08.18.2001 (Saturday), 11:19 PM

"Hey Man Hey, I Wanna Pick a Fight with You"

Wait, make that: "Shellac fucking rules..."

OK, we got two hours of sleep and got up to see the dog show Jan was going to in Santa Cruz. We were supposed to be there at 8 am (Jan left at 6:15). I work up at 7:27 on the dot and realized that we were going to not have a chance in hell of being on time. We rushed and broke all speed limit laws as well as some lane-changing laws over Highway 17 and made it there in about 35 minutes. It usually takes 50...

Jan decided that she wanted to go to the festival after all. Cool. We pack our tired asses into the car and headed up early to the show. Our goal: balcony seats. We were successful and right over the stage. Nice.

Tonight's lineup was Thrones, Isis, Neurosis and Shellac. We were dreading Neurosis since last night's Neurosis set was dismal. Thrones is an ex-bass player for The Melvins. He did a solo thing with a Roland MC-505 and a buttload of effects. They only let him play 20 minutes which was a drag since he was really good.

Isis (from Boston) was up next and they blew me away. The have this thick, heavy but clear groove with a powerhouse beat. No singing per se although one guy screamed a lot. And really fucking loud...they were a music bludgeon of the highest order. My ass felt kicked and I loved every minute of it. After the set, I immediately went down and bought their CDs.

Now last night Neurosis was awful. Devoid of inspiration and energy, the plodded on through their own sludge. We expected the worst. Much to our surprise, they were pretty good. They seemed more energetic, were mixed well, had the same type groove as Isis did and were, in spot, rather excellent. Jan liked them too even though we told her about the previous night. She did have one interesting thing to say though, "Those guys look like they're in pain". It fit well.

Shellac endured some heckling last night so I think they weren't in the mood to be chatty so they just ripped into their set and didn't let up for nearly 45 minutes. They played a much different set of songs tonight than last night. Absolute power without beating you into submission with distortion. Even the heckling was at a minimum. After about 45 minutes, Bob Weston (the bass player) did his usual "does any one have any questions before we continue". And then the jokes started to fly (as Shellac trademark):

    Q: What's the difference between a hippie and an onion?
    A: Nobody cries when you slice a hippie.

    An octopus carrying a set of bagpipes walks into a bar. The octopus orders a drink. After a while the bartender can't stand it any more and asks the octopus if he's going to play the bagpipes. The octopus replies, play it, I'm trying to figure out how to get its pajamas off so I can fuck it!

They then ripped into some more songs and ended with an excellent "Prayer To God" which took the third night of Beyond The Pale to closing time. Shellac are now my favorite band to see live--and after only two shows.

We've got one more night of this madness left...

Posted by wjc