Last Night Chops vs. Taste
posted by April 23 at 13:35 PMon
The Sword, Slough Feg and Children @ Neumos
I missed seeing any of New York act Children because I wasn’t allowed to take my camera into the show even though I was reviewing it. “No Professional (removable lens) Cameras.” I had to walk my SLR all the way back to my car. What a stupid rule. Whoever made that rule is stupid.
Slough Feg, though I had never heard of them before this show (nor had anyone else I was with) has been a band for 18 years. They are the perfect example of a band that has great chops but horrible taste. Imagine metal music parallels science fiction: this band is original programming on the Sci-Fi network. My first, and continued reaction to Slough Feg was: “Are you fucking kidding me?” They sounded like mixing Joe Satriani’s Surfing with the Alien and speed metal. The singer looks exactly like the extra from the Kids In the Hall who had a dark, thinning mullet and always played a total cheeseball. You might remember him as the juggling street performer in a flying pig skit, or Mark McKinney’s coworker in the one about killing a mouse. It’s a random association, I know, but they are doppelgangers. He was wearing black swirl body paint all over his torso covered by a vest, his curly, thinning mullet bobbing with his intense head thrusts. He was very into his own shit - which was pretty fun to watch. I couldn’t tell which was harder to take seriously, the way the band looked or the choices they made musically, but I can say that after sitting down upstairs after about five songs their music sounded a little less ridiculous with the band out of sight. I decided it was probably these guys that set the rule about no professional cameras being allowed in the building.
It’s not too hard to find baseline similarities between Slough Feg and the Sword. Both deal with fantasy metal, but the fantasy Slough Feg encapsulates is just so… nerdy. So nerdy in fact it’s almost come full circle to the point where it’s funny. Here is one of the t-shirts they sold. It has some sort of a large dog-man in a space suit, holding a laser gun. Very Star Fox. On the back of the shirt is a wicked spaceship. You can just imagine that laser dog man blasting around space, fighting aliens, listening to this band.
Normally there’s a sense of anger when you realize you’re never going to see a band you love in an intimate setting again. For some reason seeing the Sword in a completely packed Neumos, people chanting along and banging their heads in unison, I had the exact opposite reaction. I don’t want to see the Sword play a small venue like the Croc again (though I am glad I got to see it), I want this band to dominate the metal world. I want this band to be like Dethklok is on Metalocalypse. The Sword are the perfect example of a band that has great chops and impeccable taste, whose live performance is fast and heavy and awesome on every front. They are the almost impossible combination of interesting, original and accessible – there is no reason that anyone who likes metal shouldn’t be able to get into their live show. Any misgivings I had about Gods of the Earth were remedied last night. Their newest single “Maiden, Mother and Crone” is the lame duck on the album (and has a terrible video) but doesn’t suffer the same fate live. Their set is a nonstop barrage of epic, galloping metal. They’re not the most talented metal band on the planet, or the fastest, or the most original. But they may be the smartest. They’re maxing out their stats in all the right areas. They are appealing to both the metal masses and the metal snobs. The Sword are the real fucking deal.