Friday, December 31, 2010

Faith No More @ The Palladium, Hollywood. 11/30/10.


I was too young to appreciate Faith No More during their heyday in the late 80's/early 90's. I remember watching their video for "Epic" as a little kid and getting freaked out by the dying fish but that's about it. Flash forward to the mid 00's and a lot of my favorite mind fuck metal bands cite Faith No More as huge influences. The Dillinger Escape Plan's EP with Mike Patton is one of my favorite records ever. Needless to say, I did my homework and fell in love with Faith No More for myself. This short lived reunion after their 13 year hiatus/breakup/exile was an event I couldn't miss!

she had some moves!
The sold out venue waited for FNM to come out for what seemed like forever. No really, we waited HOURS. One of the opening bands was forced to back out so we got stuck standing around for a looong time. They had a midget comedian lady and some creepy magician come out and try to hold us over inbetween the first opening band the the eternity before FNM came onstage. Luckily, that first opening act was good...damn good. San Diego's The Creepy Creeps play a kind 60's psychedelic surf rock on acid that cannot be stopped. The dudes wore matching polyester tuxedos, masks and shaggy Ramones wigs. The icing on the cake were the go-go dancers they had on stage. The brunette near my side of the stage literally stole my soul with her dance moves. I honestly can't wait to see The Creepy Creeps again.

Get. That. Dirt off ya shoulder.
So after waiting a fortnight for them to rock our world's, Faith No More reunited before our eyes....playing Peaches and Herb's "Reunited" as their opening song. They immediately followed with "From Out of Nowhere" which turned The Palladium into a warzone. Really, I've been to tons of death metal shows and dealt with kung-fu fighting hardcore dancers in my time, but those all paled in comparison to the army of hyped up mid to late thirty year old's reliving their youth by moshing their balls off during Faith No More's reunion. Seriously, it was a sight to be seen. Watching the band rip through classics like "Caffeine," "Surprise You're Dead," and "We Care A Lot" was awesome, but rare songs like "Everything Ruined," and "Spirit" were even more special. The band's stage banter was hilarious, w/ Roddy Bottum rambling on and on about how old he is and Mike Patton speaking spanglish to the crowd and encouraging people to spit on him.



Speaking of Patton, holy Jesus his voice sounded amazingly strong. Stronger than any youtube clips had lead me to believe. The dude was belting shit out with some power. Especially during their oh so cheesy but always appreciated cover songs, like The Commodores "Easy," Burt Bacharach's "This Guys's in Love With You" and as you'll see in this clip, The Bee Gees' "I Started a Joke."


So the show was amazing. Yeah, I wished they didn't play so much material from their final record, Album of the Year since I'm pretty 'eh" about those songs; and wish they had played "The Real Thing" or "Zombie Eaters" or "Land of Sunshine" or....but overall, they still slayed! I'm glad I finally got to see the mighty Faith No More in concert. Hopefully they don't call it quits forever. One more thing, Mike Bordin aka "Puffy" may be rocking grey haired dreadlocks these days, but the dude still beats the hell out of his drums!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Weezer's Memories Tour: 11/26 & 11/27, 2010 @ Gibson Amphitheatre, Universal City.

bricks were shat
I've been a Weezer fan forever. Listening to their early material is the sonic equivalent of eating birthday cake, one of the most instantly gratifying experiences that almost anyone with a pulse will love. Their self titled debut album was a polished slab of rocking power pop, aka The Blue Album, and served as a critical/commercial smash back in the day, sounding like a long lost Beach Boys/KISS collaboration. Their follow up album Pinkerton was the anti-Blue Album: dark, raw and deeply personal. It alienated their mainstream fanbase, tanked on the album charts and prompted the band to take a several year hiatus. Too bad, because it's quite frankly the band's best album and has become a cult classic since it's initial release. So when I found out Weezer was playing Blue Album and Pinkerton in their entirety on their Memories Tour, I was STOKED to say the least. On this tour, the band played two nights in each city with a greatest hits set followed by an encore performance of the selected "classic" album. Heres my rundown for their LA tour stop:

LA natives/hipster darlings Best Coast opened both nights. We caught their full set on night Friday but missed them on Saturday due to rain/traffic. I really liked them even though my girlfriend and buddy who tagged along were "eh" about their performance. If Hole played 1950's surf rock, they would sound a lot like Best Coast.

So the modern day version of Weezer took the stage soon after. They blasted through a a greatest hits setlist of tunes in reverse chronological order. Starting off with their latest single "Memories" on both nights, then playing a mixed bag of tracks ranging from FML songs like "Beverly Hills" and "Troublemaker" (songs that make me question my undying loyalty to this band) to rare soundtrack cuts like "Suzanne" and "You Gave Your Love to Me Softly" that had everyone on their feet. They played a good number of Green Album songs and had Bethany from Best Coast come out and duet with Rivers on "Island In the Sun" on both nights. This I approved of, but having the fat dude from Lost come out and butcher "Perfect Situation" and "If You're Wondering If I Want You To," I could have lived without that. Josh Freese did an awesome job on drums though, allowing regular Weezer drummer pat to handle lead guitar while Rivers lived out his midlife crisis and ran around the stage/venue.

Alright, so the main course! Old school Weezer was back from the dead! Pat back on drums, Rivers singing/playing guitar and not making a fool of himself. Night 1's performance of the Blue Album was awesome but had a few flaws. The band seemed kind of winded from their earlier set and some of the energy was lacking, and Rivers seemed to have some vocal and guitar troubles during a few songs. Most noticeably during the show's closer, the 8 min I can't believe I'm finally seeing this song live, "Only In Dreams." I was a little bummed about this, but luckily they played "Only In Dreams" AGAIN as part of Night 2's greatest hits set and nailed it. Here's the proof:


They still play a good chunk of Blue Album songs live to this day (Buddy Holly, My Name is Jonas, Surf Wax, Undone, Say It Ain't So) so Night 1 wasn't really that much of an epic event other than celebrating the more obscure tracks like "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" "In the Garage" and "Holiday."
Especially "Holiday!" That's such a flawless song.



Night 2's performance of Pinkerton was amazing. Amazing because unlike Blue Album, the band almost NEVER plays any Pinkerton songs live so it was a real treat to finally see this stuff in person. Amazing because the band was fired up and and sounded great. "Tired of Sex" "Getchoo" "Across The Sea", all amazing to finally experience live. The sing along for "El Scorcho" was the probably the coolest concert experience of the year. Here's a clip of "Falling For You" from some chick with a waaay better seat than me.



Night 2's finale, Rivers playing "Butterfly" was spine chillingly awesome. Never in a million years did I expect to see this song performed live. Rivers Cuomo, the metal head turned alternative rock guru, playing the most stripped down/personal song from Pinkerton, the album that was bashed into oblivion some 13 years ago was greeted with rousing applause from thousands of fans when he finished on this night. Circle of life type shit right there.


Awesome shows. The icing on the cake was Rivers even dressing up in his vintage 90's clothes to try and look the part as well! I hope my old Weezer sticks around, I don't know how many more craptacular Make Believe or Raditude type albums I can take.

*side note*
I met Nicole Richie after Night 1's concert walking around Universal City Walk. She was surprisingly cute as hell in person.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tarantino Overdose

Here's an awesome lil' tribute to the films of Quentin Tarantino, created by the uber talented folks at Bennett Media. If you love film, pop culture and random bits of adult entertainment *cough* porn *cough* then I highly recommend you keep tabs on their work.


So here's that video/tribute I promised. Blink and you'll miss it. No really...try not to blink until it's over.

Chapter Two from Paul Proulx & Jessica Sargent on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas

Happy Christmas people. I'm not too found of holidays (and have a massive headache from work last night) but as much as I'd like to say "Bah Humbug" for Xmas, there's one thing that keeps me amped about today...



So here's to Santa, that immaculately conceived carpenter, and Kevin McCallister...enjoying a lovely cheese pizza all by himself.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time Waster

Well, I've got to handle some last minute Christmas shopping. I just woke up like 40 mins ago (looooooong night at work) so I'm already behind on my itinerary...so here's a funny time waster video to fill in for my usual long and winded blog posts.

I have no idea who this Mike Diva character is other than the fact that he's kind of (very) annoying but the dude running around with the sax disrupting suburban life is an old acquaintance who I hadn't seen in some time and suddenly saw tearing it up on youtube. Strange...yet kind of funny.



this is a take on a SNL Digital Short called, The Curse, where actor Jon Hamm played a crazed Sexy Sax Man named Sergio who, well...click the link if you want to see.


And who could forget the epicness, of George Michael/Wham's original slow jam, "Careless Whispers"


Alright, I'm off to hell/shopping. Good luck trying to get that saxophone lick out of your head.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Movie Review: Black Swan


Superb. Clich├ęd. Brilliant. Hokey. People seem to either fall in love with or laugh their balls off when it comes to Black Swan. I'm in the first camp. Darren Aronofsky's latest film just might be his finest as far as I'm concerned, and from the director of Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, that's saying something.

Matilda, on meth.
The film centers around Natalie Portman's character Nina, a 20-something ballerina with issues. She's repressed, uptight, obsessed with honing her craft and condemned to live with an overbearing mother (a failed ballerina herself) who still tucks her in at night and dresses her like a child. Miraculously, the dreary clouds of Nina's life seem to part as she gets the chance to audition for the lead in her company's new rendition of Swan Lake. Of course the greatest roadblock shes faces in landing the part is herself.

I'm usually hesitant when saying this, but everything about Black Swan is damn near flawless. Portman's tragic portrayal of Nina is easily her greatest performance to date, and Mila Kunis shines as Lily, the anti-Nina whose raw exuberance serves as one of the great catalyst for the films twisted plot. Aronofsky's use of hand held cameras provides the audience with a chilling, fly on the wall perspective yet simultaneously enhances the mania that ensues as Nina struggles with internal/external forces to become the Swan Queen. Oh yeah, and the dance sequences are amazing. The swooping camera work during these shots made me feel like I was on an insane roller coaster ride, while the booming score (the film's music mixed with elements of Tchaikovsky's original Swan Lake) creates the most heart palpitating soundtrack I've heard all year.

Some people might respond differently however. There were individuals who scoffed at the absurdity transpiring on screen. Perhaps they found Aronofsky's use of CGI gratuitous? I didn't. Maybe they expected a straight up ballerina catfight drama and got what cinealogue.com called, "...Showgirls meets Fight Club on crazy pills." As for me, well given Aronofsky's history of mind-fuckery (Pi, The Fountain, Requiem) I just threw my hands up and tossed any preconceptions to the wind and let Black Swan warp my brain and thoroughly kick my ass. Yes, that's right, a movie about a couple of 5'3 ballerinas kicked my ass. I laughed, I cringed (quite often) but mostly, I sat with my mouth aghast, marveling at the awesome slab of cinema unfolding before me. Film of the year? I think so.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weather Rock

So it's cold/gloomy/rainy here in Southern California and I love it. It's been coming down lightly for the past few days but today it really started pouring nicely. Here's some "rain music" I've been diggin' recently.

This song is kind of long but man, it might just change your life. Post-rock meets black metal meets medieval times in the bleak frozen tundra of the Pacific North West:


This song is more straight forward but rocking none the less. Simplistic yet haunting guitar work and a guttural bellow so deep you'd think this was a band of frost giants. These burly, Tolken inspired Vikings are close enough I suppose:

Friday, December 17, 2010

2nd chances w/: Misery Index

my favorite East Coast death/grinders
I did it again. I forgot to explain in my original 2nd Chances post that this will be an occasional segment where I discuss bands/albums/movies/whatever that I initially disliked but have since warmed up to. Today, I'm featuring Misery Index's latest album Heirs to Thievery. I had such high hopes for this record when it was released this past spring and was upset that my lofty expectations weren't met (initially). Before I go any further, I should clarify that Misery Index are easily one of my favorite bands around. In fact, I've been a Misery Index fan even before the band existed! After Dying Fetus released their masterpiece, Destroy the Opposition in 2000, 3/4 of the band's lineup quit and formed Misery Index. Toning down the death metal and amping up the grindcore/hardcore sound & ethos, Misery Index has been cranking out consistently awesome extreme music throughout the decade. That, and they're an amazing live act.

And now the album in question. My initial gripes with Heirs to Thievery were with its production and lack of urgency in its songs. The production is amazingly crisp/clear, with everything sounding equally mixed and balanced. That's the problem! Just about every other Misery Index release has been more raw (sometimes a little TOO raw with their EPs) and definitely more abrasive. Heirs to Thievery sounds sterile in comparison. About the songwriting, I remember spinning this CD in the car for the first time and just waiting, waiting to be sonically kicked in the teeth only to find my audible beating never arrived. Misery Index's penchant for frequent time changes and body movin' grooves are still present, but it seems that this album was less about pushing the extreme music envelope and more about cruising through the band's established strengths.

As we near the end of the year and I begin compiling my annual Top 10 lists I couldn't help but give Heirs to Thievery another shot. After numerous recent spins, I've gotten over my initial qualms with the album and now except this record for what it is, a slamming piece of extreme metal. I think watching them play some of the new stuff on their last tour helped win me over also. Shit was awesome live. So yes, the record might sound more reserved due to it's production and there's less blast beats than I would have liked (there's still a lot, I'm just retarded) but it's not the end of the world. The list of guest vocals on the album feature the singers from Dying Fetus, Hate Eternal and Criminal Element, and it's always cool hearing scary sounding dudes scream along with other scary sounding dudes. So in conclusion, I eat a bag of crow and now fully endorse Heirs to Thievery. Is this my favorite Misery Index album? Probably not. Is it a damn good album and does this band still rule beyond belief? Yes.

Here's one of my favorite tracks, where the face melting comes into full effect:


and as a bonus, here's Misery Index's inhuman cyborg drummer Adam playing the album's title track live. I'm scared he's going to explode at one of the band's shows one day. Just LOOK at him:

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

200+ Followers!

What's that Gomez? We've hit another milestone?!

Hello hello there! Looks like lil' o' Jim's Fear bloggy blog has reached over 200 followers. Thanks people...although a large portion of my original first 100 subscribers seemed to have vanished from cyber space (Hmmmmm, I WONDER WHY?), I appreciate you long timers and knew folks alike for putting up with my horrible taste in "music, cinema and whatever else I feel like." I should finally post the massive live review/nerd rant for the Weezer and Faith No More concerts I attended oh so long ago. Also, more Female Obsession and Crunch Time posts lined up. So thanks again, and here's to the next 100 .

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

R.I.P. Chuck

1967-2001
Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of Chuck Schuldiner's death. Who was Chuck Schuldiner? He was the vocalist, lead guitarist and mastermind behind Death, the pioneering Florida metal band who helped create the sub-genre of Death Metal. Despite his band's simple name and the rather primitive nature of his early works, there is no doubt that Chuck Schuldiner was one of the greatest metal musicians of all time. Each new Death album saw Chuck's songwriting, vocal delivery and guitar skills progress so rapidly that by 1991's album Human, you could hardly believe this was the same band that released their 1987 debut, Scream Bloody Gore. Aside from Chuck, it wasn't the same band. Schuldiner was the only constant within Death. He always changed the group's lineup, acquiring a new roster of all star musicians for each album. It's the later, progressive era of Death that tickles my fancy. Strange jazzy interludes mixed with insane time changes, machine gun like double bass drumming, and jaw dropping guitar wizardry.

Here's an example of early Death from 1988's Leprosy album. It's plodding, heavy and eerily catchy. Note Schuldiner's almost tortuous vocal delivery. It remains one of the most distinctive in extreme metal today, the "Chuck voice."


Here's later an example of the more progressive/technical later era Death from 1993's Individual Thought Patterns.


Chuck died on December 13, 2001 from complications of brain cancer. He was 34 years old. I was still a Padawan metal head at this point so Chuck's passing wasn't that big of a deal to me then. When I eventually discovered the awesomeness that was Death, I felt great sadness regarding his premature end. It wasn't until recent years that I began to feel anger regarding Chuck's death.

Chuck Schuldiner was not a wealthy man. Like most extreme metal musicians, you might have categorized him as a "starving artist." Needless to say, he did not have health insurance. Chuck was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor in 1999 and although it nearly bankrupted his family, managed to successfully battle his cancer. Two year later his cancer returned and despite the fact that he was now insured, his HMO initially stalled on urgently needed treatment due to his preexisting condition, his original brain tumor. Chuck eventually received chemotherapy but died of pneumonia as a result of his weakened immune system from his treatment.

I know it's kind of ironic that the frontman of a band called Death would pass away at such a young age, but that makes Chuck's death no less tragic. He wasn't murdered or taken by some freak accident. He was a citizen of the wealthiest nation on Earth who slowly rotted away due to lack of medical care. Was his death the insurance companies (or anybody's) fault? No...but they sure didn't rush to help him in his time of need either. This knowledge of Chuck's final days, and the fact that there are so many others in America in similar situations nearly a decade later is what upsets me now.

This past summer Adam Darski aka: Nergal, the frontman for modern day death metal heroes Behemoth, announced he was battling leukemia and was in need of a bone marrow transplant. Luckily, Darski has apparently found a match and is receiving treatment in his native Poland...where universal healthcare is available to its citizens. Darksi will turn 34 in June. Hopefully he lives a long and fruitful life well past his 30's. Chuck wasn't so lucky.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy (?) Anniversary

1,000 words
The Supreme Court's Bush v. Gore decision celebrated (and I use the term loosely) it's 10 year anniversary last night. Putting our political inclinations aside, I think it's safe to say that Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Jews, Gypsies, etc., can all agree that George W. Bush's presidency was the worst thing to happen to America since....oh let's just say The Civil War. During the 2008 elections even the most hardlined conservatives distanced themselves from Bush like he had the plague. They knew what was up, the Bush Administration not only dropped the ball, they annihilated it. But this is not a Anti-Bush rant.

ManBearPig has WMDs!
Could you imagine a Back to the Future type alternate timeline, where the Supreme Court handed Gore the presidency in 2000? Would 9/11 have happened? The war's in Iraq & Afghanistan? Would Gore have allowed the continued deregulation of Wall Street that Clinton and Bush seemed to have no problem with. Would the auto industry have tanked (even more so) with President Gore stuffing electric cars down our throats? Would Vice President Lieberman have morphed into the same asshole as the present day Senator Lieberman? Would we have finally killed ManBearPig?  Just thinking about this boggles the mind.

The Bush v. Gore decision is tragic for two reasons. First, because it exposed that the supposedly neutral arm of the Judicial Branch was just as worthless as the rest of the partisan hacks in D.C. (handing Bush the presidency in a 5/4 split...fragmented along party lines). In his dissenting opinion, Justice Stevens wrote:
Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted by today's decision. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.
Second, because it opened the Pandora's Box of mistakes and regrets that we all lived through under Bush. Would Gore have done any better? Who knows? Politicians have a knack for saying one thing and then doing the exact opposite, like the Pussy-In-Chief Obama who's backslid on just about everything he campaigned on in 2008 but that's a whole other rant. 10 years later and one thing remains perfectly clear, the American people did not get who they voted for. That goes for all the Bush supporters as well. I mean, technically, they voted for this guy:


Imagine if HE ran the country from 2000-20008? Shit might not have been so bad...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Better Late Than Never...

I went and saw Black Swan the other night. Awesome film. Loved it. Darren Aronofsky strikes again. I'll have a full review up eventually. Natalie Portman gives an amazing (although restrained...which is the nature of her character) performance but I walked out of the theater spell bound by Mila Kunis. Yeah she's hot, but this was the first real/serious performance I've seen from her and was blown away. I walked out thinking, she's come a long way from That 70's Show, which I never really watched. Then I remembered she had a role on a short lived mid 1990's sitcom called Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher. Some goofy white dude who acted black taught some wacky kids and hilarity was supposed to ensue. I don't really remember much about this show other than it was on The WB in the 90's so it probably sucked. I just remember Mila Kunis' character was like a 12 year old version of Snooki from Jersey Shore...with a reeeeaaaallly annoying voice.

So I went and googled Nick Freno the next day and was sad to learn that the dude who played him, comedian Mitch Mullany had died back in 2008. From a diabetic related stroke or something. That bummed me out, but then I watched a clip of his stand up on youtube and saw the guy was actually funny. Like really funny. So now I'm really bummed about this.



R.I.P. man. And thanks Black Swan/Mila Kunis for leading me down this sad path of discovery.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crunch Time: Burnt By The Sun

"...like peas and carrots."
It's Crunch Time people! Yes, here comes yet another gushing rant where I pine over one of my favorite Metal riffs. Today's installment features the criminally underrated Metalcore heroes, Burnt By The Sun. Puzzled. That was my initial reaction to this band after first seeing this video. What was that? Loud and angry, yet eerily reserved. The singer looks "normal" yet sounds like some kind of punk rock/bull dog hybrid. The drummer is blasting with one foot? Is this grindcore? Why do the guitars sound like Lynyrd Skynyrd?! A thousand thoughts raced through my head after seeing the video for "Forlani," the most important being that, I liked this. A liked this A LOT. Years later, after Burnt By The Sun broke up in 2004, reunited and broke up again in 2009 I still always come back to the hauntingly awesome guitar intro that becomes drilled into your skull through repetition as the song unfolds. It's only three seconds long but has ruled my life for years. Check it out:




Thats the stuff! Damn that little thrashy ending gets nasty doesn't it? Dave Witte's cymbal chokes at the end are the icing on the cake for me. Anyways, Hope you enjoyed this piece of Crunch Time. If you're interested in more of Burnt By The Sun's off kilter metal/hardcore jams try their 2003 album The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good. Bonus points for the Voltaire reference.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Sad Realization...


It just dawned on me that this will be the last month of use for my Big Lebowski calendar. I'm starting to dread 2011 now.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Female Obsession: Kristen Bell

Ah, Kristen Bell. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Seriously. I've been sick this week and watching Kristen Bell clips on youtube has been the only thing keeping me alive. See, I had planned on going to the taping of The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson the other day, when the not only beautiful but ridiculously hilarious Kristen Bell was the scheduled guest but alas, I could barely get out of bed and missed this epic milestone in television history. For those of you who don't know...Ms. Bell has been on The Late Late Show something like 16 or 17 times. Often without anything to promote or talk about. The chemistry between her and Craig is unbelievable. They can and often do, go on wild tangents for extended periods of time that makes for fascinating television. It doesn't hurt that Kristen Bell is cute as hell either. Here's a clip of the show I missed out on this week =/



I had never watched an episode of her old show Veronica Mars before. My girlfriend watched her on Heroes but I never did. It wasn't until her movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall that I actually saw Kristen Bell act in anything. That being said, I had still be smitten with her for years thanks to the power of the internetz and photos like this:




OH LAWD
Shes beautiful. No doubt about it, but once I actually heard her voice and watched her onscreen for myself it was over. Female Obsession was born. As I learned more about her quirky/nerdy qualities over the years and saw how freaking funny she is in interviews, I couldn't help but fall even MORE in love. I mean, just look at her dressed up as Princess Leia in Fanboys. DROOL. You want more? More geeky shit? Alright, here's a clip of Kristen Bell behind the scenes from her Complex photo shoot a few years back. She's in a robe presumably half naked underneath and geeking out with some dudes while searching Youtube. Watch:

inb4 Bel-Air? TOO LATE! Kristen Bell's extended Fresh Prince lyrics FTW people. Oh yeah...she can sing/dance too. It kills me knowing she's engaged to that retarded blonde guy from Punk'd who I shall never refer to by name. Whats the world coming too?! She should be with ME dammit...or maybe Craig Ferguson. Yeah, me or him Kristen, no one else! I even love her wonky eye!


So here's to the lovely Kristen Bell. I swear I'll make it down for your next Late Late Show appearance!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sick

Whats that? You want me to stay in bed all day with you Nurse?
So I'm sick again. For those of you who don't know I have the shittiest immune system ever. My friends dubbed me the "walking virus" back in middle school because I was always coming down with something. After an awesome string of days not working, seeing Weezer and Faith No More in concert and just enjoying myself in general, I guess all the excitement (and COLD FUCKING AIR) finally caught up with me. Forgive the lapse in blogging for the next few days. I'll post reviews for those shows (they ruled so hard) and get back to following you all when my nose clears, throat moistens  and head stops spinning. In the meantime, I'm waiting for my special treatment to arrive:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Movie Review: 127 Hours


wat do
Go see this movie. Really. It's in limited release but should begin playing in more theaters across the country soon. I had to drive down to Hollywood to catch Danny Boyle's latest film but man, I was NOT disappointed. The true story of hiker Aron Ralston's harrowing experience, trapped for five days with his arm pinned under a rock in Utah's Blue John Canyon, has been documented before, in Ralston's book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and various news specials and interviews since the incident in 2003 (like this MUST SEE clip). Spoilers aside, 127 Hours is still one of the best movies I've seen not only this year, but in recent memory. James Franco gives the performance of a lifetime, carrying the entire movie on his shoulders and delivering every step of the way. I know the thought of paying money to see one dude on screen for 90 minutes who eventually chops his arm off (not a spoiler if you clicked the links!) might sound retarded but Franco's stand out performance and Boyle's, literally, in your face direction is something that should not go unappreciated. I ran the gamut of emotions while watching this film. I laughed, I cringed, I almost shouted at the screen during the opening scene where he packs his gear, something I never usually do at home let alone the theater. I was frustrated by his predicament, outraged by his stupidity, in awe of his resourcefulness but most of all, inspired by his determination. I don't know if this film will have much replay value over time, but 127 Hours is something that everyone should see at least once in their lives.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Watain & Goatwhore @ The Whisky, Hollywood. 11/19/10.

This show seemed cursed from the start. Behemoth's triumphant trek across North America with Watain, Withered and Black Anvil was canceled when Nergal announced he was battling Leukemia back in summer. Watain decide to carry on and headline their own tour with Goatwhore supporting instead of Withered. The venue changes from The House of Blues to the uber shitty Whisky Ago Go. Regardless, I was still excited to finally catch Watain live and am always down to see the mighty Goatwhore in action. Of course since the universe hates me, I was not only unable to get the day off from work, but got stuck working overtime on the day of the show. By the time I arrived at Whisky, Goatwhore had just started playing, meaning I missed all of Black Anvil's set (along with all the local bands...but that might have been a good thing) and the venue was pretty packed relegating me to the back. My lackluster vantage point coupled with my shitty (albeit expensive) new camera  resulted in some horribly blurry and utter worthless photos not worth posting. Plus the Whisky has some gestapo ass policy forbidding any form of video recording inside the venue which means this review will have no live pics or videos =/ LAME I know.

So anyways, Goatwhore comes out and lays waste to the place. This was probably my 600th time seeing Goatwhore live or something but I never get sick of these guys. Their brand of thrashy/crusty/black metal has never let me down. Even the last time I saw them play the Whisky as a trio they still kicked ass. Too bad not everyone in the crowd seemed to give a fuck. Some might have been black metal purists and hated on Goatwhore for numerous KVLT infractions they've somehow committed (music videos? Signed to Metal Blade?) but I imagine most were just smug/jaded LA assholes who are too cool to show appreciation for bands that aren't going to impress hipster broads and get them laid. By the end of their set they seemed to win over most the knuckleheads down on the floor as they finished up with "Apocalyptic Havoc." Heres their official low budget but still looks fancy music video for the song:



So Watain takes a while to set up. Set up isn't the right word, more like create the appropriate atmosphere. See, when you're international black metal rockers and real deal satanists like Watain, you can't set foot onstage until the dark lord himself would be satisfied with the presentation. The dozen or so burning candles, the giant flammable pitch forks, the excessive fog and most importantly, the smell. Yes, the fucking SMELL. The band likes to stash their tour clothes/costumes in dirt with dead animals to encapsulate the true aura of death. Watain also like to throw pig's blood and animal heads into the crowd but I guess the folks at the Whisky threatened them with the banhammer for such PETA friendly activity, so while the Hollywood audience was spared the blood and guts aspect of Watain's live shenanigans nobody stopped the band from shooting tons of rancid scented fog into the air to stink the joint up in anticipation of their performance. Imagine someone covering a slab of roadkill in feces then tossed the burning carcass into a skunk orgy. Thats how it smelled inside the Watain show.


(note: They didn't play this song =/ wish they did though)

Watain's live performance was impressive but was hardly the greatest black metal act I've ever seen (Mayhem was TITS last year). As insane as they appear on stage, their music isn't really all that extreme or abrasive. Infact I'd argue they're more of a Satanic punk rock/jam band (if that makes any sense) than black metal (aside from the corpse paint and shit). Either way, They put on a very powerful and at times hypnotic show. Maybe I was tired from working all day, or nauseous from the smell, but I really felt like I was in a trance during "Sworn to the Dark" and was ready to pass out and wake up quacking like a duck or something. I dug their performance, but was glad to walk back to my car in the rain than having to breathe putrid air inside the Whisky any longer.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Movie Review: Due Date

ABORT
I don't know why I do this to myself sometimes. The first time I saw the trailer for Due Date I chuckled slightly and thought, "I'll watch that on cable...one day." I knew right off the bat that this film was not up my alley. So what happens when you're with a group whose mob mentality creates stifling peer pressure? I ended up seeing Due Date that's what happened.

I'm going to make this review short and to the point. This movie isn't horrible. It just isn't very funny either. Yeah and I liked The Hangover, and sure this film stars Zach Galifianakis and was also directed by Todd Philips but lets be crystal clear, Due Date is no Hangover people. The Hangover was such a success because of its ensemble cast (where Galifianakis brought lots of laughs but ultimately shared the limelight with others) and its fill in the blank plot structure kept the audience actively engaged. Due Date has none of this. Instead we watch Galifianakis ham it up in "one trick pony" mode while Robert Downey Jr. stands around and collects a pay check. This odd couple/road trip formula has been done before with much better results. *ahem*

1987's Plains, Trains & Automobiles

1996's Kingpin

Lastly, I could not forgive the blatant The Big Lewbowski ripoff, where Galifianakis stores his father's ashes in a coffee can. C'mon Hollywood...are you trying to piss me off?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rough Weekend

My experiences at work this weekend can be summarized as follows:



[Music & lyrics: Mieszko A. Talarczyk]

When you try too hard
to find meaning in what you see
You forget the origin of the landscape
so carefully laid out at your feet

Is it hard for you to understand?
Does it bother you that I don't fucking care?

I'm not here for you to read me
like an open book, so don't fucking ask
I'm just thinking, thinking loud
bringing words to tongue and moving fast
All this shit you take for granted
leads to nothing, makes no sense
Instead of waiting for being told
maybe you should tell yourself?

You're a slow learner, you'll never last
In a world so cold you're supposed to make it fast!

Disappointed - yes, but this is hardly news
You're disadvantaged from the start
There's no denying it and you are through...

I hate people telling me what to do - fuck you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crunch Time: Celtic Frost

I think I failed to explain in my previous Crunch Time post that this would be an ongoing thing here on my Jim's Fear bloggy blog. No, I totally failed to mention it. Instead of announcing the purpose of the Crunch Time segment, to highlight the awesomeness of my favorite HEAVY metal riffs, I wrote a drawn out "The Black Dahlia Murder is super rad" editorial which is causing me to explain myself here. Oh wells.

Are you Morbid?
So here is Celtic Frost, one of the most important yet criminally underrated metal bands of all time. They may look retarded but seriously, without Celtic Frost, metal's evolution would have been stunted in it's infancy. No Celtic Frost = No Black Metal, No Grindcore, No world I want to live in. The fellow with the luscious blond locks is Thomas Gabriel Fischer aka Tom G. Warrior. Previously of Hellhammer, currently of Triptykon, he will go down in history as the man behind Celtic Frost and creator of this FAT FUCKING RIFF right here (begins at the 8 second mark):



Holy feces, did ya feel that? Huh? I did. Still do after all these years. Tom's opening little Howard Dean scream rules so hard ("Yeeeeeeeeow!") Just about every Napalm Death songs in the past decade has an obligatory "Celtic Frost" part that sounds exactly like this song. So enjoy the epicness of Celtic Frost.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Female Obsession: Famke Janssen

I've been meaning to do "hot famous chick" post for some time, because if it's one thing I dig more than metal and depressing ass movies, its ogling famous broads. I was debating on just who should be the first candidate for the esteemed position of my first Female Obsession post but last night, FATE intervened.

First, I'm a geek and an insomniac. Second, they show re-runs of Star Trek: The Next Generation really late/very early in the morning on TV. Third, that's a match made in heaven people.

Take me now Professor Picard, er...Cpt. Xavier
So I was watching Star Trek at 2AM because I'm so awesome when my eyes almost burst out of their sockets when I saw my home girl Famke Janssen playing a sexy alien trying to get all up in Captain Picard's uniform. She plays a empathic metamorph who uses her physic powers to adapt to the personalities/desires of males, making her the perfect mate. Yes, Famke Janssen played a chick with mental powers alongside Patrick Stewart in 1992. Circle of life. So I watched the whole episode with a dopey grin on my face, because I've worshiped her ridiculously big feet for about ten years now.

She's probably most famous for her role as Jean Grey in the recent X-Men films. Older heads might remember her as Xena Onatopp from Goldeneye. She's a former fashion model, speaks Dutch, English, French and German, studied at Columbia University and has action figures made after her. Drool. The sad part is, I ALMOST met her once. My girlfriend and I met up with some of her family at Disneyland last summer. Her twelve year old cousin runs up to us saying "We met Jean Grey in line on Space Mountain!" I say, "Famke Janssen's here at Disneyland?" before balling up my fist and screaming bloody murder in the middle of Tomorrowland. True story =/

So here are some pics/clips of my favorite 45 year old Dutch actress in the world.




Here she is making a young Conan O'Brien jizz his pants in the first few minutes of this clip:


Here's Famke punking a thinner (but still short) Jon Stewart, her co-star in The Faculty.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Famke Janssen
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

and finally, here's the trailer to my favorite Famke Janssen film, Love & Sex:

I found this flick on late night cable back in 2002 I wanna say. Hoping for softcore cable porn, I found a quirky/entertaining romantic comedy and ended up falling in love with Famke Janssen. I guess being an insomniac has its benefits.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Movie Review: Jackass 3D



"...an elegant weapon for a more civilized age"
You know you're at a strange point in your life when you find yourself cherishing the cinematic reverence of Jackass Number Two. The glory days so to speak. See, I was a sophomore in high school when the first season of Jackass aired. This was like the be-all, end-all form of entertainment for my dumb-ass friends and I. They even started their own little group called, you guessed it, DumbAss. I only participated in a few of their shenanigans at school because, well I'm not totally fucking retarded but still, the point is we and almost every teenage dude on campus loved this type of shit. I remember watching the first Jackass film in the theater with my eyes tearing from laughter. The audience inside was literally howling at the screen. When Number Two came out I had low expectations, expecting a corporate cash crab flick from greedy ass MTV and the desperate Jackass crew who hadn't really amounted to much following the show's demise. Boy was I wrong. I know this is a touchy subject, right up their with the debate between The Godfather V.S. The Godfather Part II, but I honestly think Jackass Number Two trumps the first film. My reasoning? Both films (as well as the TV show) were funny in their slapstick way but I nothing throughout the series' history grossed me out like the "How To Milk a Horse" bit. I literally almost vomited in my seat watching that. I think I saw that movie three different times at the theater. "What? You haven't seen the new Jackass yet?" is what we'd say then boom, off to vomit land.

That was four year ago. Now it's 2010 and the world is a different place. I was actually excited when I first heard the news of Jackass 3D. Anothiter installment from my favorite nearly middle aged juvenile delinquents? Awesome! If they don't have to grow up, maybe I don't either. Well after watching this movie I've concluded maybe it's about time they and my whole generation finally stopped playing feces.

My first gripe with the latest Jackass installment is that it's filmed in 3D. I happen to loathe Hollywood's recent post-Avatar 3D trend. A polished turd of a film that requires me to fork out extra money and wear some annoying glasses is still a fucking turd. The only 3D movie I enjoyed was Piranha 3D, and that's because of Kelly Brook's tits flopping around in glorious three dimensions. All the 3D stuff in Jackass was unnecessary and a waste of the audiences' money as far as I'm concerned.My second problem is, the jokes/gags/stunts just weren't up to par.
Yeah, I chuckled a lot and winced in discomfort a few times but didn't OMG/ROFL like the previous films. I sat in the theater thinking, "Oh look, they're being attacked by animals again. Now they're old guys in make-up again. Now they're..." The giant hand slapper bit was funny but really seemed like a rip off of the boxing glove stunt from Number 2. You could say the same thing about A LOT of this movie. I'd say the jet engine scene was the best stunt in the whole movie. They stand behind a jet plane and get launched by/pelted with objects by it's roaring engine. Other than that it's slim pickens in terms of originality. My third and final complaint about Jackass 3D is the fact that most of the Jackass crew looked old, out of shape and like they didn't even want to be there. Knoxville and Dave England were the only dudes without spare tires or man tits which is kind of sad. I know they aren't exactly spring chickens anymore but c'mon guys, do some sit ups or cut back on the booze if you're gonna try and rock a bikini on the big screen (in 3D no less).

I'm sure most everybody has seen Jackass 3D by now so my negative review is kind of pointless. I planned on making this post after I saw the film but honestly, after a day or two passed I forgot I even saw it. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, I'd recommend waiting for Netflix...and don't even watch the entire movie either, just skip to the ending montage of old photos and clips from the crew's glorious early 2000's heyday, set to the tune of Weezer's "Memories." That was honestly my favorite part of the movie, remembering my DumbAss youth, a time when I paid no taxes and when Jackass was still funny. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hellsongs

Hellsongs- Serving up Swedish bits of Heaven
First, I have to thank the folks at Metalsucks.net for inspiring this post. Strange, the day after my lengthy Pantera rant my favorite metal douche lords post THIS.

What? Didn't click the link provided to their original post? It's alright, I'll break it down for ya. The metalsucks cats posted an AWESOME folksy/indie/acoustic cover of Pantera's "Walk" performed by a Swedish trio called Hellsongs. Apparently, the dudes (and gal) of Hellsongs have been cranking out their quirky lounge versions of metal classics for a few years now. I'll give you a few examples of their handy work to drool over.

In keeping with my recent Pantera binge, here's the original version of Pantera's "Walk."

"Can't you hear, the violins, playing your SOoooooooooooong?!" Damn I love that part.

So here's Hellsongs quirky ass take on this aggro classic.

Mind blown? Mine was.

Here's another example of their hippie/Swedish mind-fuckery:

Yeah, thats "Blackened," by Metallica. Easily one of the most brutal songs they've ever written. Here's how it normally sounds:


The comments on the metalsucks article as well as Hellsongs' youtube videos show just how polarizing stuff like this can be. People either love the breath of proverbial fresh air covers like this provide in the often stale metal community or flat out decry this stuff as retarded, pussy shit. Well, I for one like metal, can be known to act retarded on occasion and happen to embrace my softer "pussy shit" side (see recent Interpol/Arcade Fire posts) so I can't help but gush over what Hellsongs is doing. Check em' out.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

LENGHTY PANTERA POST

I already posted about Pantera's 20th Anniversary of Cowboys From Hell deal back in September (here) yet here I go again with yet another one! Former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo is on the cover of this months issue of Decibel magazine (the only real print publication covering extreme music here in the states). After reading his cover story/interview I couldn't help but feel some Pantera nostalgia wash over me. Like many entry level/teenage metal heads past, present and for the foreseeable future, Pantera was an important gateway band for me. While I had already headed down the evolutionary path of Metallica < Slayer< Sepultura< Death, I still managed to love me some mainstream All- American "Power Groove" via Phil, Rex, Vinnie and Dime from Pantera. Shit was catchy as hell, sounded crystal clear on my disc man and honestly was fun to fucking listen to and or watch. That was perhaps the thing I liked most about Pantera.


Remember their awesome home videos? Shit was hilarious. It was like JACKASS and CKY but with headbangers instead of skateboarders. Who wouldn't have wanted to hang out with these crazy fucks? Thats coming from a straight-edge no drugs/alcohol stick in the mud like myself. I mean, just watch:


My teenage self would much rather hang out with Pantera than say, Cannibal Corpse any day of the week. Pantera likes to smash shit, set off fireworks, hang out with naked chicks and act retarded around the world. How awesome is that?

The other thing I loved about Pantera was the strange dichotomy between it's members. Vinnie and Dimebag were undoubtedly the musical talent. They could shred their respective instruments to hell and jam on a telepathic/brotherly love type vibe that was pretty astounding. The only problem with the redneck Van Halen bros. was their ignorance. Yeah, these boys could play but they knew jack shit about metal. About REAL metal anyways. Vinnie and Dime were always quick to jump on the trend wagon because their metal integrity was a bit lacking. Here's Pantera, the glam metal act in the 1980's.

and here they are again in the early 2000's all up on the Nu-Metal train with their godawful Damageplan. Sigh.

one of these things is not like the other...
Phil joins the band in the late 80's and Pantera magically transforms from Texan cock rock outfit to semi-Thrash AGGRO band jamming with Exodus & Slayer. Hmmmm. Phil's interview in the new Decibel only reiterates what everyone has known all along, that Phil was always the guy in the band with his ear in the underground/extreme metal world. The dude was giving props to Darkthrone and Morbid Angel during the height of Pantera's MTV reign. Phil succeeded in pushing the band to the limits of extremity throughout the 90's. His vocals alone transformed from a rasp, to a bark to a damn near unbearably painful screech by the time the The Great Southern Trendkill came out. Vinnie Paul's double bass work on Far Beyond Driven was and still is pretty sick. Diamond Darrell transformed from that hick who plays cool solos into Dimebag Darrell, guitar legend...period, by the end of the millennium. As for Rex, he plays bass. Leave him alone.

So yeah, the yin and yang of these twisted Southern fellows created one of the sweetest metal bands of all time. The strange Frankenstein monster that was Pantera is gone forever and I'll never forgive myself for passing on a chance to see them on what became their final US tour with Slayer, Static X and Morbid Angel in 2001. So here's some rad youtube clips celebrating the music of  Phil, Rex, Vinnie and Dime. RIP Pantera.


Heres a lovely young thing named Meytal Cohen playing drums to "Cowboys from Hell." She's cute as fuck, has a funny accent, plays drums like a champ, and sometimes wears outfits that make her tits jiggle and sexy legs shine through. You're Welcome.


This is the handy work of some diabolical music teacher who forces his kids/students to jam along to Pantera. It's like a non-gay School of Rock.


Finally, my favorite Pantera music video ever. It's the four of them in a room just rocking the fuck out.
Jesus, Terry Date's production on Far Beyond Driven is AMAZING. Dime's guitar tone is a thing of beauty here. Vinnie snare sounds like he's chopping wood with an ax, Rex has probably the sickest groove here than on any other Pantera album and Phil's voice is straight up lethal. Sounds like he's been gargling nails.

So go listen to Pantera. Watch their always entertaining home videos on Youtube if you're lazy/cheap. Subscribe to Decibel and read Phil's new interview and pay homage to the man by shaving your head like I did.
RE-SPECT-WALK

Monday, November 8, 2010

Interpol @ The Greek Theatre, 10/23/10.

After a five year drought, I saw Interpol play two shows in two months.

Their free record release gig in Hollywood this past September was pretty awesome. Sure, their new album kind of sucks (erase kind of) but some of the new material actually sounds better live. Either way, watching Interpol rock out for an hour in a parking lot, near the front of the tiny ass stage was so badass...their real concert at the Greek just couldn't match the experience.

We caught the last few songs from the opening band White Rabbits. They weren't horrible, just not my cup of tea I suppose. Our seats were closer than my last Interpol show at the Greek (where I froze my balls off in the cheap seats), but still too far for me to get any decent photos or video =/

The band's setlist was pretty rad. They blended some of their non-horrible new songs pretty seamlessly with favorite cuts off Antics (C'mere, Slow Hands, Not Even Jail, Narc, Take You On a Cruise, Evil) and a few Turn on the Bright Lights classics (PDA, Say Hello to Angels). The only song they played off Our Love to Admire was "Rest My Chemistry" which was kind of odd. I know a lot of fans stand divided over that record (I don't really love it all that much myself) but its far superior to the new album and I guess they had to cut something from somewhere. Their encore was all SICK:
  • Untitled
  • NYC
  • Stella Was a Diver and She Was Always Down
  • Obstacle 1
Yeah, all Bright Lights era jams had  the audience queefing pretty hard. I personally lost my shit when they played "NYC." I mean, just watch (courtesy some jerk with a waaaay better seat than me)


It's strange that this show was marred by three separate "incidents," where three different male fans rushed the stage and tried to get at Paul Banks while he was singing/playing mid song and almost NO FOOTAGE has popped up online. First some guy jumps onstage and actually tries to kiss Paul on the cheek or something before being hauled away. Another fellow climbs up and is tackled mid-air by security as he lunges at Paul. The last and most freakish outburst came during the "Stella Was a Diver..." near the end of the night when some maniac rushed Paul and knocked his mic stand down, broke free from security and had to be wrestled off stage with Daniel playing guitar on the side looking confused as fuck. It's funny that the band did not miss a beat, never stopped playing and didn't even really talk about what had happened either. I guess it's common place for dudes trying to molest Interpol these days or what?!

Check out the only footage I can find of Paul's insane 3rd admirer here:

dude tries to get frisky around the 2:20 mark

So yeah, Interpol's Greek show was great. Paul's voice sounded stronger than ever (unlike how nasal he sounds on the new record...haters gonna hate?) and yeah, Carlos D looked cool dressed up like a Hitler youth with his bass hung all low but these two shows proved that the band can carry on just fine without him. Sadly, as cool as the Greek concert was, I don't think anything will beat their earlier gig...unless they play in my apartment or something.