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Global Domination | Witnessed | Down, 2009-09-11

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Down, 2009-09-11

06/10/09  ||  Daemonomania

Who: Down and some other bands who might be good, like the Melvins.
Where: The spiffy Nokia Theater, Manhattan.
When: The inauspicious September 11, 2009.

Just to get this outta the way, the only Down worth owning is the first one. “Nola” has one fucken hit after the next. Production killed the follow-up, and an attempt to be psychedelic wounded the third. Therefore, any Down concert where they don’t simply play “Nola” from start to finish will have some problems in my book. And if the band did that, they would acknowledge the fact that one third of their career has been great and the rest has been mediocre. A classic standoff, which is best understood through the prism of Japanese culture, results. See below:

- Saving face is crucial in Japanese society.

- The Japanese believe that turning down someone’s request causes embarrassment and loss of face to the other person.

- If the request cannot be agreed to, they will say, ‘it’s inconvenient’ or ‘it’s under consideration’.

- Face is a mark of personal dignity and means having high status with one’s peers.

- The Japanese will try never to do anything to cause loss of face.

Sadly, no one in Down is Japanese. So their setlist for the evening was, as I recall:

Lysergik Funeral Procession
Pillars of Eternity
New Orleans is a Dying Whore (which, to be fair, sounds much better live)
The Path
Ghosts Along the Mississippi
Losing All
Eyes of the South
Nothing in Return
Uh, some Van Halen song
Hail to the Leaf
Stone the Crow
Bury Me In Smoke

Yeah. Mostly “Nola”, but not all. The equivalent of saying “it’s inconvenient”, perhaps?

To give a bit of background on the day of the event, I attended with man about town, ex-staffer, leering schoolteacher, and woman-choker Inquizzitor. The two of us had seen Down together about a year and change ago, and decided that attending their performance again might rekindle the flames that had made our dudelovin’ so hot that wintry eve past. The wife was supposed to attend as well, but she had a last-minute family emergency. Going to the show despite her distress was my first mistake. Complaining later that she “always seemed to have these problems right when I’m going to a show” was definitely my second. Down, I have paid a hefty price for thee. On a side note, her ticket was snapped up in record time on Craiglist. Yay internet.

So we threw back a few brews and hailed the leaf in Brooklyn, then rode into a rainy midtown to sell my ticket to some dude at one of New York City’s premier bars, Ruby’s. They have $2.50 drafts and free hotdogs. Nuff said. The place was filled to the brim with fellow Downers, and many a great metal discussion was enjoyed by all. The name Global Domination flowed from my lips like so much manjuice which couldn’t be swallowed.

Thoroughly soused, we stumbled into the Nokia Theater and missed some other fucken bands, The Melvins, and maybe a song or two by the headliners themselves. Oh well. It was delightful to be embraced by a crowd full of sweaty morons, the scent of good weed in the air and eight dollar shit beers in hand. Plus the warm, wonderful sound of the band kicking some ass. My impressions from the evening are these, in list form since that seems to be a theme in this review:

- Philthy Anselmo’s voice didn’t sound half as good as it did last time I saw him. Maybe he was all hyped up in Pantera mode or something, but at that show a year ago he seemed to be focusing on hitting the notes and did a tremendous job. Here he was more intent on stalking around the stage, semi-screaming, and getting the crowd to clap in time. Or chant dumb shit like “USA! USA!” It was Sept. 11, after all.

- On the subject of Phil, duder has some serious tattoos. Envy fills me. He’s obviously putting a lot of money into his arms. Wait for it….ZIIIIINGGGGGG.

- Kirk is a lot shorter than I thought. Always pictured him to be sort of mountainous, but unless the rest of the band was wearing well-concealed stilts he is none too huge. And he absolutely goddamn rules. Can’t forget that small item. Dude took a crowbar to a box full of great riffs, solos, and general on-stage coolness. Pried that sucker right open. Did that make sense?

- Pepper seemed to be less of a dominating presence, though I was on the wrong side of the stage to see what he was up to. However, the guitars were spot-on throughout and were easily the best thing about the show. My neck still hurts, so I guess it was metal – BITCH!

- Didn’t feel the “Bower Power” this time ‘round. Solid but nothing flashy behind the kit.

- Phil K. Philipselmo poured some musical malt liquor out for Dimebag. Obligatory. He really seems physically incapable of shutting his trap between songs, and will rant incoherently at length about any subject that happens to come to mind.

- The end of “Bury me in smoke” went on for ten minutes, as that last delicious riff was played over and over by a rotating cast of characters including roadies, audience members, postal service employees, and Stalin. Very rad.

So that’s it, another metal gig and a few gallons ov beer consumed. The vocal performance may have hurt Down’s performance overall, but with a buzz in my brain and my bromey 4 lyfe IG at my side, what more can a man request? Nothing.

On a final note, despite a preponderance of couches in my living room the Quizzmaster was asked to sleep on the floor (they’re expensive and don’t react well to ape hair). This unfortunate situation prompted B-more’s finest to exclaim, as he uncomfortably settled in for a night’s sleep on the hardwood,

“This is the worst thing to happen on September 11. EVER.”