Concerts

Combichrist at Slim’s in SF

Check out Combichrist at one of their upcoming shows!

Night Club

Night Club’s Emily Kavanaugh. Photo by me.

I literally JUST made it to Slim’s in time to catch Night Club.  Thanks to a heavy social media presence AND the rallying of many of my favorite musicians, I was super stoked to check them out.  The duo definitely did NOT disappoint.  Mark Brooks and Emily Kavanaugh brought their energy to the stage.  As she twirls around the stage flirting with the audience, Kavanaugh brings beauty to headbanging.  Brooks backs her up as a one-man band.  And it’s not like he just sits there either, he is just as animated.  (A small part of me wanted to stand behind him to see just exactly what he was doing.) Night Club ended their short set with two fan favorites:  “Dear Enemy” and “Bad Girl.”

Wednesday 13

Wednesday 13. Photo by me.

I had heard of Wednesday 13, but never really checked into them because… so many bands so little time.  I was impressed with what I saw though.  I can greatly appreciate intricate stage make-up, props, and costume changes.  Wednesday 13 definitely brings a lot to a small stage.  While their stage presence was pretty cool, I have to admit they didn’t do much for me.  Maybe it is because I am not familiar with their music that created the disconnect.   I spent most of the set watching the bassist, who for the love of all things unholy I cannot seem to find a name for.  He was definitely talented and it was fun to watch him.  Either way, if Wednesday 13 rolled through town again in support of a band I liked, I’d make the effort to be at the venue early enough to see their show again.

Combichrist

What a pleasant surprise this show was!  Not only was Combichrist in full swing, but Nick Rossi is back!  And Elliot Berlin?!  Definitely wasn’t expecting to see that lovely Swede on stage.  The only absent spot belonged to Brent Ashley.  While I did find that I missed him on stage, Andy LaPlegua and Eric 13 made sure to use the whole stage. It was very refreshing to see the band give their all.  The last time they played Slim’s, everyone was either recovering from or suffering through the stomach flu.

Andy was definitely in a good mood for the show.  You could see it and feel it.  In the past, it always felt more like he had to be there.  But this show was so different.  he was not only running around the stage, but smiling and attempting to get as close as possible to all the fans.  I truly appreciate his exuberant vitality.  Andy is one of those musicians that you develop a deep respect for when you realize everything he is involved in.

I didn’t realize how much I missed Nick Rossi being a part of the show until I saw him reunited with the band.  That dude undoubtedly belongs on the stage with Combichrist.  He plays with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning.  If you’ve never seen Rossi play with the band, imagine a kid standing ON his drum set because he’s so excited.  That’s Nick.  He and Joe Letz play off each other well.  They toss drumsticks back and forth, for entertainment.  Towards the end of the set, Rossi came out from behind his drums to steal Eric 13’s microphone.  But even that wasn’t good enough for Rossi.  One minute he was on stage, the next gone–crowdsurfing through the rambunctious audience of Slim’s.  (I’m actually surprised that kid didn’t lose his pants) . But he was into it.  I’ve never seen such a big smile.

Elliot Berlin. Photo by me.

Elliot Berlin also became a scene-stealer for me, in particular because I wasn’t even expecting him to be on stage.  I’m fairly certain he saw me resting on my Aesthetic Perfection hoodie because he was wearing his while setting up his keyboards.  And I’m going to be honest, I don’t know how he does it.  The dude was straddling the risers Joe and Nick 80% of the show.  I mean he was jumping and carrying his keyboard around… and just going for it.  (I’m sure he probably thinks I’m some kinda creeper for staring at him while he was setting up.)

Eric 13 on guitar. Photo by me.

On top of an amazing set, the show was full of many surprises.  I spent at least half the show staring at either Eric 13 or Andy’s crotch.  I swear, I am NOT a perv.  Their crotches just happened to be in my face for at least half the show.  That’s kinda the beauty of Slim’s.  No barricades between you and the artist.  You are up against the stage, enjoying the entire show.

The guitar pick Eric 13 so graciously gave me. Now safely stored with all my other treasures. AKA my phone case to carry with me at all times.

About three songs in, Eric 13 looked right at me and handed me his guitar pick.  Well, color me surprised!  I was NOT expecting that.  Slightly dumbfounded, I said “Thank you” and tucked it into my wallet.  Several ladies around me expressed that they both loved and hated me for the gift I was given.  And honestly, I still don’t get why he gave it to me.  There were a lot of prettier girls around than me… but… I humbly add it to my pick collection.

The show became even more exhilarating and Joe Letz was having a field day.  Joe Letz is, like, 75% of the reason I even buy a ticket to a Combichrist show.  He is one of the most consummate performers I have ever seen.  His characters on stage combined with his style of play is definitely worth the price of the ticket.  Standing in the “Splash Zone,”  I was constantly having his drum thrown in my face, avoiding casual drumsticks, and enjoying the cool plash of water as he beat the drums.  After returning 10+ drumsticks to his drum tech, I finally called it a day and kept the one I had deflected from hitting another concert goer.  I’ll frame it and hang it with my autographed cymbal from Knotfest.

Eric 13’s show used guitar pick and Joe Letz’s show used drumstick.

Bottom line:   If Combichrist is playing near you, make the trek to go see them.  You won’t be disappointed.

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