Full day of rock! That was last Thursday. I booked a half day off work so that Smash and I could meet up at 1:00 for Sounds of the Underground at the PNE Forum. Now, the Forum is a grim old barn with bloody awful sound, and this year's SOTU lineup was nowhere near as appealing as last year's excellent bill (incl. Opeth, Strapping Young Lad, High on Fire, and Clutch), but SOTU is a really well-run event that avoids tedium by keeping to a tight schedule with lots of bands playing short sets. As well, the day was abbreviated via the cancellation of Trivium and possibly The Chariot (who might have played in the first half hour that we missed).
Through the Eyes of the Dead were at it when we arrived. The sound was like a wind tunnel, but their drummer impressed by being audible and having some killer kick drum chops. Evergreen Terrace's music sounded very poppy in comparison. They were fronted by a funny kid who was all limbs and blond hair. I don't think they went over too well. We skipped out to get some lunch. Behemoth were on next, and they've got a killer act—black metal with spikes and corpsepaint and choreographed hair twirling. Even the drummer was windmilling away. The sound had improved by this time, so their musical might was in full force. The Black Dahlia Murder impressed as well, although their grindy material didn't translate very well in the big room. In a small club these guys would slay. No such problem with Terror, though. I've said before that I don't normally like this kind of bully rock hardcore, but Terror are so damn good at it that I can't help but embrace what they do. Given the festival circumstances, the usual Terror speeches about scene unity took a back seat to commands for the crowd to "get on top of each other" and similar gym class shenanigans. Still, they ruled! 3 Inches of Blood went down really well, but I've never cottoned on to them. Cannibal Corpse will forever be tainted by the time we endured them (and some racist asshole fans) at the Starfish Room many years ago. From a distance at the Forum, bludgeoning through a brief set, they were still just okay. With our plan to skip out on headliners As I Lay Dying in place, In Flames closed off the event for us. Unrestrained! magazine did a rather daft cover story a few issues back with the headline "Why does everyone hate In Flames?" It probably should have said "Why do jaded, elitist metal writers hate In Flames?" because everyone doesn't hate In Flames. A Forum full of people bloody loved them, especially those big hits with the big choruses and sequenced keyboard parts that the drummer has to play behind using a click track. Whatever. In Flames have the material and staging to headline big gigs like this. I don't think I've seen a better light show since Genesis on the "Mama" tour in '83, back when Vari-lites were the big new thing.
Smash and I split to go home for a couple hours, then we met up again to go to the Commodore for The Eagles of Death Metal and Peaches. I didn't know that they were alternating headline slots during the tour, so I was surprised that TEoDM were going strong when we entered the club. It was a love-fest between band and crowd. The whole gig was an unknown quantity for me, not being too familiar with either act. The Eagles of Death Metal played pop-punk with poise and panache, sort of like the Ramones crossed with Roxy Music. They dropped a couple covers into their set—"Brown Sugar" and "Beat on the Brat"—then for their grand finale, invited ladies up on stage with them until there was barely any room for the band to move. Crazy. Peaches had her work cut out to top that. She opened her set over by one of the side bars, her face shrouded by a glitzy silver cape with cowl. After the opening number she cut through the crowd to the stage for the rest of the show. There's something gormless and endearing about Peaches, even when she's stripped down to her skivvies and telling us to "fuck the pain away." Maybe it's the way she balances awkwardly atop the drum kit or attempts to strike a pose on top of the PA stack, or the fact that her band (which included JD Samson of Le Tigre) made heavy use of the keytar. Anyway, I should just leave it at that. Fancylady wanted to go but I couldn't score an extra ticket, and she responds with a dreadful silence whenever I try to mention anything about this show. God forbid she should read this.