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[personal profile] vambot5
I went to a show tonight, Eagle Claw and The Sword.

The show was in Bricktown. I usually avoid going to shows in Bricktown because of parking. It's like, $25 seems like a reasonable ticket price, but then if you want to park anywhere close to the venue you have to pay another $20. I googled the venue, and it said it was on the canal, in the same building as Chelino's. There is a parking lot right there, and I was resigned to paying, but the lot was full. So I went west, out of Bricktown into downtown proper, near my office. I eventually found a parallel spot one block north and four or five blocks west of the venue, maybe half a mile away. I got there, and the bouncer looked askew at my flaming skull tee-shirt and flannel, and asked me what I was looking for. I said the sword show, and he was like, no, that's not at ACM, it's at the ACM performance hall on Sheridan. Not particularly helpful. A group of other dudes asked me if I was looking for the sword show, and I told them what the bouncer had said. I walked from the canal back to Sheridan and started walking. It turned out that ACM bought what used to be the green door, which is all the way at the eastern edge of Bricktown, almost another half mile down.

When I walked in, no one took my ticket, which was odd. I just walked into the venue. There was a line just inside the venue, so I stood in it, thinking they would scan my ticket and give me a wristband. Instead, it was just the beer line, so I ordered a beer and went up towards the front. The local opening band, which was not advertised, turned out to be Rainbows are Free! I wasn't surprised by this, but I was disappointed that I had missed half their set. As people left to go get beer and/or go to the bathroom, I moved closer to the stage, and ended up right next to it, with just one woman in front of me. At this venue, the audience is right up against the stage with no bouncer-fence, so I was definitely within arm's reach.

After the RAF set, the woman in front of me turned around and started talking to me. She was shockingly social for someone at a metal show, totally psyched to be there, full of energy. Her name was Alden, and she was there with her boyfriend, whose name was also Chris. She was so excited and energetic that the band totally responded, and I felt privileged to be next to her because our area of the stage got a lot of attention. The singer/guitarist of Eagle Claw was particularly responsive, and was obviously charged up by the energy. He kept leaning over us while soloing and feeding off the fervor below.

When The Sword came on, there was no one immediately in front of us, because the bassist was more towards stage left and the singer/guitarist slightly to the center of us. The Sword is more of a passive band, generally, not interacting with the crowd as much. The only member of the band that I have seen really interacting with the crowd is their lead guitarist, who was on the opposite side of the stage (still only maybe 6 or 8 feet from us, it's a small stage, but not close enough to interact because he'd have to go through the singer to get there).

The Sword put on a solid show. The last time I saw them, opening for Clutch at the Diamond Ballroom, they were pretty disappointing. They sounded OK, but they lacked enthusiasm onstage, just phoning it in. This time, they were quite a bit more energized. Here is the setlist, which I was close enough to photograph over the monitor:

Five of these were new songs, the ones marked Buzzard, Mist, Temples, Diamonds, and Country. They used different instruments for the new songs. The singer/guitarist used a wood-tone les paul instead of the sunburst he used for the older ones, and the bassist used a rickenbacher instead of his fender P-bass. The lead guitarist changed, too, but I could not see what his new guitar was. The sound of the new songs was different, less metally and more hard-rock vibe.

After the second batch of new songs, they played Freya, probably their most well-known song, and the crowd was pumped. They thanked us for coming out and started the intro to their closer, Dying Earth, with the bassist doing some Geddy Lee shit with some bass-synth pedals, but just as they started someone came up on stage and whispered something to the lead guitarist. He said they weren't going to be able to play the song, that there was a fire. He talked to the singer/guitarist, who took the mic and said yeah, this is no joke, we'll need you guys to make your way to the front doors in an orderly fashion. He thanked us for coming out and apologized that they wouldn't be able to finish their set.

I was disappointed that they did not get to finish strong, but Freya was a good closer anyway, and honestly by that point I was getting tired and dehydrated. I had thought during the set that I might duck back and get some water, but I didn't want to give up my good spot, and then I heard someone come back from the bar saying that they were totally out of water AND beer.

I hiked the mile back to my car and hit the road. Traffic was light back to Norman, so I made good time. When I got home, I picked up the bunnies from their outside bunny run and put them back in their cage in the garage for the night. The weather was mild and traffic was light, so I decided to go for a brief ride. I'm trying to ride everyday to work on my skills and get more comfortable. In particular, Mariah's dad told us that we should practice starting with the right foot on the rear brake pedal instead of starting with both feet on the ground. He pointed out that at some point you'll be on a hill and need to use the rear brake to keep from rolling backwards while you start. I had never thought about this, though it makes sense. When I've been on a hill, I've just kept the front brake engaged to keep from rolling while giving some gas with my thumb, then I would just quickly let off the front brake while letting the clutch out. This is an inferior solution for a few reasons. One, if you don't let off the brake fast enough, you can end up with the front wheel locked and the rear wheel spinning, which causes you to swerve without much control. Two, if you let the clutch out too fast, you can lurch forward abruptly and/or burnout the rear wheel. Three, on a hill, most of your weight is going to be shifted to the rear wheel, so it is better to have that brake engaged to keep you from rolling backwards.

So that all makes sense, but it is uncomfortable for someone who is used to starting with both feet on the ground and the bike centered. When you have one foot on the rear brake (the right pedal, on all modern bikes, though british bikes and early harley sportsters traditionally had the rear brake on the left side and the shifter on the right), your tendency is to lean the bike a bit to the other side to avoid toppling it over. It's not like it is overly difficult to keep the bike level or close to level with only one foot on the ground, and even if the bike is just a little bit leaned, it's not hard to right it when you start moving. That's what the bike wants to do when the wheels are spinning. Though a bike at a standstill will fall over if you let go, a bike in motion's natural state is to keep going forward in an upright position. If you jump off of a bike moving forward, it's going to keep going straight until it loses speed or hits a bump that knocks the front wheel off center. So I just need to practice starting from a stop with my right foot on the brake pedal, in various situations, until it becomes natural. I've been practicing doing it going forward, going into a right-hand turn, and going into a left-hand turn. The right-hand turn is most difficult, because it is your instinct to put your right foot down to steady the bike with your right foot while turning right.

Anyway, I rode for a few minutes around the neighborhood then pulled back to the house. I opened the garage and backed the bike in, closed it, and came inside. I've just been hanging out on the computer, drinking some argentinian malbec and listening to 90s electronic music from The Saint soundtrack. Someone posted a clip of The Sneaker Pimps online and it made me want to go back and listen to that entire soundtrack. That was an interesting heyday for electronic music in popular culture, in a way. The Saint and Pi both had extremely popular soundtracks with all electronic music, Trainspotting had an Underworld song featured prominently, Hackers put Orbital's Halcyon+on+on in everyone's consciousness.

An interesting thing about electronic music from that era is that it was not really dance-focused. For a lot of the songs, the artist could go to a club or rave and remix it with a heavy four-on-the-floor beat for dancing. But some of the artists, particularly Aphex Twin and Orbital, couldn't always do that because the songs were in eccentric time signatures. A friend of mine once tried to figure out how to dance to Orbital's 7/8 Mock Tudor. His Mock Tudor Dance never caught on in clubs, sadly, and the song was not a big dance hit.

Orbital had a reputation for always remixing their songs live, and they became famous for wearing eyeglass-lights to see the mixing boards during sets. Halcyon+on+on, in the original recording, is a very chill piece, which is appropriate as it is a reference to a tranquilizer drug for treating insomnia. Apparently their mom (the band is two brothers) used to take it to sleep, and they would see her go from her awake state to almost asleep before she got up and went to bed. The original song referenced that experience. But when they would remix the song live, they wanted to keep the energy up. They started to remix it with two samples--Bon Jovi's You Give Love a Bad Name and Belinda Carlisle's Heaven is a Place on Earth. They would overlay the two samples, then they would flip the Heaven is a Place on Earth sample so it was just the melody played backwards. A live version was included as a B-side on the US release of their seminal album In Sides. The video linked above is from the band's 2011 reunion at Glastonbury, because it's a good video with good sound quality. You can see the eyeglass-lights as well. I expect that until I lose my memory, I will be able to immediately recall the melody to Heaven is a Place on Earth--reversed.

So this started out as a post about a concert I went to and ended up with a ramble about a particular piece of music significant to me. In vino veritas? In wine, vambot5 starts rambling about songs. My loved ones would agree without reservation.


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May 2016

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