So we braved the drive into L.A. last night to go see the Finnish Metal Tour at the Key Club. I suppose I should feel all properly Angelino, now, having attended a show at such a famous venue. Alas! I am not hip enough to give a damn. I was happiest that the parking was under $10, and close, and that there was a kick-ass pizza place down the street that made calzones the size of a football (seriously). It's probably famous, too; there were many famous people's signatures on the walls. But I don't care about that, either, because the calzone was good. So there.
Finnish metal did not, alas, include Amorphis, but there were parts of old!Amorphis in Barren Earth, and parts of Moonsorrow and Swallow the Sun, as well. Recipe for win! And I loved them live exactly as much as I love them recorded. They're also a poor fit for the LA crowd of bouncy jaded can-I-mosh-to-this metalheads, being doomy and dark and melodic and...okay, I was going to say "talented" but that's not exactly fair. L.A. recognizes talent just fine; it just values flash a lot more, and Barren Earth is not flashy. Still. They were my favorites. They were also the first band (after the competent opening local act), so between them and Finntroll we had a couple hours of other bands--not exactly killing time, because that's not fair, but not as pumped up for them. But bonus! Vreth from Finntroll was wandering the crowd, and ended up spending Rotten Sound's set talking to the VIPs not 5 feet from me. If you don't know why that's a good thing, google him. Assuming you are inclined to slim dark long-haired men, you will see why I approved of his proximity.
And let me just add, as an aside, that I love how the bands do wander the crowds before and after their sets, and sometimes hang out at the merch tables. You can talk to them. They talk back. Or at least--you can wave and mouth "Good show!" or flash them horns or whatever, and they acknowledge and wave back.
I wanted to like Ensiferum, and I guess I did, musically, on their own merit (female keyboardist for the win!)--but their crowd was peppered with baby skinheads (and one elder skinhead), which was distracting. I get that so-called Viking metal appeals to the white power dipshits, but I always depressed when I see those people, especially the young ones, especially in a place like L.A. where 'but I've just never met anyone besides white folks' is not an excuse, and especially-especially when they're sharing a pit with non-white folks who love the same band. I share my spouse's disappointment in universal justice: the refrigerator-sized Mexicans should have crushed the baby skinheads in the pit, but they didn't. Possibly because the baby skinheads were staying near the edges (where we were, letting us get a nice eyeful of their crappy little hate-filled tattoos) and avoiding the middle of the pit itself. The elder skin had no such fear, however, and was more violent than necessary in the pit itself. Doubly vexing: the elder skin, who had to be north of my age by a good handful or so, had a massive Thor's hammer on his (massive) chest, and an Odin scowling out from between his shoulder blades. Fuck you, dude. May Hunin and Mugin feast on your eyes.
[allow me to wax briefly shallow: I appreciate that it's hot in the pit, and I get that taking one's shirt off is some expression of manliness, fine, and I know most men are athletes and that some men have...more fur...than others. But knowing and seeing are two different things, and I'd as soon skip the second thing, kthxbai.]
Anyway, the skinhead sightings made Nous very grumpy. They made me very grumpy, too, but he has an extra special hate for them. I was glad that they all left, like roaches scattering from the light, before Finntroll came on. And Finntroll rocked. Their crowd was nearly as frenzied, if a touch smaller; and it was skinhead free. There were more asshats, though...the sort who are big bulky men, easily three of me, shoving into spaces meant for people half my size who then use me as the padding between their asses and the metal rails as they hold back the pit. I did not appreciate that, and I have sharp elbows. Asshat found somewhere else to go, and after that it was screaming and jumping around and destroying my voice for teaching today. But no pit! I am too wise for pits. Moshers are too much like zombies for my tastes. Hairy, sweaty, bigger-than-me zombies.
Anyway, I am pretty sure my afternoon Ashtanga class is going to kill me.