most headbangingly awesome way possible) and others that were brand fucking new.  the new material continues along the path the band has already set, with crunchy, groovy riffs heavily percussive yet melodic bass, gut shattering drums, and unrelenting growled vocals...though many of the new tracks seemed to be instrumentals...maybe lyrics are in the works...?  the new songs are fucking brilliant and show the band reaching new heights in their collective musical growth...but i would kill to hear them play 'Bitch Wizard' live again (it's been a while!)!

Sean, Shane and Zack, killin' it on stage as Walken destroyed...

Zack n' Max, takin' no prisoners with Walken saturday night

members of Walken are of course involved in various other projects, Zack and Max also forming two thirds of Grayceon and Shane joining various other badass local doomsters in Hazzard's Cure, both of which are awesome bands that i look forward to seeing as often as possible, but Walken, Walken inspires something distinct.  badass would be a good word for, but unfortunately badass in now way expresses the immensity of pure fucking awesome that Walken represents.  they're playing again in september if not before, i'll post details as soon as i hear 'em, BE THERE. (i'll twitter at ya' about it...follow me, i'm sandeeppbhuta)

Sean and Shane, shreddin' chords and vocal chords...Walkenroll!

...and Walken delivers one badass encore.

so yeah, an interesting mix this saturday night, in the end, undoubtedly a badass show....phew, and we're done!  perfect timing!  better grab my bike and get on my way to bottom of the hill for the Orange Goblin/Gates of Slumber/ Naam show...keep it gloomy y'all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

throwback to high school...

what can i say, badass tunage has been a key part of my existence since well before my formative years.  i've been helping a lot of younger folks around me prep for the stress of finals recently,  and in doing so i'm constantly reminded of how much my music helped make all of this waaaaay more bearable when i was a kid.  so, if you're grinding that finals axe and need a playlist of badass study aides, download these tunes, youtube these tunes, do what you gotta do (all selections stem from sandeep's teenage pre-mp3 music collection):

Pantera - By Demons be Driven
Sepultura - Propaganda
Voodoo Glow Skulls - Human Piñata
White Zombie - Thunder Kiss '65
Metallica - Harvester of Sorrow
Slayer -Silent Scream
Megadeth -Symphony of Destruction
KISS - Strutter
The Misfits - Angelfuck
Led Zeppelin - Bring it On Home
Motley Crüe - Shout at the Devil
Black Label Society - 13 Years of Grief
Bobby Pickett and the Crypt Kicker Five - Monster Mash
Van Halen - Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love
Slipknot - Purity
Rush - Limelight
Cream - White Room
Jimi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsys - Machine Gun
Black Sabbath - Snowblind

yeah, some of it's metal.  yeah some of it's not.  it all fucking rocks though, so don't bitch.  study hard, bang your fucking heads, and keep it gloomy y'all.

Monday, May 30, 2011


holy's been a while! i know, i know. you're sitting there, in front of a computer, curing my lazy ass for denying you pertinent information on the music you should be acquiring as you chuck out all that bullshit you thought you liked. sorry, i'm back, so continue destroying all non-metal music, and keep it tuned here...insanehinduramblings is getting re-envisioned.

so the flow of things is gonna change a little. as opposed to simply offering up reviews of badass albums and shows, i'm gonna give y'all some insights through a chronicle of one slightly off kilter eccentric metal head growing up, doing the adult thang and headbanging til i snap my neck doing so. so what does that mean for the blog you ask? basically, you'll get regular musings, show reviews, album reviews, show suggestions (all probably shorter than the reviews posted previously), and insight into the way metal has enriched my life and will yours as soon as you quit being such a pussy. posts will be full of listening recommendations and disparaging comments about most other forms of music and folks who's political ignorance is so great that they require instant death and a Cannibal Corpse style postmortem skull fuck. it'll be awesome and everything you need...aside from the many badass downloads available at Illogical Contraption (...wait, you don't read Illogical Contraption?! why the fuck are you wasting your time on this pitiful joke of a blog?! do not pass go, just head over to Illogical Contraption and forfeit your life).

alright, well let's start my blog's zombified return to unlife with a quick recap of 2011. 2011 has been pretty shit kickingly awesome...nuff said. they year began with a new years party at guerrero gallery where some douchy whiny hipster band got totally blown away and musically mauled by Grayceon who brought some real talent to the party. since then, waves of awesome musical brutality have been ebbing and flowing like no other. Red Fang has shattered skulls with two SF appearances in less than a month, Walken has resumed regular (almost monthly!!) black masses (aka shows) in SF, Lesbian came through on tour to brutalize us with tunes from a new album, YOB decimated locals at the great american music hall in support of Neurosis, Unsane has laid waste to both thee parkside and el rio, Hightower pressed 'Tower to the People' on vinyl, germany's Nocturnal raised Satan in the united states for the first time ever at submission art gallery in the mission, Black Cobra (featured in shitty cell phone pictures below) continues to kick the shit outta every local audience they play for, and the 45 minute set of all new material Saviours played on their sf stop of the 'Eternally High' tour showed the band reaching soul shreddingly awesome new musical heights.

Jason of Black Cobra

Rafael of Black Cobra

a couple of new promoters of darkness to keep an ear out for would be the bone marrow guzzling brilliance of Hazzard's Cure (featuring Shane from Walken, Chris from Floating Goat, and a couple other folks that i'm pretty sure used to play for Orb of Confusion [who fucking owned] before they broke up), Pins of Light (featuring Jake from Hightower), Serpent Crown (female fronted awesomeness with Will Carrol [of a buzillion bay area metal bands, but most prominently Death Angel] pounding beats on his signature 'Hail Satan' drum kit), Pegataur (another loud ass, gut ripping bay area heavy metal two piece), Huntress (a collection of california badasses who's unrelenting, thrashy, sexy female fronted power metal stylings leave one seething for more), Hot Fog (who's tasty NWOBHM style goodness helps keep smiles on metalhead's faces), and Night After Night (i'm pretty sure they have the same drummer as Hot Fog, but they rarely play shows and are struggling to get an album recorded and released, so all i know of them is from rumors at shows, blog chatter, and random downloads from Illogical Contraption...but seriously, download this fucking Night After Night owns!!).

wonderin' where to find me rockin' out  next?  shit, after reading this post i would be too.  well you're super fucking lucky, 'cuz next up for sandeep is Walken (dude, these guys are the shit...see previous posts if you have questions) next saturday the 4th at thee parkside.  come check out some awesome local shred slayed by some brutally talented folks      

so there you have it folks. insanehinduramblings is back with plans to be bloodier than ever. keep it gloomy y'all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


preface: what's up metal freaks? sorry, this is totally not what you're looking for, but this IS a long ass super political rant from yours truly as i've pondered race this Martin Luther King Day. read it if you feel like it, it's more for me than for you (self therapy maybe?), but if it starts getting a little old, feel free to scroll down and look for the bold SKIP TO THE END for my main point. oh, and in case you're wondering, yes, my capitalization choices are intentional.

ps...this is kind of a condensation of thoughts i've had since an intensive conversation on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. six years ago with one Andrew Farjo. much love brother. - sandeep \m/

still dreamin'?

days off are fucking awesome, no doubt about that. this day off has always been one to fill me with mixed emotions. no, it's not because it wasn't until the year 2000 that all 50 states finally adopted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and no, it's not just cuz i get a little choked up when i hear the 'Dream' speech. as i've grown and my socio-political awareness has expanded and cemented itself, this day has regularly been a day of confusion and frustration as i view the reality of our so called 'civil society' in juxtaposition with the words "I have a dream..." wrapped up in blasphemous red white and blue. sadly, i was unable to understand the annual farce perpetrated upon Dr. King's memory until close to the end of my college career.

growing up, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day was all about the all school assembly on the friday before the holiday. music teachers would conduct students in choruses of 'We Shall Overcome', an administrator offer a quick recount of Dr. King's presence in history and rattle off that famous conclusion section of the 'Dream' speech, culminating with:

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

it's this desire for character examination that has me sitting behind my keyboard today. i must admit, i struggle to see a coincidence between the fact that a failed assassination attempt on a pro-immigration, a pro-diversity public figure came just one week before the holiday honoring one of the greatest civil rights leaders our nation will ever known. i also struggle with the fact that arizona was one of the last states to accept the federal holiday and the sitting senior senator (and former presidential candidate) was one of the strongest voices in opposition to the congressional creation of the federal holiday, but I digress. the character of this nation as it relates to the other is rotten to the core. by 'the other' i'm not suggesting Hegel's interpretation of the concept, but the so-called 'american dream's' interpretation of otherness: those who do not strive for unnecessary wealth, those who reject the two car garage, the white picket fence, and saying the pledge of allegiance every morning in a sterile classroom in the suburbs. in Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville observed that it is assimilation, not diversity that is the true American value. those who seek to live intentionally, to celebrate the traditions of their ancestors, and celebrate their cultural heritage (and of course their supporters) are 'the others' of the american diaspora, an otherness our dominant culture most easily recognizes by the color of one's skin.

the defamation of this otherness is the true hallmark of the american dream. students across the country today are enjoying a day off, but how many of them are aware of Dr. King's work outside of the poetic words delivered at the national mall on august 28th, 1963? Dr. King has been easily demonized by many in our country. he was called anti-american due to his opposition to the Vietnam War, a Marxist due to his willingness to utilize non-violent civil disobedience in order to force business owners, transportation agencies, and public officials to recognize the institutionalized abuse of African Americans that had become part of the post-Emancipation Proclamation political status quo, yet all many seem to remember Dr. King for is the dream he spoke of on the 28th. that makes sense though. it's easier this way. turn Dr. King and his legacy into a big fluffy teddy bear who has a cute little dream of white kids and black kids playing in a sandbox together at every public park across the nation. the white corporate media and their partners in our political spectrum discovered exactly how to use Dr. King's legacy to prove de Tocqueville's point. absorb this dream into the american dream, then go sell it at walmart. it's okay to be black, just act more white. it's cool if your grandma makes tamales for dinner, just make sure she has a green card and you always speak english in public. live the dream of unity, but never forget that “unity” is defined in this country as conforming to the ideals and actions of a white privilege dominated political 'centrism'.

...“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.” - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail'

in 2007, black male inmates outnumbered white male inmates in the us prison system at a rate of 7 to 1, black females outnumbered white females at a rate of 3 to 1, latino male inmates outnumbered white male inmates at a rate of 3 to 1, and latinas outnumber white females in the prison population at a rate of 2 to 1 (as reported by the us dept. of justice in the prison population statistics report submitted to the GAO april, 2008).

in his annual report on the state of the dept. of defense in 2008, defense secretary robert gates was quick to note that the population of African Americans and people of Latin American descent serving in the military were mere percentage points above figures from the 2005 us census illustrating the overall racial composition of the country. in the same report, mr. gates was eager to de-emphasize the point that a clear majority of people of color serving in the military (to the tune of almost 68%) served in the lower echelons of the military command structure (mainly serving as NCOs) as well as the over representation of military recruiters in low income communities of color.

the harvard graduate school of education (partnered with the harvard university Civil Rights Project) published a joint study in 2001discovering that African-American students were three times as likely to be labeled 'mentally retarded', 'emotionally disturbed', or identified as having a 'specific learning disability' then their white counterparts. it was also noted that special education environments serving African American students were much more physically restrictive, opposed to mainstreaming and job training programs, and generally segregated from the regular education student population than similar classrooms in serving predominantly white student bodies. all of these facts are an outrageous continuing reality in our country today. realities which are constantly and ignorantly rejected, as thought of even lukewarm acceptance of the truth that american institutions deny people of color equal opportunities on a daily basis is a fact too uncomfortable for the dominant culture in our country to accept. it's important not to just see this indifference to fact as political convenience, but to call it out for what it truly is: racism. racism delivered through hegemonic warfare if we wanna' get fancy.

“This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men.” -Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, 'On the Mindless Menace of Violence', delivered at the City Club of Cleveland in reaction to the assassination or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

throughout my life i've heard the arguments. “i'm not racist! i have brown friends!” “affirmative action is racist against whites!” simple arguments from simple minded folks eager to maintain their ignorance to the realities of the ways in which american institutions are set up to promote and secure white privilege in the social status quo as it has been secure in north america since well before 1776. it doesn't require lynch mobs, hate speech, or even loosely made positive comments about the actions of hate groups past or present to be 'a racist' when simple complicity and silence in regard to white privilege is a far more pervasive, much more dangerous reality in our country today.

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just." It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: "This is not just." The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: "This way of settling differences is not just." This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation's homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 'Beyond Veitnam: A Time to Break the Silence'


so seriously, what the fuck is this? sandeep rambles on for like ten pages of random, disorganized crazy liberal ranting with no care for MLA format calling everybody racists and bitchin' and moanin' about all these 'evils' he sees around every corner? well, yeah, kinda. in all honesty, i put on some Rage Against the Machine and sat down with my fourth cup of coffee of the day at around 12:45 to write a quick facebook status update that would express that feeling i get when thinking about race in america. that mix of nausea and roller coaster like stomach summersaults and the shakes that overcomes me when i think critically about these united states and the role race continues to play in our country's development (or attempts at development). it's now 2:46, and i haven't even gotten to the treatment of muslims and anyone who even looked slightly mid eastern or muslim and the severe need to build Cordoba House at 45-51 Park Place, Manhattan, New York City. in other words, it's time for sandeep to get to the fucking point. well here it is: race is real. there can be no such thing as a colorblind society, there are too many colors out there for that to work. until WE, as people living side by side for a finite amount of time on this beautiful mass of earth, can acknowledge our inherent differences culturally, socially, politically, and overall historically and how those differences have contributed to our respective statuses in life a substantive, positive peace will continue to elude us.

some people have said (and continue to say) that the election of Barak Obama as President of the United States is evidence of the fulfillment of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. i take comfort in the words of Dr. Cornell West who says that “...those are people who don't understand the difference between 'a' realization of Dr. King's dream and 'the' realization of Dr. King's dream.”

happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day everyone. enjoy the day off! :) -sandeep \m/

Saturday, December 11, 2010

the fountain o' muthafuckin' youth

hells to the yeah. i totally made my 16 year old self fucking proud this weekend. i woke up saturday morning a little groggy. it had been a long, tiring week at work and i was feeling sluggish and just generally lazy. my options for the day were: 1) heading to the mid- afternoon all ages Forbidden/Evile/Gamma Bomb/Bonded by Blood/Fog of War show at dna lounge, 2)heading to the later night Voodoo Glow Skulls show at bottom of the hill, or 3) both. i rolled outta bed thinking, "i'm tired, i'll pick one show to go to" and made myself some brunch, assembling a play list of Evile and Voodoo Glow Skulls tunes hoping to aid in my decision making process. a pot of coffee and some food set me in the proper mood to take on the day, so i busted ass through my chores, got myself ready and hopped on my bike headed towards dna lounge telling myself i'd see how i felt after i got home, but i was pretty sure i would crash before the Voodoo Glow Skulls show, but what the fuck ever. i rolled out to soma and was locking up in front of dna by 3:20. by the time i got inside i heard the delightful sound of shred and realized this show started earlier than i thought, Bonded by Blood was midway through their set. fuck! i had missed Fog of War, it was past time to get my thrash on!

this was my third time seeing Bonded by Blood since moving to the bay area, but the first time seeing them with new frontman Mauro Gonzales. they had always been a shit load of fun live and all of their studio work is pretty fucking phenomenal...but that was also all Jose Barrales' work on vocals. i walked into dna lounge to see Gonzales rockin' it like no other. the difference is noticeable, but there's nothing to dislike. Bonded by Blood put on a show on par with every other time i've seen them play. they're always a fun band to watch, but unfortunately due to being on tour with the likes of Gamma Bomb, Evile, and Forbidden, it's hard to set oneself apart from bands that have become the titans of the modern revival of the thrash movement. while Bonded by Blood's incredible talent and aggressive tone makes it obvious that they are one of the bands responsible for assisting in the rise of the present thrash metal revival that Earache and Nuclear Blast Records seem to be promoting, the show was my first time seeing Evile and i was more than ready to see the folks i had come for.

taking the stage next was Gamma Bomb from newry, ireland. having bands like Gamma Bomb and Evile holding such prolific places in the modern thrash scene does seem a little...well, off maybe? both bands hail from the uk which has of course brought us a slew of incredible metal bands, but thrash is a less common metal sub genre for uk bands to be a part of. going into the show i knew Evile was badass, but i had only heard a few tracks from Gamma Bomb before the show. what i had heard reminded me of a cross breed between classic bay area thrash and delightful old school NWOBHM styled riffage. what i got from Gamma Bomb live was the equivalent of a running my soul through a spiritual meat grinder (read 'brutally awesome beyond belief' from that analogy). quick to note the influence of the bay area scene on their music, Gamma Bomb attacked their set with a clear and infectious enthusiasm. whenever i watch interviews with any of the members of Iron Maiden, it's always so striking how positive and friendly they always seem to be. Gamma Bomb projects the same positive energy, coupled with a quick musical steel toed boot to the teeth. to say they had the audience going was an understatement. unfortunately, dna's security was feeling authoritative and had been breaking up many of the mosh pits frontman Philly Byrne had attempted to get started (undoubtedly an issue involving the club's insurance), but Gamma Bomb was undeterred and kept the audiences energy high until the need to mosh reached it's breaching point. Byrne divided the audience down the middle to prepare for Gamma Bomb's anti-fascist anthem,"Mussolini Mosh". "it's not that we're telling you to mosh", Byrne explained in the introduction to the song, "it's just that we need half of you on the left, half of you on the right, and when the music starts, ignore it. ignore the guitar, ignore the drums but when i drop my arm, you all do whatever it is you feel like you need to do..." dna lounge staff cautiously approached the gathering masses as the audience waited for the tomahawk chop of Bryne's arm. the music kicked up and air started to buzz with electric anticipation and as Bryne cut into an over the top rallying cry, his arm came down and the audience erupted, rushing at the headbangers standing opposite and colliding in the center of the pit with the dull thud of bone tenderizing flesh. unable to contain the awesomeness, befuddled dna lounge staff retreated away from the pit and resorted simply pushing careening mosh pitters back to the center of the pit if they happened to drift towards the bar. PURE. METAL. MAYHEM. it was perhaps the most epic mosh pit moment i've had all fucking year. that crunch as we tore into our brothers and sisters on the left side of the pit may very well be my favorite moment of 2010. i was still stoked as shit for Evile, but Gamma Bomb had just stolen the whole fucking show.

still reeling from Gamma Bomb's merciless musical assault on the audience i made my way to the bar so as to seek comfort from the happy burn provided by a jameson on the rocks as Evile's techs started re-arranging the speaker cabs on stage. my excitement could hardly be contained as guitar checks started and the overall weight and breadth of the distortion on the guitars seemed exponentially higher than that of the last two bands, despite being a fantastic example of the modern thrash movement, Evile definitely thrashes with much more girth and attack than most in their genre. needless to say, i downed that jameson and waded my way into the center of the pit well before the end of the sound checks. i was a little nervous as they got started. i had totally built this band up in my mind, and was starting to worry that i let my expectations get too lofty, and besides, Gamma Bomb had just put forth a pretty fucking epic set, topping that would be tough for any band. from the moment Evile took the stage i realized all of my doubt was completely misplaced. the heaviness of the guitar strings, the extreme thickness of the guitar picks, and the undeniable broad diameter of the drum sticks used were apparent as Evile pounded listeners with shred that seemed to be broadcasted by sledgehammers. Evile's sound on their studio worked carried over to their stage show with such accuracy it almost seemed like listening to their albums, but at double the tempo with flashier guitar other words, bliss in the form of ear drum brutality. dna lounge staff seemed unwilling to fight the crowd and maintained a ring around the pit, keeping moshers from taking over the whole crowd, though during Evile's set they had a particularly hard time doing so. when Evile finally cut into "The Thrasher" (easily a modern classic) the audience went fucking nuts, screaming out "BOW DOWN TO THE THRASHER!!" in delightful vocal chord shredding unison.

i'll admit, after Evile finished up, i was a little exhausted. being an all ages show (and the show taking place in the middle of the day) meant the pit was crazy chaotic and full of energy. my knuckles and elbows were red from repeated impacts with meat and bone, my jaw was a little sore from that elbow i took to the teeth, and someone had definitely gotten a clean kidney shot on me, so i was feeling the consequences of a prolific and extremely well executed mosh pit. i hung back and nursed a second drink as Forbidden took the stage, figuring i should let myself recuperate a bit and consider whether or not two shows in one day was going to be a possibility for me. did i mention the awesomeness of the pit at dna lounge that day? although in my mind the uk thrash bands had totally shown up the bay area bands that opened the show, the bay area pit was no fucking joke. Forbidden put on a great show and played an awesome mix of older and newer stuff, but the sheer force Gamma Bomb and Evile put forth definitely dwarfed that of Forbidden. despite that fact, Forbidden were the hometown heroes headlining the show, and the audience was not about to forget that. severe appreciation occurred in the pit, and despite my bumps and potential bruises, it was impossible to hang back past the first couple of songs. the last time i moshed that hard in one day was Ozzfest 2005...i totally forgot how good that feels!

after Forbidden was denied the opportunity for an encore (due to dna staff already setting up for whatever lame music-ed burlesque show they had coming up next) and i made my way towards my bike i passed a winnebago with an attached trailer and found Oi and Matt Drake of Evile standing outside sipping tea and smoking cigarettes. i stopped and chatted for a bit, thanking them for the fucking brilliant show and inquiring when they might be through the area next. Oi mentioned they're writing a new album now and that they'd be back on their next tour (hopefully headlining!). as i wished Evile a good night and safe travels, i realized something: professional rockers are too fucking cool for words. why would i not want to put myself in close proximity to dudes like this as often as possible? FUCK YES i was going to be at that Voodoo Glow Skulls show!!!

without a second to waste, i hopped on my bike, pounded my way from soma to the mission for a quick dinner break, then home to pull on that Voodoo Glow Skulls t shirt i had from my high school days, then back on the bike headed for bottom of the hill. i prepped myself out on the way. being an Epitaph band meant the Skulls would probably play with other punkier bands as opposed to metal bands. i think the last punk show i had been to was actually seeing the Skulls back in 2006 at el corazon in seattle, so it had been a while. that show had been pretty painful (not in a good way), and i remember downing drinks as one generic nasally vocaled ska band sporting stupid hair-dos followed another, wondering how it was that the Skulls were one of the few bands that brought heavier metal stylings into simple ska structures (i believe the Skulls call it 'metalli-ska'). regular ska is either unique and interesting, or comprised of totally generic, lame ass folks who add a horn section to their Blink 182 sound alike bullshit. i'm not even going to dignify the band that played before the Skulls at bottom of the hill by mentioning their name, but yeah, whiny Blink type un-creativity was pretty much all they had to offer. after an afternoon of amazing thrash, i had a hard time booing loud enough to truly let that band know how awful they really are. thankfully they announced their last song (i cheered at that) and cleared out after only about 35 mins on stage (35 mins too long that is).

undeterred by the mediocrity i had just witnessed, i was relatively stoked to see the Voodoo Glow Skulls. the last "new" album of theirs that i had really gotten into was 2000's Symbolic and it's easily one of my favorites from their catalog. despite having purchased a couple of their later albums, none of them struck me the same way, so i expected to hear some songs i was unfamiliar with, but looked forward to going fucking crazy when i heard some of my favorites. the Voodoo Glow Skulls did not disappoint. as the Skulls opened up their set with the title track off of Band Geek Mafia, waves of previously dormant 9th grade inspired angst coursed through the very core of my spirit and i tore through the pit, effortlessly making it to the rail before Frank Casillas started into the first verse. true to form, the Skulls rocked it, playing newer stuff as well as a ton of old school stuff off of Band Geek Mafia, Baile de Los Locos, Firme, and Who is, This is. of course they cut into a set of songs in spanish, tearing into 'Yo Soy el mas Chingon', 'Los Hombres no Lloran', 'La Migra', 'El Coocooi', and 'Baile de los Locos' leading to some intensive pit action from a core of latin kids in the audience. feeling like i was super fucking old was easy at that show, as kids bounced around to new Skulls songs i was unfamiliar with, but reclaiming my youth was equally easy as i mosh-danced my ass off to old school tunes i used to bump in my high school days as the kiddies in the audience looked on trying to find the beat so they could get their mosh on as well. the only disappointing part of the Voodoo Glow Skulls set that night was not hearing 'The Delinquent Song', but they did play 'Broadie Johnson Weekend' (perhaps because Broadie has returned to his position behind the trombone after a couple years on hiatus), which i've never heard them play live before, so that was pretty fucking cool. all in all, saturday reminded me that 1)the Voodoo Glow Skulls are fucking sweet. 2)thrash is always and will always be almost indescribably badass and 3)i've still still got that old school, headbangin', shit kickin' spirit, and as long as i keep puttin' in some solid pit time, i 'aint about to lose it. keep it gloomy y'all.