Two weeks ago I saw the Thermals at the Black Cat, and while they were awesome, the opening act stole the show, a duo from Brooklyn called The Big Sleep. Pretentious Chandler reference aside, I've been listening to their record pretty much nonstop for a few days now. It's a little less impressive than the live show; there's a certain loudness that they toned down in the studio, which sucks, but I've approached the feeling by playing it really loudly.
I was reminiscing about shows this week. The first concert I went to, Metallica at the San Diego Sports Arena in January of 1992, was a solo affair. My parents dropped me off and picked me up, which was less embarrasing than it sounds; logistics dictated that I be dropped off far from anyone who might have seen me, sparing me any mortification.
This was of course Metallica's "black album" tour. I was disappointed in the album, having lived for the previous year on a pure and holy diet of their first four albums, but excited to see my first concert. I was fifteen and had grown my hair out for the first time. I had gotten floor seats at the arena, maybe twentieth row, and probably would have gotten even better seats had I not allowed some 909 types at the Ticketmaster outlet to piggyback on my top-notch lottery number. In retrospect I should have been aghast that there were seats at all, instead of a mass of humanity, but I was young and didn't know what was appropriate.
The show was incredible; I have few specific memories but recall it being almost three hours of awe. Almost dissociative happiness. Eight minutes of The Four Horsemen. For Whom The Bell Tolls. Fade To Black. Master of Puppets. Battery. One. The only sour note was the band combining three epic ravers from And Justice For All into a "Justice Medley" which was itself screwed up by Kirk Hammett cocking up the climax of the title track's solo. He was wearing a Sisters of Mercy t-shirt, and I later became obsessed with the Sisters of Mercy, and only much later realized that he had planted the seed. He now distinguishes himself in my mind with the faint praise of being the lesser tool than Lars Ulrich or James Hetfield.
A final note: there was no opening act, which at the time I had no appreciation of. Only recently did it hit me what an astonishingly selfish act that was, to refuse to help out a less well-known band. Tools.
Tonight I'm seeing Explosions in the Sky at the 9:30 Club. I'm bringing my girlfriend, who might not like it, but I had an extra ticket (premonitions of couplehood at the time the show was announced?) and there will at least be decent people-watching if it's not her thing.