Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Zombie Rituals (Rob Zombie, Stage AE, 6-16-15)

Three of us hit the Rob Zombie show last night at Stage AE.  I've never really listened to his brand of biker goth metal.  I think I saw White Zombie (a more formalized, sophisticated version of the band) over a decade ago.  It was at one of those endless headbanger ball, OzzFest-type collaborations.  At the time, it really didn't leave much of an impression.

Well last night definitely had an impact.  Beyond the dreadlocks and vampire makeup, this was a pure rock concert. I'd go into a detailed description but what I witnessed defies a routine review.  You pretty much need to see this one for yourself.  One observation: the concert was loud but it wasn't absurd.  Ironically, the New Kids on the Block show at Consol was louder and way more distorted.  There's good loud and there's bad loud.  Last night was good loud.  NKOTB was stupid loud.

Two big highlights.  The first one was the reemergence of the 666 Mutha Fucka t-shirt.  Back in the day, I saw some guy sporting this shirt at Starlake.

Many years have passed and I always thought the shirt "stood on its own."  Last night, I discovered that it's actually a White Zombie concert tee.  Kind of left me feeling a bit deflated.  In all honesty, I had hoped that someone was just manufacturing t-shirts with alarming, obnoxious content.  Any graphic material would suffice.  Think in terms of straight-up shock value a la Westboro Baptist Church.

Satan rules
The pope sucks cock
Stick a tampon in your butt
Eat shit and die

I hope you get the drift.  If you don't, then Donald Trump's the right candidate for you.  Truth be told, I'm a little conflicted about him entering the race.  On the one hand, I deplore his exploitation of the low-information Republican voter.  You know the type --- god, guns and let's go racing!  However, I do like the fact that he's willing to enter any environment totally unscripted.  Also, he seems psyched to unabashedly call out any of his opponents on their perceived shortcomings.  It should add a fascinating, colorful dimension to the debates.

I must admit.  I watched his entire presidential launch speech.  I enjoyed the extemporaneous style and content.  In this day and age of stale rhetoric and memorized pitch lines, let's just say it's refreshing.  Reminds me of the reason people listen to Howard Stern.  They hate him but they're curious to see what he'll say next.  It's all about the ratings.  Whatever your thoughts on this egomaniacal, carnival barker... he can certainly hold the crowd's attention.  And you gotta be amused by how he made his grand entrance on that escalator.

I could definitely envision him "choppering" in to the Iowa State Fair.  Good afternoon Sioux City!  Or showing up in a yacht along the Ohio River in Steubenville.  He easily held my attention for the entire hour.  I watched the Jeb and Hillary kickoff speeches as well.  I thought Hillary's was decent, albeit relatively predictable.  No surprise there.  On the other hand, I thought Jeb's was poorly written.  Whoever wrote the damn thing didn't know how to factor in the crowd reaction.  It's important to be mindful of how to specifically elicit boos, as opposed to cheers.  You don't want to keep mixing the two.  A friendly word of advice for his speechwriter --- get the damn progression straight.  It goes boo, boo, cheer.  Attack, attack, applause.

One other thing about Trump, although I find his entire existence objectionable... he's likely the only candidate willing to raise my issue about obsolete stadium emergency evacuation protocol.  So yesterday, I started spamming the shit out of him.

Donald, here's an idea. Hope you can incorporate it in the campaign. It's about keeping Americans safe.

Every NFL stadium has 50,000 - 100,000 active cell phones. We need to explicitly warn fans that LEGITIMATE emergency evacuation orders do NOT come from their mobile devices. If something like this were to happen, it is a malicious HOAX designed to create an "artificially generated stampede."

Just some common sense, public safety info that nobody's allowed to talk about. The federal government and private industry won't go anywhere near it... until there's a tragedy.  Donald Trump, do you have the moral courage to acknowledge this asymmetric national security issue?   Nobody else has the guts.

Who knows?  Maybe I should try and get Rob Zombie involved with the stampedes.  He seems like someone who speaks his mind.  The ideal person to represent freedom of speech and explore an untested, futuristic civil rights issue.

Then again, maybe not.

Sorry for the tangent.  So anyway, I said there was another highlight from last night.

A magical parking spot opened up for us on the street directly across from the Tilted Kilt and Rivertowne restaurants.  By the way, never eat at Rivertowne.  Their food and service are below mediocre.  I wouldn't even be willing to honor their restroom with an unsolicited piss or unwelcome shit.  That's how bad it is.  The name of the place should pretty much should send off a warning sign.  Hmm, what are we going to name this fine dining establishment?  Well, let's see here... we're next to a river and it's in a town.  Let's call it Rivertown and add an "e" so people will think it's high-end Euro-inspired French cuisine.  Red flag.  Kind of reminds me of a place in Wheeling that sucks to an even greater degree.  River City!  Or as it's often referred to... River Shitty. 

Note: I do like the notion of calling it "Rivertownie."  That would be an unprecedented bad ass move.  Serve me up some appetizers... crick grits and coonskin pie.  And wash it down with a house drink... The Bum Rush (1 part Jamison and 4 parts Boone Farms Country Quencher).

So we're hanging out and this 50 year old guy approaches us.  He desperately needs eight dollars.  He regales us with his unfortunate circumstance.  He shows us some "injuries" to his arm which was actually just a bad case of eczema.  Call me crazy, but he seemed to be playing up the sympathy angle.  Now apparently, the van he uses for his drywall business was towed.  And he needs some money for "advance cab fare" so he can back to Irwin.  Obviously, his wallet, id, cell phone and every other earthly possession were in the van.  So that's the gist of everything that has left him in this horrible predicament.  He pointed to a notepad with some scribbled contracting information, projected costs for this and that.  Nice prop.  I just sat there and smiled, taking it all in.  Jepson and Juanita listened to the pitch as well, carefully ingesting all the details.

Alright, so how did I know that it was a scam?  How did I know he was a completely full of shit con artist?  Well... about 6 weeks ago I was leaving a Pirates game and the same guy hit me up with the EXACT same scam.  Same story about his van, his drywall business and even how he needed to get back to Irwin (an ideal, unassuming blue-collar suburb).  Personally, I like the sound of Crafton or the remote resonance of Aliquippa, but that's just me.

So after about 40 seconds, I decided to chime in.  "Dude, I gotta admit.  I'm a little skeptical, probably because you hit me up 6 weeks ago with the EXACT SAME STORY!  Seriously, I don't mind the scam aspect.  I just want you to admit the truth, that we've had this same conversation  Is that asking too much?"  I felt like I was in the fucking twilight zone.

But he held passionately to his solicitation propaganda.  He looked at Jepnita (my new celeb term for these two) and said... and I quote... "I don't know what this guy's on, but I could sure use some of what he's smoking!"

His outright denial and lack of ownership annoyed me a little bit, but I was in a good mood, pleasant weather and such, so I just laughed it off.   Reflecting back on this incident, I had $90 on me.  I should have tantalized him with it.  Asked him if it was enough and got him to write down my address so he could pay him me back.  I could have had this guy "salivating like the Pavlovian mongrel he is."

As he abruptly bolted off I should have used a line from my newest hero.  Not this guy.

 It's this guy.  Kevin O'Leary, the new and improved Mr. Wonderful.

As far as the concert, a great time was had by all.  The encore was exceptionally cool.  A demonized, metalized version of Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band."

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