Category Archives: Concert Review

The Battle for Wacken Part Deux

Monarch were the fifth an final entry of this battle! THE ANTICIPATION!
(L to R: Bassist Alex Pickard, vocalist/guitarist Matt Smith, and guitarist Casey Trask)

Make no mistake about it, you’re not reading that wrong. Ugh Metal meant to go to round one but life had a funny of getting in the way. Damn you, hurdles. The summary of the spoils for round one went to our first impression alumni, Nightshadow. Although we didn’t go, we sent our wholehearted congratulations to them and had a  serendipitous encounter with  Nightshadow’s own Danny Fang and personally congratulated him and caught up. Anyway, without further ado, the sad sacks shall tell you all about round two.

Chuggo: Thank you, narrating scum. The Klown thinks he’s getting more chipper throughout the collabs. Enough about that and now onto what’s important the WackenOpenAirBattleoftheBands… *takes breath* ROOOUUUUNNNND TWWWOOO!

Jenny Oh: Unlike the Judges, Helsott’s Eric Dow, Beekeeper’s Dylan Marks and The Dread Crew of Oddwood’s Wolfbeard O’Brady I wanted a dirrrrrrrteh fight! There can only be one!

C: Settle down, Highlander. There could only be one… in that round. The night was rather interesting to say the least. The Klown was stoked to see how the night was going to go down. Incidentally, it also happened to cap off our March Madness because the NCAA isn’t the only one that has a crazy month. Praise IT!

J: We were all a little mad so much so that we found ourselves in wonderland. And in that wonderland, we found an eccentric bard and his faithful axe man. We looked at these troubadours and were enchanted by their ways, Gus McArthur was their name.  

Vocalist Gordon McArthur and his bro guitarist Honan McArthur worked their magick.

C: I swear… you see the BBC once and you already see yourself as whimsical. But yes, the opening act went by Gus McArthur the trio, at the time of the performance, looked like a bunch of guys who tapped in to their inner Sunflower Dead and leads us to a time when Nu Metal was at its peak.

J: You’re just a jealous bloke! And the magical Gus McArthur #1, who is also known as Gordon McArthur, enchanted us with his spoken words and showed us that badass mythical figures can freestyle too. Gus McArthur #2, who happens to be Gordon’s bro and is guitarist Honan, destroyed any elitist barbarian that crossed his way with amazing riffs! His clean vocals will surely soothe any wounded soul. My god. 

Gordon McArthur showed us how well an enchanted being can free style AND sing.

C: The Klown will confess that he was thrown off but really enjoyed Gordon’s freestyle verse. Not only was it unexpected but rather spine tingling and in-place. Then they managed to pick it up again without a moment’s hesitation. It was pretty bitchin, it’s a lost art.

J: Gordon not only delivered these verses with raw intensity, crouched, and ready to pounce on us with poetry, but he did it in a dramatic but subtle way that only a true story teller can. I didn’t know what to expect from Gus McArthur but seeing them was mind blowing, more mind blowing than that shady caterpillar’s hashish! Which I still think he stiffed me.    

C: He did. Enough of your usual rip off, it is time to talk about a band that the Klown has seen once before. He is of course talking about Sentinel. It was nice seeing them again, however, why don’t you tell them what you thought of them J-Ohkah? Since it was your first time seeing them. 

Sentinel gave us a set we couldn’t forget.
(L To R: Guitarist Jesus Verdugo, bassist Sal Rascon and frontman Daniel Hernandez)

J: I thought they were cooler than Guardians of the Galaxy and Logan combined. These guys can protect us from the elitist scum!

C: I see… so who gonn be protect yer goofy ass from the geeky horde?

J: SENTINEL MAFAKAS! The quintet made us feel alive with their first track of the night “Reborn.” Guitarists Luis Rocha, Jesus Verdugo and bassist Sal Rascon gave us an epic line up, literally, not one person could look away from their epic play. 

C: Right you are. It has been a “minute” since the Klown has seen this quartet. Much like the first time, they delivered and managed to pep the crowd. For the veterans of the scene, they managed to have Rocha and Verdugo do the tradeoff/riff battle that was synonymous with the old school. Most importantly, frontman Daniel Hernandez made sure we were still alive. 

Front man Daniel Hernandez took a break from singing to observe guitarist Jesus Verdugo’s riff-tastic powers.

J: Danny was filled with a vigor that would put any watchdog to shame! And he had a tremendous amount of charisma that is sure to captivate non-power metal fans.

C: Of course, if Danny boy wasn’t focused on us he would allow the stringed set to take over while he pepped the drummer Rory Packard.

J: Speaking of Temblad, holy shit man. They were not fartin’ around and gave us the first pit of the night and thus the “Stratageddon” descended upon us. We were so ready to receive!

C: Ah chyeah! Shit really picked up once Lorenzo Kemp struck the first chords and unleashed his powerful vocals. But Matthews… the Klown’s nose is off for him. Not to mention Kyle Netland powering the bass. Temblad looked like they were out for blood and had the winner-take-all energy. 

Temblad was hungry to entertain in this battle, and entertained we were!
(L to R: Bassist Kyle Netland, vocalist Lorenzo Kemp, and drummer Marlon Matthews)

J: The mighty Temblad never disappoint, but that night they were ready to eviscerate any competition and were hungry to entertain. But even though this was a battle to the Wacken throne, Lorenzo Kemp gave a heartfelt thanks to everyone, told fans that they make the San Diego metal scene, and sincerely proclaimed “may the best band win!” They then allowed us to “Caress The Rabid.”

C: Of course, all without doing a “Mockery of the Fanatic.” The Klown noticed Temblad newbs being indoctrinated to the sounds of their current album Nevercrown. The erratic and fast paced sounds of Temblad commanded and demanded their attention and definitely got just that.

Lorenzo Kemp from Temblad wasn’t messing around!

J: The ”Mockery…” was so great that it caused the first ferocious pit of the night. This pit was not ordinary one because it shook the Brick to its core! If you thought the pit died there, you got it all wrong because Gravespell joined this battle ring and kept this mother going!

C: It has been a while since the Klown had seen Gravespell. They’re a group that’s definitely worth seeing when they have opened for headliners like Belphegor and Alestorm. This time, the Klown was looking forward to see them as the co-headliners.

Gravespell’s bassist Nick Lepisto and rhythm guitarist Chris MacDonald conjuring up a serious reception.

J: Gravespell threw their gauntlet in the ring and created a pit that threw everyone onto the walls and floors! They effortlessly got a grand reception at the Brick and gave us what we were asking for, their melodic death metal. 

C: Hell, the five-piece even upped the stakes by introducing us to a new one from their upcoming album. The Klown still waits for it, fyi! Lest the Klown forget when the frontman Garrett Davis wanted to open up the pit again.

Gravespell’s Garrett Davis before jumping in to the pit.

J: Oh and they did! Gravespell left us with a memorable performance and were one hell of an opponent. Eek! This battle is too damn hard AND Gravespell was not the last entry! Making this night tougher was the last act of the night, local thrashers Monarch and man were they ready to give it their all!

C: Monarch, they were a force to be reckoned with. They had a pit going, however, they unfortunately had the roughest start, specifically guitarist Casey Trask who was dealing with technical difficulties. Even frontman/guitarist Matt Smith resumed bro duties by stopping himself to help Trask out with his tech issues.

J: Damn you technology! But Monarch were so G, they didn’t let any stupid rebellion of the technical kind stop them from kicking ass. They rolled with all the punches their equipment delivered and gave a hell of a performance. Their jam sessions were to die for and Trask became a one man show too by not only spreading the love around the stage and would get close and personal with crowds by strumming like a mad man in our faces. Motor boat them strings!

Monarch’s Casey Trask was a one man show!

C: Not that he needed to do because he be skilled. The band even treated us all to the sounds from their brand-new album Go Forth and Slaughter. Which for those who haven’t had the chance to check it out probably should. Didn’t you review that album?

J: I did! Thanks for the advert Klown, I might not sneak attack you with pies this time. And you know who else I won’t be attacking with pies or rotten veggies? Monarch! They kept the party going and drummer Adam West was too in to the “Slaughter” fest that night, his right cymbal flung off and kept it going with a grin on his face. Of course, Matt Smith eventually placed the brassy round morsel back in its place. Matt was a great showman, guitarist, vocalist AND roadie, what can’t this man do?!

C: Smith was the true face of bros. Smith and Trask teamed up together for a riff face off, of course even bassist Alex Pickard got in on the action! The Klown’s sure that if given the opportunity West most likely would have found a way to get front and center and do a face off with Smith.

Monarch’s Matt Smith and Casey Trask having an epic riff- off (?)

J: Alas, Monarch concluded their set and quickly dismantled their gear amidst the strong cheers and reception. I’m telling ya, these dudes didn’t let anything stop them from delivering a great show, though I don’t know they seemed a little deflated when they vacated their stage. Screw you technical gear! Eric Dow then came up and thanked the bands and said that him along with Dylan and Wolfbeard would return in a few minutes to announce the winner and emphasize how hard it was going to be to make a decision. I didn’t envy them Klown! Oh and did I mention my anxiety was excited to make a guest appearance that night too?

C: No, you weirdo. But the Klown does agree, he too didn’t envy Dow, Marks and O’Brady. The decision was hard, everyone performed hard and had a unique twist in their own set. Granted, Monarch seemed deflated right after but the Klown could sympathize and understands because technical difficulties can be a huge factor when it comes down to having the judges deciding on a winner. The worst part of it all was the waiting game.

The honorable Jugdes local legend/Beekeeper’s Dylan Marks, The Dread Crew of Oddwood’s Wolfbeard O’Brady, and Helsott’s Eric Dow commending the bands and torturing us with a hellish waiting game.

J: GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! The suspense man!!! The fucking suspense! Quick, distract me Klown! Do one of your stupid gimmicks!

C: What gimmick?! The Klown doesn’t do gimmicks. He does art and entertainment, you plebeian! Those judges though… masters of suspense, man. Those precious minutes that they claimed that they were going to take…

J: YOU MEAN HOURS! Oh my god! Is it me or was it hotter than our shitty shit shack on a hot summer day??! I…I…I couldn’t take it anymore…Till Dow, Marks and O’Brady took pity on this distressed and sweaty soul. Before anything though, Dow once again reiterated how difficult it was to make a decision and how there were no losers that night. Marks stepped up to the mic too with a pained expression as he gave a heartfelt praise to all the bands that played that night and a big thank you. And when Dow resumed MC duties, at last, the moment we had been waiting for. The winner of this 2nd and final round here in San Diego was announced. They unveiled which band was moving on to THE final round on April 28 at the legendary Viper Room in LA, and who was going to have a chance to go to the heavy metal mecca known as Wacken and be SoCal’s morning star….

C: Holy fuck… you done? The moment of truth came and spoils to the victor. Although the Klown has got to say, he’s glad that somethings were kept in mind and that perseverance was truly a factor. But Ugh Metal was happy to see Monarch as the round two winner for the Wackenopenairbattleofthebands… *takes breath* rroooouuunndd… ttwwwoooo!

Congrats to Monarch! Now “Go Forth And Slaughter!”

J: I wanted to announce our underdog victors too, ya ass! Dammit, oh well. When they announced Monarch the Brick roared with joy and applause and next thing we knew, fans guided one man wonder/guitarist Casey Trask up to the stage who was clearly shocked to say the least and disoriented. I even told him “You won!” as he briefly paused by the steps next to me and he gave me the most lost expression and asked me “I won?” and I said “YES!” Oh the excitement!! Trask hesitantly walked on the stage and looked towards the judges who were waiting for him and the rest of the band. I think I saw the buffering bar hover above his head.

C: Either that or an excuse to avoid talking to you again. But yes, Trask had a look of pure disbelief even as he walked up on the stage. Eventually the rest of his band mates joined him and everyone who stuck around gave them a round of applause and cheered. The Klown still thought it was funny that right before the change of expression, Trask didn’t fully register the victory.

J:  Congratulations to Monarch! And we raise our horns to the amazing bands that competed in this battle. We are so damn lucky to have so many diamonds in the rough, and who ever said San Diego does not have a scene is sorely mistaken and sad. Special thanks to the incredible judges and Eric Dow for vouching for our city and making these rounds happens here, we love you long time! We will put a ring on our metal scene. On to the next and final battle! And may the best band win!!!

Behold! The winners of Wacken Battle Metal Round 2! MONARCH!!!
(L to R: Bassist Alex Pickard, vocalist/ guitarist Matt Smith, drummer Adam West and guitarist Casey Trask)

Norma Jean Gives The Soda Bar A ‘Reedemer’

Hold on to your hats! Shit got crazy at the sold out Norma Jean show last month!

On March 10, we felt young again once we walked through Soda Bar’s entrance. We felt like we were taking a break from the madness of 2018 and stepped back to a simpler time like 2006.  It was a time where MySpace reigned supreme and when our angsty selves were cladded in studded everything. In 2018, we are older, sweatier, and angstier,have slightly improved our fashion sense and we were headed to the sold out Norma Jean show! Together we celebrated the 12th anniversary of their 2006 breakthrough Redeemer and what a night!

Starting off the night were metallers Greyhaven who were anything but gray. The quartet shined and stirred the venue with their rich fusion of prog and mathcore swag and performed mostly from their latest album Empty Black. They warmed us up and got our blood flowing in this rainy day with the impetuous “Mortality Rate” which is sure to hook any casual listener and fan alike. Did I also mention that we finally discovered who let the dogs out? Sneaky Greyhaven did! “10 Dogs…” to be exact. Oh, never mind they are not the culprits but their song “10 Dogs- Red Heaven” was another song that grabbed our attention much like a cuddly canine would. 

Brent Mills of Greyhaven ready to kick our asses.. by getting us in the feels.

Greyhaven wasn’t done winning over the crowd and let loose their hit “Echoes and Dust Pt.1” which was bubbling with an extra dosage of subtle pain we couldn’t help but drift to because we can save it and make its pain go away! The quartet kept things fresh and belted out “Blemish” which has more of that mathcore riff goodness from Nick Spencer. The band ended their set with that tamer “Echo and Dust Pt.II.” Brent Mills purged out pure and raw emotion which was made stronger with every erratic song and cut deeper with every note Spencer, bassist Johnny Muench and drummer Ethan Spray delivered. Greyhaven will leave you in awe and wonder and will have you asking yourself, where have they been your whole lives?!    

Greyhaven hit the spot and were the perfect openers but if you thought this rainy night was gonna cool us down, you are wrong! The quintet from New Jersey known as Toothgrinder bit deep and hard, and next thing we knew, the catchy riffs in the beginning of “The Shadow” filled the dimly lit interior. Toothgrinder set in the mood with the “Phantom Armour” and Justin Matthews showcased more of his clean vocals in the haunting “Facing East From A Western Shore.” 

Toothgrinder gave us a much needed dosage of mathcore

We cruised on an unforgettable voyage with “Let It Ride” which had traces of that suave stoner rock influence. Their night ended the supernova called “Blue” which is also how we were feeling when it was their time to go. Toothgrinder gave the packed venue a show and performance they wouldn’t forget. The band’s intensity pulsed through the every body and corner with every passionate growl and thrust and Matthews delivered into every verse. What a treat!    

Now don’t let the band name of the co-headliners fool you. Christian heavy metallers Gideon not only showed ignorant swine like ourselves how hard they can throw down but also reminded us that we shouldn’t let the name fool ya. Sure Gideon they may sound tame just like the quiet but friendly IT guy at your job and because of that you think you’re gonna chill out with us old folk but nope! Gideon is teeming with so much energy, vigor and attitude…gahhh!

Gideon don’t fuck around!

As soon as Tyler Riley strummed the first strings to “Cursed,” the entire area surrounding the stage came alive, godspeed. No pun intended. Things got more cray when the faster paced and super empowering “Survive” and “Freedom” was played… oh who am I kidding? The whole fucking set was a sweaty and beer soaked pit-tastic fest we couldn’t get enough of! Yes I have a the biggest shit eating grin as I am typing this.

Not one person was left unturned because the crowded venue became a mega pit once the quintet took began their set. When vocalist Daniel McWhorter screamed in to the mic “I want to see a fucking pit!” not only made us ignoramuses giggle because Christians curse too but because we knew we were gonna get slammed by the human rogue wave. BRING IT! Gideon wasn’t gonna leave quietly and poked the pit with “Bad Blood” and triumphantly concluded with “Champions.” Gideon wasn’t like anything we were anticipating and holy shit, you will believe!

Daniel Whorter of Gideon poking the rabid pit

Now it was time for the men, the myth, the Redeemer, the Norma Jean! Vocalist Cory Brandan was taken aback to see the crowd go nuts and acknowledged that this was their first show in California and in San Diego in a little over a decade and that “we clearly don’t come to California enough.” Brandan said as he scanned the dense crowd with bewilderment. Norma Jean unleashed “A Temperamental Widow,” and the volatile “The End Of All Things Will Be Televised” and they treated us to the catchy and unmistakable classic “Songs Sound Much Sadder.”

Brandan not only tore the Soda Bar apart, but also revealed pieces of his core and shared a lot of personal anecdotes behind the meaning of some of the songs such as “Cemetery Like A Stage.” “Cemetery…” was about the vocalist’s dad’s untimely death which was caused by a drunk driver when he was just a child and the aftermath of his father’s death. Brandan also revealed how their hit “ A Small Spark Vs. A Great Forest” was about the depression he dealt with after his divorce, and “Amnesty Please” is about forgiveness and how it is a state of mind that “even though you don’t agree or like what that person did to you, you forgive them.” Shit got real.

Vocalist Cory Brandan of Norma Jean got deep.

Norma Jean didn’t just get deep and made us cry a little and empowered us through the frontman’s personal tales, they delivered more classics from Redeemer such as “Blueprints For Future Homes” among more tracks from the breakthrough album. The band capped off their epic and sold out show by taking us way back to 2002’s Bless The Martyr And Kiss The Child titled “Memphis Will Be Laid to Waste.” We were blessed to be part of that ceremonious mess. We felt young, alive and ansgty, and hoping for more Norma Jean in the future.

Septicflesh And Dark Funeral Sell Out their Black Mass Orchestra

Septicflesh gave us a hell of show on this sold out stop.
(L to R: Vocalist/bassist Spiros “Seth Siro Anton” Antoniou and guitarist Christos Antoniou)

Although it is not much of a confession, assuming you keep up with us, Septicflesh is an Ugh Metal favorite. Another favorite of ours is Swedish black metal greats, Dark Funeral. Both of these band’s albums received the Ugh Metal album of the year spots from the Klown’s sis and the Klown himself last year and the year prior, respectively. Septicflesh and Dark Funeral teamed up for a show of epic proportions at Ugh Metal’s stomping ground, the Brick by Brick who were granted the honor of hosting the two on February 23.

The first to take up the stage were the local boys in Sergulath. Sergulath should come to no surprise to you all, they’ve been featured once before here after all. Although the Klown and his moody sister missed out on what may have been the majority of their set, because of the line that the show garnered, the Klown was cold as hell but listened to what permeated through the walls and it sounded pretty good. When the Klown finally got inside, he had the pleasure of indulging on two and a half songs.

Brothers David (on the left) and Daniel Correa (on the right) of Sergulath conjured up an insane reception.

The Klown heard the sounds of the brothers Daniel Correa’s guitar and David Correa’s keys blending together to make a mix of folkish undertones and thrash.The band really had the party going and spectators were treated to an over enthused band but not as much as frontman/guitarist Daniel. Aside from being overly grateful by the reception and chosen to open, Correa continued to hype everyone and even made time to dedicate the final song, “Death Attack,” to a friend and birthday boy  of his named Matt. The night ended with an animated Correa thanking all of those who made it through the door to catch them on time, and announced their next show in the summer.

After the locals departed the stage, the local Vikings in Helsott took the stage and began to conquer the swelling masses. If you have been keeping up with Ugh Metal from the start, Helsott is one of the names that has been quite synonymous with the site. In fact, Ugh Metal has partaking in a few conquests with them. That night, Ugh Metal saw a new chapter in their saga and introduced two new faces and the return of a familiar one. The Klown is speaking of Sicocis’s riff masters Rafael Ortega and Ernie Rodrigues filling in from Sin City and the return of bassist Mikey Muller.

The mighty Helsott making that stage their bitch!
(L to R: Guitarist Rafael Ortega ,frontman Eric Dow ,guitarist Ernie Rodrigues)

The band kicked off the night with the performance of the totle track from their EP “The Healer.” When the big man, Eric Dow, took his breather, he did what he does best, he hyped up everyone. Dow whole-hearted thanked everyone and then announced the departure of Dave Walston which would lead to Dow formally introducing the Sicocis shredders and reintroducing Muller. The band also took it back to their 2012 Folkvangr EP, announced that they would perform it in its entirety and began with “Folkvangr.” As things were picking up, the biggest let down was that the rest of their set was cut short.

The band expressed disappointment, as anyone would expect given an abrupt finish. The public, however, expressed more of a backlash and collectively shouted “let them play!” Helsott, as usual did a great job getting the blood flowing albeit an abrupt and shortened set. For those who have yet to see Helsott live and fancy themselves pagan metal fans, they are a must! Regarding Walston’s departure, the Klown wishes him the best and hopes that there isn’t a wedge between him and the band.

As Helsott cleared the stage, rising Colombian black metal band known as Thy Antichrist were ready to takeover and continued to have the crowd’s blood pumping. As the rest of the band kicked off the set with a guitar solo instrumental, the Klown even spotted his sibling’s emotional support goat, or so he thought. As the cloaked goat headed figure made its way to the stage, frontman Andrés “Thy Antichrist 666” Vargas revealed himself from under the cloak and detaching the goat’s head off of him as he settled himself center stage. Right from that moment, the Klown knew that he and the rest in attendance were in for a treat. Once that cloak was gone Vargas meant business.

Jenny Oh’s emotional support goat joined Andrés “Thy Antichrist 666” Vargas of Thy Antichrist on stage.

If his otherworldly appearance didn’t speak enough volumes then his voice did so on a literal sense. Ever the present symbolism, Vargas wouldn’t just simply flash our beloved coat of arms, the horns but he would do so repeatedly while gripping the microphone, and when taking a bow. Vargas may have been the star attraction through theatrics and appearances, but the Klown would be remise to not talk about the rest of the band who did a fantastic job providing the soundtrack.

Lead guitarist of the trope, Robert “Abyssvs” Coronado was doing as much action as Vargas especially when Chris “Oricuss” Stropoli chimed with his powerful, speedy drumming for the performance of “The Great Beast.” The song also happened to come from their latest album Wrath of the Beast which was released that same day! The band dialed is back by a decade by performing “Destroying the Myth” from their 2008 Human Pandemonium split album with fellow Colombian black metal band, Infernal. The performance was great and if you haven’t seen Thy Antichrist live, the Klown definitely recommends that you should. If the performance didn’t get you in the pit then Vargas’s appearance and performance will and it will definitely leave a lasting impression.

Vargas and guitarist Robert “Abyssvs” Coronado made sure there was never a dull moment.

Although Thy Antichrist birthed the night’s black metal atmosphere, we began to prepare for a funeral after their set was finished. In this case, the funeral came in the form of black metal greats Dark Funeral. As the band settled themselves in the stage during the darkness, Janne “Jaloomah” Jaloma’s clashing cymbals opened and set the tone as the ever-authoritative Mikael “Lord Ahriman” Svanberg began the unmistakable opening riffs of “Unchain My Soul” which was accompanied by Andreas “Heljarmadr” Vingbäck spoken word’s monologue which transitioned to a screech right after. Even though Lord Ahriman experienced technical difficulties, he continued on and didn’t miss a chord like a boss.

Mikael “Lord Ahriman” Svanberg didn’t let any little tech difficulties stop him! \m/

The collective took it old school by revisiting 1996’s The Secret of the Black Arts Debut, 2001’s Diabolus Interium, and even revisited 1998 with the title track of their Vobiscum Satanas album. The night also saw Heljarmadr really interact with fans, showing the crowd that he’s not one bit shy. The pale faced front man crouched towards clamoring fans near the stage and sang in their faces like a dark serenade, and would reach his hands over for some literal hands-on interactions. Our Lord, with his mastery of the guitar and facial gestures followed along and had us all, including yours truly, enamored by his stage presence.

Heljarmadr of Dark Funeral…need I really say more!?

The same can be said about secondary guitarist Bo “Chaq Mol” Karlsson and bassist Fredrik Isaksson. As their set was coming to a close, the band briefly teased all. The Klown even thought it was over as they cleared the stage and the house lights came on briefly. After a much-needed breather, Dark Funeral came out with their encore set which began with the Easter classic “Nail Them to the Cross.” As the set officially closed, the band definitely made their presence known and delivered. The Klown had never seen them before and finally had the chance and can say with conviction that they were nowhere near disappointing. In fact, if you’ve never seen them yourself, they are definitely a band you don’t want to skip, whether or not you’re trve.

Frontman Andreas “Heljarmadr” Vingbäck and guitarist Mikael “Lord Ahriman” Svanberg of Dark Funeral..that’s all I’m gonna say.

As Dark Funeral cleared the way, the stage was set for a symphony. Unlike most symphonies, the Greek greats in Septicflesh do it differently. Yes, the Klown is aware that they don’t exactly sound like Hans Zimmer or John Williams, smart ass reader but the premise is there. As true masters of the craft, the anticipation built greatly as the dramatic playback sample permeated the Brick. One by one, drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner, guitarist Christos Antoniou, and Sotiris Vayenas took the stage.

As they took their places, the man with the greatest hair to ever bestow the Brick, stood front and center and indulged us with his powerful vocals and bass strums. The Klown is of course talking about the mastermind Spiros “Seth Siro Anton” Antoniou. Maestro Antoniou opened this dark symphony with a song from the new album and took us back 2011’s The Great Mass. The band unleashed “The Vampire from Nazarene” in to the darkness that was literally created and later had us bow down to the “Pyramid God” during which the maestro demanded that the crowd show him destruction inside the Brick by Brick.

The Brick By Brick bowed down to Spiros “Seth Siro Anton” Antoniou of Septic Flesh

The night also took us back 5 years back to the Titan album with “Prototype.” The maestro’s concerto didn’t halt just there, as he would back track to some of their contemporary pieces as well as some other well-known classics. One such masterpiece was the Klown’s favorite, from their 2008 album with the same name, “Communion.” When the maestro began to introduce the great “Communion,” he commanded we all engage with the song’s chorus, every time it played. The maestro even participated in example to show us all how it gets done.

The night bolstered a powerful presence as well the powerful sounds that the band could offer. Although Septicflesh experienced technical difficulties, the band pulled through and proved why they’re at the top of the game. The Greek collective’s armada not only was a great one but also kept the sold-out crowd tamed thoroughly. The Klown had always wanted to see both Dark Funeral and Septicflesh they didn’t disappoint one bit.

Spiros “Seth Siro Anton” tore our faces apart in this symphony of destruction.

Pissed Regardless Unleash The ‘Birds’

Matthew Gerkin of Pissed Regardless was more fierce than Hitchcock’s Birds!

What better way to jump back on the concert saddle than going to a hardcore punk show because we are totally hardcore too! Don’t even try to dispute that, our Gam Gam said so and she don’t mess around! But this article is not an ode to us but an ode to the lineup of local bands near and not so near that added a much needed dosage of grit and sweat to our Friday night. We all joined local punkers Pissed Regardless at the Soda Bar on Feb.9 to celebrate the release of their latest EP Feed The Birds. Before these fierce five got up on that stage, an array of badass bands tore a new one on that stage.

We dove head first into the hardcore grooves of Surface Report which also happened to be their first time playing at the Soda Bar. The quartet performed mostly from their 2017 album Stand By… and let me just say  we all did anything but stand by! These hardcore mofos laid out the first track “One At A Time” which has calculated and paced riffs a la Gojira, yes that damn great! If you are craving the eclecticism of Dillinger Escape Plan, “Quid Pro Quo” will hit the spot. If you’re not feeling any of those bands, no problem because these hardcore gents had more of their own unique brand. 

This may have been Surface Report’s first time at the Soda Bar but they sure knew what they were doing 😉

Surface Report may have started things out with those two killer songs, but once we hit mid set, the quartet enlisted their unpredictable “Lackey” and “Constellations” among others. The karate kids in the venue were bouncing around with enthusiasm recharging their strength but bid their time to bust out their moves. By the time Surface Report wrapped up their set with “Sidelines,” we were shook with a riveting energy and hunger for more. If you wannabe shook too, dive deep and check out their bandcamp here! 

The Soda Bar was rumbling for more of that hardcore stuff, stuff more hardcore than a soda and Mentos cocktail, Burn Infinite sedated our shakes with their grit and started with the explosive duo “Boiling Point” and “InVein.” The quartet showed SD how they throw down with the unmerciful “Wrath Of The Gods,” stirring the karate kids in the venue and churned our butter..wait..you know what I mean, ya nasty bois and gurls! Taylor Stevens’ thick vocals fueled the rage and intensity of each track they belted out to the masses.

Taylor Stevens of Burn Infinite was not afraid to get up on our grill! That’s what the kids are saying right?

If you think that’s all I have to say about Burn Infinite, well think again! These guys were not done there and had one more final wave of face melting goodness to dish out because it wouldn’t be a hardcore show if they hadn’t. Stevens even joined the pit while as they capped off their set with the vicious “En Fury” and cast their swift and final “Judgement.” If you haven’t seen these guys, well damn you are missing out my friend because you don’t mess with Burn Infinite! Because not only will they light the fire under your ass but they will most likely melt it too. Time to separate the mice from the (wo)men, check out their Bandcamp if ya gots the guts!

National City natives, Nerve Control, revived the ember Burn Infinite left behind and doused it with more raw and hardcore kerosene when they took over the stage. These guys unloaded an unprecedented energy that will make you wet yourself with sweat and other bodily fluids your body decides to secrete.  Needless to say Nerve Control gave everyone a major nerve to stir that pit up! The band continued to send us on an ultimate overdrive with their passionate performance and their intense tracks.  

Nerve Control’s Elton losing his nerve.

Vocalist Elton would hunch over and conceal his face while he gathered all the energy around him before unleashing it in to a sonic boom! Nerve Control broke the time and space continuum and next thing we knew, it was their time to go. That’s right, and just like that they were dunso! Man… Nerve Control will not leave you blue balling but they will leave you wanting more, and because more is better, see what I mean and check out their Bandcamp here.

Keeping the theme of short fuses alive and well were Short Temper and I mean the band, I’m not talking about the Ugh Metal staff’s issues. The quartet suckered punched us with “Dug Your Grave” from their split with fellow badasses Forged and kept it going with “I Don’t Need” before jumping right into “Cut Off.” The crowd was more flared up than that California reaper pepper you are definitely not going to eat!

Short Temper brought more grit and glory to this Friday night.

Short Temper was raging so damn hard, they had minor technical difficulties. While they were trying to get the problem fixed, bassist Devlin told a nice little hippo joke which I will totally adopt if I remember it and pass it off as my own. Once they were up and running and gave us a set we will never forget, the band teased the crowd with their last song “Secrets (Slapshots)” by starting off this badass song with Disturbed’s David Draiman’s signature “ouchie” cry, you know that “Uh-ah-ah-ah-ah!” Those stinkers! Ok tough guys and gals you think you can handle Short Temper?! Well check out their Bandcamp here if you dare! Short Temper kept the frenzy going till we were  all…

Pissed Regardless… Oh I mean the killer band, not us! Because our happy asses were having a great time! These locals wasted no time and went in for the kill and were ready to feed us their latest EP, Feed The Birds. The quintet started with their classic “Not So Swift” which is off of their 2013 debut self titled EP. Pissed Regardless immediately sprinkled a new song “No Reprieve” to follow it and it’s so damn great and empowering it’ll make you “drop dead!” *raises fists*     

We were far from pissed when Pissed Regardless took over the stage.

Now this special release party wouldn’t be completely okay or alright if Pissed Regardless didn’t unleash the vicious flock on us and “Feed The Birds.”  These exuberant dudes kept the flock going with the ultra frisky “Empty” and the irresistible “Lipstick On A Pig.” PR’s flamin’ hot set didn’t stop there! They continued their badassery streak by adding more classics into their set such as our beloved “Shit Sack” and “Taking It Easy” ‘cause it was Friday night man!

If you were looking for a quiet walk in the metaphorical park on this Friday night, you came to the right place because Pissed Regardless and their hardcore squad delivered a release show you will  never forget! Oh wait that doesn’t make much sense does it? Well I know what I said! And there was lots o’ good booze and merch too! Which I think tops a quiet stroll in the park because did I mention it was a Friday night?! It was a great way to start our year and left us feeling far from pissed. If you wanna get a feeling of how brutal these Birds were, then check out what the Klown thought of this EP here and get your copy here!

Pissed Regardless spared no one from their ravenous beaks and tunes… ok they don’t have beaks… that we know of…

Huntress Leads A Festive Metal Assault

Forget about hiring a sad party clown like Chuggo and get yourself Huntress for you next birthday bash!
(L to R: Guitarist Eli Santana, bassist Eric Harris, and vocalist Jill Janus)

The night of October 26 was somewhat eventful and also capped off Ugh Metal’s busy month. The night before, the overlord and founder of LA based metal site Metal Assault, Andrew Bansal celebrated his birthday back in his city’s home base. Bansal was a bro and decided that a one-and-done shindig was simply not enough and decided to extend his birthday festivities into the Brick By Brick with Huntress. Talk about better to give than to receive, eh? So on that note, the night bolstered a great lineup that attracted any metalhead.

The night kicked off with a band that Ugh Metal has seen once before back in the summer, the metal upstart Meltdown. The Klown felt pretty stoked to see these paisas from Tijuana once again. Much like the last time, they delivered a solid opening for the night’s festivities. Even their warm-ups are awesome as hell, it even fooled The Klown into thinking the show was officially in full gear…again, till he caught.

Vocalist Ian Roa and bassist Daniel Cázares of Meltdown taking everyone above and beyond in Andrew Bansal’s birthday bash.

The Klown likes to assume that that’s a good way to market yourself in case you’re shy or if you have curious attendees wondering what the band is selling. The collective began strongly and immediately emphasized the spirit of the old school heavy metal that are synonymous with the likes of the legendary Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Accept.

One of the songs that the collective treated us in the beginning was “The Final Chapter.” The frontman/guitarist Ian “El Pelosauve” Roa tapped into his inner Niklas Isfeldt of Dream Evil for some grandiose high power metal vocals. Although this time Roa didn’t have to endure technical difficulties and do a quick stand up routine, he still did his job as a frontman. Roa hyped the present crowd, invited them to get near the stage for a closer look, and was thankful to the early birds. The appreciation fest would not end there.

Roa gave a quick shout out to the birthday man, himself. He called Bansal up and performed a modified version of “Las Mañanitas” as he walked towards the stage to give his thanks, greetings, and acknowledgement to all. The band continued the festivities with “Kill The Night” and featured some pretty bitchin’ guitar licks, and sweet drumming from Alfredo “El Peligroso” Acuña.

Ian Roa is just helping his buddy tune his guitar 😀

The night finished with “The Living Dead” where Roa really stood out, ran around like a madman on stage, and was very interactive with everyone. Hell, the Klown even got in on that action when Roa hijacked Acuña’s high hat and ran around with a drumstick to make sure that everyone, including yours truly, hit it before their time was up.

After Meltdown cooled off, Malison took the stage to resume this jamboree. Malison should be familiar with y’all if you keep up with Ugh Metal. Aside from the name being tossed around a couple times prior, this would mark their second appearance in Ugh Metal. The trio from Oceanside became a quartet for that night’s festivities.

Malison charging the night some more!
(L to R: Guitarist Mario Lovio, bassist/vocalist Steven Rondina and guest guitarist Danny Fang)

Unlike last time, however, the band took in the services of Nightshadow’s Danny Fang as an additional guitarist to add some extra twang into the mix. The locals kicked off their performance with “Seeker” which featured Mario Lovio and Fang’s guitar skills. The collective also premiered songs that were new to most attendees and shared classic songs with their loyal supporters.

From their batch of hits were “Death Crawlers” and “Nightmare: Pursuit” which do justice to the power metal genre, and have a bit of a signature twist from Malison. “Beyond The Sun” is still great to hear especially because it was upbeat, and highlighted Steven Rodina’s vocals and bass.

Go Steven Go!

Speaking of Rodina, he’d keep the crowd riled up and controlled through his charisma, jokes and humility. Much like Meltdown, he extended his gratitude and wished Bansal a happy birthday. The band closed out with their theme song “Malison” which featured Lovio’s multiple solos and tradeoffs with Fang. Malison, just like last time, stood and delivered strongly and left fans satisfied, and gained more followers that night.

As the locals vacated the stage, the all female quartet from across the pond took the stage. “What are you talking about Klown?” He is talking about JOANovARC, plebian! Just like the historical figure that they named themselves after, they came and conquered. It is worth noting that this was their first time in the U.S. and had a mini tour. The best part of that deal is that we, as in those who went AND the Klown, were fortunate to be present for it.

Bow down to JOANovARC!
(L to R: Rhythm guitarist/vocalist Laura Ozholl, vocalist/bassist Sam Walker, and lead guitarist/backing vocals Shelley Walker )

San Diego also happened to be the final stop of their tour. With all that to digest, the hard rock group began their siege and broke in the crowd with some songs from their 2016 debut LP (Ride Of Your Life) such as “This Way.” During this performance, Lead vocalist/bassist Sam Walker, and rhythm guitarist/vox Laura Ozholl released their voices to the masses.

It would be a disservice if the Klown didn’t talk about lead guitarist/backup-vox Shelley Walker. This woman was a spectacle because she wasn’t simply rocking out and dishing out guitar solos, the guitarist got the crowd moving by engaging them. In fact, some audience members that began to trickle in caught a glimpse of Shelley doing her thing and she would introduced the band to fans that were fashionably late. They also treated us to a feel good anthem called “Seeds Of Summer.” This was perfect because most times in San Diego we don’t even know when summer officially ends.

Shelley Walker of JOANovARC kicking ass and being outstandingly awesome!

The collective busted out a new song that night but, unfortunately, yours truly didn’t get the name of it. Still was catchy as hell though and featured all the stringed women singing together making their hard rock song into a harmonic and melodic one. The quartet dedicated “Girls Wanna Rock” to the other ladies that were present and also treated everyone to their catchy ode to the land of the rising sun with “Say Sayonara.”

JOANovARC were quite the display and even though they’re not “metal” enough for the elitists and staunch, they provided a nice change of pace you didn’t know you wanted. In fact, most peeps that saw these women present had a smile on their face like the drummer Debbie Wildish.

Deborah Wildish, badass drummer by night and Colgate poster child by day!

As mother England’s hidden gem cleared, the stage was being set for the hunt. A face that Ugh Metal and San Diego is familiar with, Eli Santana, stepped out alongside the other members of Huntress and began to shred away. As guitarist Blake Meahl and Santana shredded, the femme fatale known as Jill Janus came out and graced everyone with her presence before letting out some powerful alto-soprano vocals for the start of “Sorrow.”

Things picked up some more when Huntress dished out their first hits from their 2012 debut studio album “Spell Eater.” Janus even ditched her fancy jacket to show how serious she was about the enchanting us.

Jill Janus of Huntress is fierce! Werk it gurl!

The night got better when Janus took a breather and announced that they would be playing a new song from an upcoming album that they’ve been working on. On that note, the band performed the ironically titled “Oh I Know It’s Bad” which can be described as a throwback to the old hard rock sounds and compositions popularized by ZZ Top and Heart.

A bit after, Janus once again took a breather and introduced a song with an anecdote and the history behind it. For those who didn’t know or weren’t aware “I Want To Fuck You To Death” was written and gifted to Janus by our patron saint of metal, Lemmy Kilmister upon a meeting that they had years back. We all enjoyed the song so much that even the birthday man graced us all at the pit and joined in the festivities. Why not? It was his shindig, damn it!

Jill Janus of Huntress raised some hell and was summoning very epic birthday wishes of the metal kind!

Before performing the rest of the set, Janus and company took the time to thank everyone and gave Bansal some birthday wishes. For those who don’t keep up with Metal Assault, Janus and Bansal have a long standing friendship so the Grand Poobah of Metal Assault wasn’t just going to get a simple “happy birthday.”  No sir, Bansal was summoned to the stage, was serenaded a metal version of “Happy Birthday,” was given a shot of some good stuff as Janus stood in front of him to cheer and shimmy, and wished him a happy birthday before pecking him on the cheek.

Huntress give the man of the hour and Metal Assault overlord, Andrew Bansal, a happy birthday wish he won’t forget!
(L to R” Guitarist Eli Santana, vocalist Jill Janus, Metal Assault overlord/birthday boy Andrew Bansal, and bassist Eric Harris )

After the Maharaja of Metal Assault departed, Huntress took it back to their debut album again by performing “Children.” Huntress capped off their performance with their most recognizable hit from the same album, “Eight Of Swords” in which Janus mesmerized everyone with her siren like screams as well as her appearance. Much like some of the songs before this one, Janus would have her signature golden blonde hair flowing like a witch harnessing some power before unleashing it to hex someone.

She put a spell on us!

After the “Eight Of Swords” was performed, the Klown witnessed an ending he’s not accustomed to seeing. Janus ordered Santana, Meahl and bassist Eric Harris to drop to the floor and give her 20 push-ups! Janus added that it should be known that “Huntress is a tough mistress and needs to keep her men in shape.” Huntress’s skinman Tyler Meahl left his kit and stage and ignored Janus’s order which she simply quipped with “Uh-oh looks like someone needs a spanking!” We all laughed, as did she and thanked us once more before taking off altogether.

Huntress 4 eva! 
(L to R: Guitarist Eli Santana, vocalist Jill Janus, bassist Eric Harris and guitarist Blake Meahl)

Avatar Bring the Freak Show to San Diego

Avatar showed us how they do a freak show in Avatar Country!
(L to R: Bassist Henrik Sanderlin, drummer John Alfredsson, vocalist/ the Klown’s compadre Johannes Eckerström and guitarist Tim Öhrström)

The Ugh Metal hooligans wore their Sunday best and headed over to the carnival or should I say the freak show! For once, the divalicious duo known as Jenny Oh and the Klown were not the stars of this particular freak show but they were still giddy. Oh, you didn’t know about this spectacle? Why it was on Oct.22 at the Brick By Brick! Still not ringing a bell? Well let me enlighten you ladies and germs!

This circus was no ordinary circus and it became a reunion of a sort because it was a show in which the Klown’s former clown college buddy headlined. That’s right the Klown got to see his buddy’s budding project and his band’s name shine brightly on the marquee. You probably haven’t heard of them but they go by the name of Avatar 😉 But before the hooligans could be wowed by the eccentric quintet, their excitement was set on “Overdrive” by their local heavy metal heroes.

Jenny Oh: Man! It’s been a good year to be us! PSYCHE! It’s always great to be us especially when we get to see other First Impressions alumni in action. We were not the only gruesome twosome in da haus!

Chuggo the Klown: Minus the gruesome part, it was Tzimani. The Klown shall take his nose off for the brotherly duo. Why? Before you start prying the rhetorical question, they stepped up big time when they were called in. They surprised us all when vocalist/guitarist Eddie Vazquez announced that they were the only other band on the bill. It was their best time to shine. Kudos to you Vazquez brothers!

First Impressions alumni/hometown heroes Tzimani stepped up to the place and putour excitement on “Overdrive”
(L to R: Drummer Sebastian Vazquez and guitarist/frontman Eddie Vazquez)

J: Tzimani set up shop, and made that stage their biatch! Soon enough they began playing songs that were not included in their demo such as “Overdrive,” and dished out their hits “Final Hour” and “Get Me Out Of Here” which are available in their demo. These bros emitted a tremendous confidence and were still glowing from their recent inaugural American tour.

C: Right you are disgruntled one. “We Are The One” and “Endless Road” were among the new batch of songs that the Klown had the pleasure of hearing for the first time. The Klown was even surrounded by people who had never heard of this duo and talked about them right after.

“Get Me Out Of Here” said no one during Tzimani’s set!

J: Why would I be disgruntled especially after watching Tzimani?! While Eddie stirred our hearts and limbs with his vocals and riffs, drummer Sebastian Vazquez fed this vigorous set with more life causing everyone’s energy level to be on maximum “Overdrive”! *looks into non-existent camera and winks* You get it?!

Sebastian Vazquez of Tzimani charged us with tons of energy, we were more energetic than the San Onofre boobies!

(cont.): Anyway, Eddie and Sebastian turned the pit into a mini dance floor. That’s right everyone, not one metalhead was spared from the dancing bug when Tzimani was on that stage. Tzimani’s mind blowing and intoxicating performance may have ripped the fabric of time, and space, and ended too soon, but alas these gentlemen made way for your Swedish compadre’s band.

Eddie Vazquez of Tzimani giving us one last shout for their last hoorah.

C: Yeah, their performance was solid. Once again, it was great that those guys filled in when they were called up! But now the Klown must talk about a fellow clown, and the Klown’s former college roommate who happens to have a band now.

J: Good to see he kept the spirit of the circus alive by playing a lot of Swedish nursery rhymes, and old timey music IN SWEDISH! What more could we want?!

C: Well… for one a phone call. We could have pregamed before the show. The Klown and Johannes Eckerström could have had a proper reunion of the Lambda Omicron Lambda house! Two… well, the Klown can’t really think of another thing to ask for.

The Klown’s old college buddy, Johannes Eckerström and his unknown band called Avatar came to town. You heard of em?

J: Johannes is off to bigger and better things, he don’t wanna hang with you no more! After we all warmed ourselves up with these fun lil tunes, Avatar went in for the kill and started with “Hail The Apocalypse.” I was not expecting our favorite freaks to drop this hit so soon into the set. But no complaints here!

C: Up yours! Johannes and the Klown are good friends and were great frat brothers! L.O.L. fun as hell! Oh… the Klown now gets the frat motto. In these troubled times of political turmoil, Johannes offered us citizenship to Avatar Country for those worthy enough. Of course the Klown’s history will make him a first priority for Avatar Country. Luckily the requirement for this application was to join Johannes with their national anthem, “New Land.”

Our fashionable Avatar Country spirit guide.

J: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY ‘MERICANISM! I have a feeling that my citizenship will not be too  far beyond this new day and you bet I will be singing this “New Land” at the top of my lungs loudly and proudly while I start anew in Avatar Country! I shall pick a villa where “The Eagle Has Landed” and sing this popular hit too. But the ever so generous Avatar didn’t just belt out their current hits, they blasted us to the past, and unleashed more classics!

C: Either way Johannes knew the Klown well and sang one of his favorite songs, “Bloody Angel.” But the one thing that happened that totally emphasized the fun loving clown in the frat house was his love of dancing and insisted that everyone join him for the surf rock anthem “Tooth, Beak and Claw.” “Dance, San Diego, Dance!” he yelled out and man did he get what he wanted.

How could we say no to that face?

J: We were all part of a 60’s beach montage soon enough! But we were no match for Johannes in this dance contest. Avatar added a hint of darkness to this fun fest and took us out to the “Black Waltz” and also performed “Paint Me Red.” MORE CLASSICS PLS!

C: The Klown doesn’t want to admit this but Johannes honored the clownhood better than the Klown and the U.S. Prez. He donned Pagliachi’s famous garbs and made the Klown feel… feelings with “Fiddler’s Farewell.”

Johannes channelling his inner Pagliachi…no YOU are crying!

J: We were a glass case of emotions! That Pagliachi costume was MUAH! Perfection! With this outfit, Johannes managed to add a subtle touch of lightheartedness to this heartbreaking anthem. Not that he needed extra outfits, and bells and other fancy stuff to enhance his performance. Your compadre also added a lot of heart in to the “Snow Lies Red.” “I will remember you, San Diego.” He said when he finished performing this song. *Swoons* Isn’t he dreamy?

C: Of course, he would. One thing that should go without saying is when the band took a breather. The Klown’s brochacho acknowledged Ugh Metal’s city by stating that when the presales were taking place, the band was being persuaded to cancel because they had only sold 17 tickets prior to the day.

NO BOOING!

(cont.): Of course, some booed and Johannes simply halted the jeers by saying, “Why are you booing? You’re already here. There’s no point in booing when you’re already here!” He also poked fun at the fact that the show was on a Sunday night and how everyone else could be spending their time doing something else and said he would turn on some Netflix to watch Gilmore Girls.

J: I’m glad they persevered and in true San Diego fashion, the venue filled up on the day of. It is in our nature to procrastinate and to be indecisive 😉 This stop was their last headlining show till they shared the stage with In This Moment for their remaining dates. This deal was sweeter than cotton candy and tequila gummy bears combined! So with that said Avatar continued to make our blood boil with excitement with one of the most highly demanded song “For The Swarm.”

Bassist Henrik Sanderlin, vocalist/ the Klown’s compadre Johannes Eckerström, and guitarist Tim Öhrström rile up the swarm.

C: As much as the Klown has been emphasizing Johannes’s dedication to clowndom, the Klown has neglected the rest of the band who also had a huge input visually. Like the times Jonas Jarlsby kicked off some songs, did his solos or would either be face to face with Johannes, and how guitarist Tim Öhrström, bassist Henrik Sandelin and their eccentric skinsman John Alfredsson would also be playful.

J: Awww yeah! It takes a team to run a proper freak show and they did it so great especially when they all froze after finishing up a song and built the anticipation. Yes, there was plenty of giggling from our part as the quintet stood perfectly still like mannequins. Well poor Alfredsson had a mean hand cramp and discretely shook his hand as he stayed in character. Kudos to him! When these guys weren’t wowing us with their playful showmanship, they were having a lot of fun and poking fun at each other.

Ladies and gentlemen, our heroes have returned again!…Well actually they were SD virgins 😉

C: Well… it “Smells Like a Freak Show.” At least that’s what the fellow clown said before performing. The Klown became a little self-conscious regarding that because he swears he showered before going to the show. Good to know that Johannes still practices the teaching of Pennywise and busted out the red balloons. The Klown envies his piousness. The best part was when we got a little bit of the Blues that night.

The Klown is overjoyed to see his buddy Johannes Eckerström praise IT!

J: Stick ‘em up for “Black Water”! This was a showdown we were waiting for a long time son. Avatar’s show of oddities was to die for and was the hottest and most underrated show this year but their faithful legion showed up threefold that night despite of the pessimistic presale numbers.

C: It’s a great thing that that didn’t stop the band in general. In fact, we received the best news of the night. That news was that of Johannes announcing that they would be returning with more acts next time. He liked what he saw, we impressed him, and he said that we could all brag about the time we saw them before they did when they return because we’re Californians and love that hipster shit. He’s not half wrong.

This article is not all about Johannes, its about Avatar’s timeless friendship and the Klown’s delusional one.
(Guitarist Jonas Jarlsby, vocalist/the Klown’s “compadre” Johannes Eckerström and guitarist Tim Öhrström)

C (cont.):It was great seeing these guys and, as if it hasn’t been emphasized enough, this was one hell of a show. For those who pondered, you missed out on a great show. All we can do is cross our finger and look out to for the next time the freak show lands again. As for the Klown, he just wishes Johannes would have had the time to catch up a bit and is looking forwards to Avatar Country this January!

Fin

KMFDM Are Back For More

Lucia Cifarelli and Sasha Konietzko of KMFDM giving us more reasons to say “Hell Yeah”

We are still riding high on our Industrial craving and needless to say that KMFDM hit the spot. We slapped on our cyber goth masks in hopes of being cool and headed down to the San Diego House of Blues on Oct.20 for this affair. Yes KMFDM may have been the name shining brightly in the marquee but this night was filled with another legend and a big surprise!

Eager fans were waiting to throw their horns up in the air and give in to the neon lights of this bash but KMFDM threw a pleasant curve ball by having their merch man Andrew “Ocelot” Lindsley open the show with his rhymes. That’s right, expect the unexpected kids! Ocelot rapped under his crew Distorted Crown and with their booing and bitching, most attendees welcomed the performance after the “WTF” factor faded. It was a pleasant surprised and a nice change of pace.

Some audience members morphed in to insufferable children. Even during the brief booing (I’m looking at you, whining man child behind us), Lindsley carried on with his passionate performance like a true professional. Ocelot trolled the haters and asked the crowd “How many of you are pissed that you’re at a rap show?” he asked while he kept his amusement at bay.

Ocelot of Distorted Crown ignoring his haters and carrying on with the show like true G!

The rapper interwove powerful political messages and social issues we are facing today, and denounced white supremacy before kindly giving them a big “Fuck You” while raising his middle finger in the air, everyone else followed. Who knew middle fingers would be raised for a positive message? ‘Cause fuck those putos! Though Ocelot was not on the bill, it was a sobering and pleasant surprise. Loosen up people!

Once Ocelot was done stirring the pot, we got weird with OhGr. For those that are not familiar with this act let me just say that front man Kevin Ogilvie…WHOOPS! I mean Nivek Ogre, is an eccentric artist that sometimes keeps himself busy with his other little known industrial band called Skinny Puppy. Not sure if you’ve heard of it? You have?! Well we’re off to a good start then!

Ogre lets his hair down in OhGr and created a magnetic mystique about him along with his lively counterparts. This intrigue was cranked to the max with the otherworldly and contagious “maJik” not just because the song has a Lynchian vibe but also because Ogre became a mystery man. The frontman dawned a featureless mask as he performed the song before he stopped teasing our brown nosing happy asses and removed it. After the big reveal, Ogre stared out at the crowd with a seemingly stone face but anyone could see the mischief bubbling beneath the surface.

Nivek Ogre of OhGr showing his fans he’s #1

Ogre continued to give us more Lynchian trips with “Eyecandy” and even dedicated a song to the Ugh Metal fools. That’s right, Ohgr knows us and loves us so much, he sang one of many theme songs our theme song “Nitwitz.” GAHH! Okay maybe he didn’t actually dedicate it to us but if we had a soundtrack, you bet this song would be there. If our hellhounds had a personal soundtrack, they would have “Dog” in their soundtrack because we know that song would play when they are up to no good! And we HAD to have our dose of “Water” and “Devil.” YUMM!!

Ogre is a master of this artistic craft not just because of his impressive repertoire but because he knows how to reel in fans and casual viewers alike. Ogre pulls you in with his subtle interpretive dancing, his playful interactions, and his theatrical gestures. He even adopted a papier-mâché spider-stick thing a fan handed to him! No word when these two will be hitting the road to officially celebrate the papier-mâché’s addition. Anyway, for those that have not seen OhGr in action, you are missing out.

Ogre shows off their latest member!

We loosened up with OhGr and were limber enough to shake our bootys to KMFDM! The metaphorical neon carpet was rolled out for the legendary industrial band as the grandiose intro to “D.I.Y” filled the venue. The silhouettes of founder/vocalist Sascha Konietzko and vocalist Lucia Cifarelli were the shadowy beacons in the light. Together, they scanned the sea of eager fans while they stood with regality and authority. Konietzko and Cifarelli were ready to give us the long awaited sermon we’ve been aching for and commanded us to let our “Freak Flag” fly!

Did we want more KMFDM?! “Hell Yeah” we did! Did we get more?! “Hell Yeah!” And that song is exactly what we got which was just as empowering as it was in their latest record. Wut? You didn’t know they still pumped out music?! No prob, casual listeners here’s a shameless self promo and check out what we thought about it here. Because we are morbid mofos KMFDM dedicated “Glam, Glitz, Guts & Gore” while Cifarelli nursed our broken hearts with “Murder My Heart.”

Sascha Konietzko and Lucia Cifarelli of KMFDM encouraging us to let our “Freak Flags” fly!

It wouldn’t be a KMFDM show without their classics! And so they delivered “WWIII,” unloaded “Stray Bullet,” gave us “A Drug Against War,” and capped off the night strongly with “Hau Ruck.” Konietzko and Cifarelli’s switch offs were done so great. Konietzko sung every song with a contagious jurisdiction and when he wasn’t taking over vocals, he kept watch over his mixing board while combing the crowd with a cigarette in his mouth.

Cifarelli was a living magnet and could effortlessly catch anyone’s eye.  When the frontwoman wasn’t taking over with her melodic vocals and occasional growls, she was dancing and prowling and posing all over the stage. Lest we forget their touring guitarist Andee Blacksugar who was pouring all his riffy sugar on us! KMFDM are still loud and proud and are vibrant than ever. They are still an unstoppable industrial powerhouse, and will probably still be shouting their anthems even after WWIII happens and even after the Mecha-bigfoots take over.

Andee Blacksugar poured lots o’ sugar on us 😉