Monday, June 20, 2011

The Importance of the $10 T-Shirt: Abysmal Dawn, Vital Remains, Origin and Hate Eternal Live at Emo's

So on Wednesday of last week, I went to check out some brutal tech-death live at Emo's in Austin, TX.  As a relentless and unapologetic fretwatcher, I was duly stoked to see Origin live for the first time, and Abysmal Dawn for the second.  Those two bands are a fretwatcher's dream; Paul Ryan and Charles Elliot are both guitar pornographers for the masturbating fretwatcher, and I got to see them both in the same place.  It was a difficult proposition, too, because after only a couple of songs, your dick starts to get all sore from the abuse that it's taking, but it's really difficult to control yourself.

And now there's a sweep picking passage...*moan*...

The brutality as at Category 5 that night; if the show were a hurricane, Kanye West would be accusing Barack Obama of not caring about black people while Mike Meyers flees the telethon.  It was the real deal.  Vital Remains' guitarist was even rocking a custom inverted cross guitar with light up siguls on the body.  It was the exact kind of guitar that somebody who doesn't listen to death metal would buy if they were trying to get in to a death metal band.

Tony Lazaro: "I'm trying to join this band.  They tour and have lots of goats and pentagrams and things on their merch, and I need to fit it.  I need a guitar that looks like death metal incarnate, and make sure it's pointy!"

Guitar Center employee: (taking a break from playing blues licks) "Right on, let's see what we have.  Death metal dudes like the Randy Rhodes flying-V." (points to one hanging on the wall)

Tony Lazaro: "That's pretty pointy, but I'm looking to set myself apart from the rest of the pack.  Don't you have something with inverted cross inlays?"

Guitar Center employee:  "Actually, we do, but the guitar itself is ludicrously oversized and requires fifteen D batteries to power the light up symbols on the body.  It's completely retarded looking and can barely be played.  Here it is."

(Guitar is unveiled with a chorus of angels singing behind it)

Tony Lazaro: "Now THAT'S pointy!  I'll take it!"

 Luckily Vital Remains is a good band, otherwise this would be wholly unacceptable.

All of the bands played very well except Hate Eternal, whose music I've never understood and whose live show was pretty boring and meandering.  I don't know what it is about Hate Eternal that makes their music fly right over my head, but I seriously have never been able to hear what the big deal is about them.  I was really hoping that seeing them live would change my mind, but the only thing that I could think about was that Erik Rutan was more heavyset in real life than I thought he would be.

Sorry, Erik Rutan.
Origin was amazing, and their new singer knows how to get the crowd all whipped into a frenzy.  This was the first show I've ever been to in Austin that had people crowdsurfing and moshing nonstop.  I go to lots of shows, and the Austin local crowd is pretty laid back, but tonight they wanted to be in the mix, fucking shit up, and everyone else in attendance was happy to help them do a Wayne's World-style crowdsurf.  Abysmal Dawn and Vital Remains were excellent as well, with tasty licks and proselytizing to the crowd about how God doesn't exist and is stupid.

Standard stuff, really.
The only downside to the evening is that the merch was powerfully overpriced.  I went and was perusing the selection at Abysmal Dawn's merch table, and they were selling shirts for $20 to $30.  What the fuck?  I came to this show with an extra ten bucks to buy some Origin merch or something, and you're telling me that every shirt costs double what I have? 

Now I'm sad.
I know this was a big tour, and that these bands play larger club venues on the weekends to thousands of screaming nerds.  Some of those nerds probably have deep nerd pockets, too.  I would have expected to see the merch cost a lot if I went to this show at the Key Club (which is where I would have to go if I still lived in California), but I was hoping for a little bit of a price break at a 300 person show on the inside (read: small) stage of our local larger club venue.  And Charles from Abysmal Dawn was giving me the business about how they needed gas money to get to the next show.  I know that, buddy.  But I make blogger money, which is less than it sounds, and can't just go throwing around Andrew Jacksons like the King of Siam.  So I was forced to buy no merch, because I literally couldn't afford it.

Dear bands,
If you're Iron Maiden or you're playing a legitimate stadium-style venue, you can charge whatever cockamamie price you want for a t-shirt.  I know that you need to make ends meet on the road; I have to make them meet at home, too.  I'm happy to pay for a shirt or a record or something.  In fact, it's one of my life's greatest pleasures.  But don't price things up like you're on the road with Metallica.  I want to give you all of my money and get a couple of things, not just spend $20 on a shirt that was made for a 4'10", obese death metal nerd.  I don't want a wide, billowy belly shirt for $20.  That's far too big of a risk.  Dial it back and make sure that I can justify spending the money, because I, like many other people, want to own all of your ridiculous shirts and stuff.  But you're totally cockblocking us from doing it.

Monsoon Cobra
(on behalf of the Sell Merch at a Reasonable Price Coalition, LLC)

If this show is coming your way, you should totally go see it.  You won't be disappointed unless you want to buy a shirt, and then you're going to be super bummed out.  Follow the link to the dates, and check out the new Origin and Hate Eternal albums, which are really easy and fun to steal.

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