Melt-Banana’s joyful noise.

035It’s been a few weeks since I saw Melt-Banana at Harlow’s, and for some reason I just can’t get their set out of my mind.  Part of this is no doubt due to the fact that I actually got to see Melt-Banana; sure, they’ve toured the states many times, but keep in mind that I was living in the middle of Iowa up until a year ago, not exactly a hotbed for extreme and/or experimental music.  Since we’ve moved to Sacramento, I’ve already had the pleasure of seeing a handful of bands I never imagined I’d get the opportunity to see without traveling great distances (Sargeist and Ufomammut immediately spring to mind), and the Japanese duo are probably number one on the “holy shit, I can’t believe they’re actually playing where I live” list so far.

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Incantation / Funerus / Mortuous / Plague Widow @ Starlite Lounge, Sacramento, CA, 01/12/2015

1658248_10154919648200389_4327905701464784151_oThere’s no shortage of great shows happening in Sacramento every month, but the dregs of being a responsible adult often keep me from going to them.  When you’re a corporate lackey that gets up for work bright and early at 6:45 AM, going to a show on a weeknight that doesn’t even start until 8:00 PM isn’t really in the cards.  But there was no way I was going miss out on Incantation; the death metal legends are celebrating their 25th anniversary with a string of West Coast dates, and with Funerus, Mortuous and Plague Widow in tow, this one was guaranteed to be a rager.

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Dispirit and the art of total immersion.

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As a heavy metal fan, I’ve seen dozens of amazing shows.  But I can probably count on one hand the number of shows that fully immersed me, the ones that made real life and all the horrific mundanity that goes with it melt away completely, the ones that made me feel like I was alone in the universe with nothing but the band and the music.  Dispirit’s headlining set at the Starlite Lounge last Sunday night was one of them.

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Dropdead / Full of Hell / Noisem / Plague Widow / RAD @ Midtown Barfly, Sacramento, CA 08/24/14

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My second show in Sacramento was in some ways a throwback to my younger years in Des Moines; I used to walk down to Hairy Mary’s by myself to see shows because my sorry ass didn’t have a car and to make matters worse I didn’t know anyone else who gave a shit about the underground.  Not being much of a grindcore fan, my wife decided to sit out Sunday’s matinee at the Midtown Barfly, and as a result I found myself flying solo once again, which is always a delightfully awkward experience given that I’m not exactly the most outgoing person out there.  Also, many of those shows I hoofed it to back in the day were heavy on grindcore bands such as Black Market Fetus, Strong Intention, Catheter, Entrails Massacre and Phobia, to name but a few, so I was excited to experience a show in a similar vein in my new city.  A complete and utter lack of social skills doesn’t matter much when you’re being pummeled at a million miles an hour by some of the most vicious and unrelenting music out there.

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My first show in Sacramento.

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When my wife and I first started talking seriously about moving to Sacramento, one of the main draws for me was the opportunity to take in a lot of live music.  Sure, metal shows do happen back home in Des Moines, but they are few and far between, seemingly getting more and more scarce by the year, so in this respect moving to the West Coast was a total no-brainer.  I started looking for shows well in advance of coming out here, and the one that immediately caught my eye was the sole Northern California date on Finnish black metallers Sargeist’s current US tour, w/ support coming from Killgasm, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis and Valdur.

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