Your favorite metal venue
What's your favorite metal venue (past or present), and why?
In Los Angeles, mine is Three Clubs. I've written about four shows (Huntress, Lesbian, Valdur, Lightning Swords of Death) and attended many more there. I feel more at home there than in my own bedroom. If I wrote a metal tourist guidebook, it would headline Los Angeles' section.
An interesting blog post claims that live performances should be like church. Religious objections aside, it's astute. Christianity has had two thousand years of experience in captivating (some might say enslaving) crowds. The post lays out common-sense conditions for connecting with audiences: engaging the senses, speaking to them, and so on. By being small and intimate, and having the right layout - mixing board out of the way, steps for a raised view if desired, a virtually nonexistent stage that forces bands to play face-to-face with crowds - Three Clubs enables those conditions.
Two videos by Los Angeles bands demonstrate this. Both were filmed at Three Clubs - note the telltale disco ball and red curtains - though the first one is intercut with footage from other spaces.
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Night Horse - "Rollin' On"
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The first is by retro rockers Night Horse. Their new album Perdition Hymns (Tee Pee, 2010) has been a guilty pleasure for me. Normally I'm not into music that's purposefully unoriginal, but Night Horse pull off '70s rock so well that I can't help but dig it. This video is for "Rollin' On", a glorious blend of ZZ Top in the right guitar, The Allman Brothers in the left guitar, and a Chris Robinson-looking singer in the middle. I love how the guitars rarely play the same thing. Instead, they weave tasty cross-rhythms and counter-melodies. The Rolling Stones and AC/DC were masters of that. If Night Horse had been their contemporaries, they would have been huge.
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Holy Grail - "My Last Attack"
(courtesy of MetalInjection.net)
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The second is for a song I don't support musically. (It's like Trivium's take on the current '80s throwback metal trend.) But the video is a visual tour de force that gives a good idea of the magic possible in Three Clubs. No barriers, no bouncers - just musicians within spitting distance. At a Black Cobra show at Three Clubs, I stood so close to Rafa Martinez' drums that his sweat splashed on me at one point. It was gross, but a rock 'n' roll price few are fortunate enough to pay.
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