November 11, 2012
New York, New York
This is the music your parents should have warned you about.
This is the music you should be afraid of stumbling upon in a darkened alley somewhere in an unnamed, storm-drenched city in the Pacific Northwest. This is scuzzy dirtbag music made by beastly werewolves from the wild streams and black-cloud skies of Portland, Oregon. This is music for your beard, your long hair and for very young children. This is music to drink beer to, lots of beer.
This is Red Fang and they are a heavy acid-trip outfit that worship the lumberjack riff and lay it down low and lean, like downshifting backwards in a tornado.
Did I mention beer?
The pre-show ritual is a wandering street brawl of a beer run that leaves everybody bloodshot and amped for an audio assault that only the unruly dudes in Red Fang could possibly deliver.
Bring this shit on.
So the set is a desolate road trip through the demolished nations of the molten universe, and you shouldn’t forget you’re on this Earth for an average of about 74.5 years so you’d better soak this shit up now while there’s still time cause Red Fang may just decide its like, End Times out there, and you definitely don’t want that shit sneaking up on you, do you?
But all doom and gloom aside, Red Fang is not really pushing to end it all, at least not tonight, and has the crowd in an utterly wide-eyed and spiritualized mood. This deranged loco-train rolls on for what feels like rock and roll eternity and the crowd is a sweaty and pummeled mess.
They flipped my fucking lid. Seriously. I’ve been listening to this track “Deep Roots Stirring” on repeat for days. Like, several hours in a row. The whole work day. No shit. This doesn’t happen very often, if at all. Not at this level. Fuck me, I love Massachusetts hard rock. Now and forever.
So the only thing left to do at this point is to head over to the internets because I need to find out where Elder is playing next so I can hop a flight to Akron or some such shit if I need to. Fuck, I’ll go to Trenton if I have to, or what’s that shithole in Massachusetts again? Oh yeah, Worcester. But you know what? I find out they’re playing right here in our very own shithole, Williamsburg. That’s right, just a borough away. Fucking Brooklyn. Fuck me, again. Like, how can this get any better? It can’t.
So I’m stoked and I grab my mate and we’re off and running on a colossally fucked up New York night, with the pelting rain and the bone cold chill and the fucking packed L train and the creepy abandoned industrial byways of the 3rd District of the Village of Williamsburg. But we make it. The very large dudes outside the club ask if we’re in the right place and I believe we are because there’s absolutely nothing else around–no deli, no bar, no nothing. My hand gets stamped and we’re in. The club is your typical cinderblock-and-drywall shitbox, but it’s fine for us because Elder is here and it can only get better once they hit the stage and unleash that New England riff-blizzard that has been crushing the synapses in my brain for too many hours now.
The scene is standard northeast metal, but slightly younger. We notice more rivets and leather jackets. There’s also some bad art on the walls. Not sure what that means, if anything. The doom shows are usually populated by the bearded flannel-types who stand in the back, arms folded, and move only from the neck up. But no matter, there are spots open at the bar and it feels like a god-given right that there should be open stools, just for us. Plastic cups of Lagunitas are served up by lady bartenders who just could not give a fuck. I mean, no fucks at all. I’m not even sure they looked anybody in the eyes, or had any eyes, that’s how fucking Eastern Bloc they were.
So a band takes the stage and they’re not a trio, so it’s not Elder. No problem. There’s plenty of beer to be had and plenty of shit to look at.
Two more please, you fine ladies of zero fucking emotion.
We’re here because it’s been preordained, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. What lies ahead is unknown and filled with promise. The promise of some hard-hitting shit from the cradle of the new world. And so this band’s set is a bit too operatic metal for our tastes–there’s lots of Jesus Christ Superstar with Flying Vs and shit coming off the stage–and it seems to go on longer than your average opener, but we’re still sitting tight because the chance to hear “Deep Roots Stirring” live in all its 12-minute glory is enough to make me wait longer than forever and not complain one bit about anything ever again. Even East fucking Williamsburg.
And then these words from the stage:
“Thanks, we’re Elder.”
Uh, what did he say? Did that dude just say, “we’re Elder?”
There’s ANOTHER Elder?
I’m not sure I can describe the feeling of getting the rug pulled out from under your barstool because that doesn’t really happen in reality and there were no actual rugs, but it was kinda like that. Or maybe it was more a feeling that the world just sold you a fucking bridge to nowhere and you were somehow beaten at a game you had no idea you were even playing.
So yeah, we saw an entirely different Elder. Like, not even close. These dudes were not the doom crushers from the great state of Massachusetts, but a bunch of synth-goth kids with a fucking laptop from the 3rd District of the Village of Williamsburg, or Akron. Fuck me. But not in the fuck me I’m gonna like it sort of way. More like the fuck me this is gonna suck ass type of thing.