Volbeat, Danko Jones, Spoken
House of Blues, Los Angeles, CA
Friday, March 15, 2013
As I sit down to write this, I’m scratching my head trying to figure how to write this. Is it going to be a review or the story of how I almost died? Well, here it goes.
On March 13th, my 47th Birthday rolled around, and I wasn’t the least bit excited about it. It’s one of those things where you, kind of, reevaluate your life and feel like you haven’t accomplished shit. Besides putting out a little book, I was feeling like I hadn’t done much of anything.
Almost a month before my birthday, my brother surprises me with tickets to see Volbeat at the House of Blues on Sunset. In case you haven’t heard of Volbeat, they are a band from Denmark, described as James Hetfield’s favorite band. They are a combination of punk, rockabilly, death metal, and a pinch or Johnny Cash. Confused? You shouldn’t be. This is a great mix of music.
Anyway, my brother, his girlfriend, my wife, and I, hop in the car. Stop to get something to eat. We pull into a parking lot with a McDonald’s and an El Pollo Loco (my brother treats a homeless guy to dinner). Now the thought of eating another burger is turning my stomach, but I’ve been allergic to poultry since birth. Over the years I have tried a bite of chicken here and there to see if I’ve outgrown the allergy. I found that if the chicken is extremely overcooked I can eat it. I have tried El Pollo Loco’s Pollo Bowl and did fine. But I didn’t want a whole bowl of shit, just a little something to get me through the night. So I decide to order a burrito, my wife warns me that it’s a bad idea. I tell her it’s the same chicken as the Bowl, she disagrees. I order it because I don’t listen (Rebel Without A Clue).
The whole time I’m eating everyone is watching me. Kind of a “We’re worried you’re gonna die” thing. This makes me more determined that this fucking chicken isn’t going to do me in. I finish it, and everybody asks how I’m doing, and honestly, I was fine, then 4 or 5 minutes later — like a bomb went off, my throat closed up and the eyesight in my right eye starting failing. My face started itching and so did the palms of my hands. It must have real noticeable because instantly my brother’s girlfriend, Christine, GPS’ the local drugstore.
We run for the car, my eye is now draining down the side of my face and the rest of my face is covered in hives. In less than a minute my wife is at a Rite Aid, I jump out of the car, on Sunset, grab a box of Benadryl (well — generic Benadryl). Paid, ran back to the car. They give me a bottle of water and I take two Benadryl’s. But my throat has closed up so much that only the pills, slip in and I’m gagging on the water, so I spit out the water and wait for the pills to kick in.
They start debating if they should take me to the ER. Not that I’m a trooper or anything, but I’m cheap. So, if you spent good money on tickets and parking there’s no way I’m going to let this go to waste. I insist we park, but now 15 to 18 minutes have passed and the Benadryl isn’t working. My arms and legs feel like sandbags, I don’t feel like I’m controlling them, I’m just swinging them along.
In the parking lot, I am given 2 more Benadryl, I try to choke them down with water and again the pills, slip down, but I gag and spit the water.
Now, I’m getting spooked. This is the worst attack I ever had and both eyes are failing and watering. So, I go into my defense mechanism, I’m cracking jokes, talking and doing everything to deny my body is failing.
We get in line, which is now wrapped around the corner, after 10 or 15 minutes I feel a bit of relief. My left eye clears up and that stuffed cotton feeling in my head starts to go away. Every 3 steps I have to hack up god-knows-what as my throat is trying to open up again.
We get to the front of the line and they have us empty our pockets and purses and get waved over by the metal detector wand. We get through; ask the security guard where our reserved seats are located. We sit, I pass out. I come around a little bit before the first band.
So, I straighten up in my chair, the first band, Spoken, comes on. The music is great. The singer charges out and his first few words come out and guess what? They are cookie monster vocals! So, even though I’ve only been coherent for 30 seconds I’m still here to review, so I yell “Oh fuck this.” But I spoke too soon. The rest of the set the guy sang pretty damn well.
The next band up was Danko Jones. Danko Jones knocked out some really good, fast, energetic music.
My only issue with the band is the in between song dialogue. “Every person that rejected me, every label that didn’t sign will look up at me, and I’ll look down on them from the highest mountain.” It was horse-shit. Music-wise cool, but whatever was going on with Danko – well, troubling to say the least.
Volbeat put on a damn near flawless set. They did great songs like The Mirror and the Ripper, Heaven Nor Hell and Fallen, from their latest album.
One of the highlights was Michael Poulsen bringing out an acoustic guitar and singing Ring Of Fire. The low point was bringing out Danko Jones to cover Angel Fuck. Not because he was a bad singer, but because his voice isn’t fit for a Glenn Danzig song.
Now back in the early eighties when slamming became the staple of hardcore punk shows, it was based on the pace of the music, the energy in the room. Nowadays, a band could be playing a ballad and these jerk-offs will go ape-shit.
Here’s my theory on it: you get a roomful of people that weren’t loved enough by Mom, and loved too much by Dad (follow me so far?) they will fill up on booze, hit the slam pit with one goal in mind, “God dammit, I’m going to prove to the world that I am a man!” That’s great; if it helps you sleep on your tear-soaked pillow, then slam, ass-hat.
Anyway, Volbeat put on a great show. My overall assessment, great night!
Misconceptions of Hell is available now: http://goo.gl/n9ofGb