(EDITOR’S PREFACE: DGR wrote this. To be clear, DGR wrote this. He wrote this before he wrote last week’s flood of reviews. But I’m only posting it now.)
See? Even that fat lesbian approves of the place!
What you are about to read is potentially the dumbest thing that I may have ever written. Yes, this coming from a guy who dedicated close to 1500 words on how much a speed bump in front of his local city college sucked, or wrote an essay-length screed on the merits of the Manny Fresh song “Real Big” as an April Fool’s joke.
You may have noticed that until last week, I hadn’t contributed much to NCS for a couple of weeks, and it’s a pretty simple reason why. A lot of writers will brush off stuff like this and say their personal lives interfered with their writing, but I’ve never considered myself a writer, and if I did, would probably insult a whole shit load of people who do this as a profession. Likewise, you’ll never see me refer to myself as a blogger because undoubtedly the reaction I would get from people being so informed would likely be the same reaction I would get from telling them I dress up like a clown and drive an Aerostar around kidnapping the local children for fun.
Simply put, I place words on a screen and sometimes the well from which I draw said words dries up. This time was far longer than others. I didn’t just get “Writers Block”, I got “Writer drove his car into a fucking wall”, and for the couple of weeks preceding last week’s outburst I was completely unable to get anything out of my mind and onto said screen. However, sometimes an idea hits you in the middle of the night (or my case, work…in the middle of the night) that just won’t let go no matter how fucking dumb it is and you can tell that it is, quite literally, the thing that has been damming up your brain the whole time. Such is the case with the following article . . . .
You know who you are, unable to live on any of the coasts where exciting things happen. Stuck in some small town in a State that the rest of the country affectionately refers to as a flyover, not attached to any lake or port, cursed with the poor luck that where you are just happens to be where your parents decided to make a shitty decision and abandon exciting things. You sit there on the internet and curse the fact that the closest bit of civilization is about five hours away and no bands ever play there. You know, places with silly names like Pikeville, or something crazy and Native American sounding despite the fact that your town’s demographic would make a snowfield look like a coal mine.
Basically, what I am saying is that if you have ever referred to your town as Bumfucknowhere, then this may be the article for you.
It had occurred to me that Sacramento is in a bit of a downward trend at the moment, and I have done nothing to help it. Absolutely nothing. I’ve bitched about it plenty, but actually contributing to the local economy? Bah! I needed to figure out how to change that and potentially solve one other problem while doing so.
Not only that, but I have no one to talk to about metal here. Most of the guys I do know happen to be in bands, because Sacramento is an incredibly closed loop in that sense. I didn’t want to seem like too much of a shill by constantly inviting the same group of guys on to a potential podcast, or even just to hang out and then go write about their groups on the web later. The closest person is Rob from ThatDevilMusic and he’s about forty minutes away. I figured why not kill two birds with one stone and pick another area where seemingly nothing happens and offer people the ability to add some excitement to their lives and improve their standard of living.
You should seriously consider coming to Sacramento! This place is on the up and up and it is California-lite compared to the rest of the State. You’ll still find yourself consistently bored, but now you’ll be consistently bored and in California! You have no idea how much that thought alone can do for one’s self-esteem. You won’t be bored and in, say, Kentucky. You’ll be bored and in California! There’s the potential of stuff to be done and your home base could be Sacramento!
Look! We have buildings! And Boats!
But wait, I hear you say. Aren’t you opposed to our love of country music, right-leaning politics, and folksy wisdom? Here’s where things get interesting that not a lot of folks know about this lovely State: There’s a surprising amount of you fucks here already and you don’t even realize it. The dustbowl years forced quite a lot of you people to move here and they just never left. There’s a lot of land in California (especially north of Redding) that people tend to hide out in. Except now, maybe you can think of it as more of a cultural dustbowl, as opposed to an actual one . . . although the drought maps may be pointing in that direction as well.
Therefore your politics have nothing to fear, plus, if you’re going to be my friend you need to abide by the rule of never discussing money, sports, or politics with me anyway, lest we fracture our burgeoning friendship. Do you want fracturing? I certainly don’t want that. I love you fuckers. Yes, the humongous metropolitan centers of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ukiah make California seem incredibly liberal, and I will fully admit I’m a little left-leaning myself, but I’m used to your bullshit already. I love the folksy wisdom and stupid sayings you guys have.
Believe me, one of the best perks about the middle of this country are people like my co-worker John. Dude is amazing and is able to hold a conversation with himself sometimes, and that shit is fucking awesome. The country music I’m okay with, so long as you like metal alongside of it. The last girl I dated liked country, and it’s pretty much a combination of anathema (not the band) and white noise for me.
Well that’s nice and all, I hear you say, but it certainly doesn’t provide any reasons for a metal-loving person like myself to want to move out there. To which I say, fine! Do you really want more proof! Well let me provide you a handy list as to why your area sucks and you should seriously consider Sacramento, California, your new home.
1) The Sacramento Music Scene Is Popping The Fuck Off
Seriously. It must be the economic depression or something around this area, because the greater Sacramento area is seeing an artistic resurgence by a lot of pissed-off motherfuckers out here. We’re making huge strides in the tech death, brutal death, and occasional metalcore (and every hybrid in between) markets. There’s a lot of great up-and-coming talent from this area.
We have groups like Conducting From The Grave, The Kennedy Veil, Paint Over Pictures and their southern metal shenanigans, Soma Ras, GBAA, Plague Widow, Bispora, Journal, Beyond All Ends, Shadow Of The Colossus, Awaiting The Apocalypse, Shades Of Devastation, Jack Ketch, Memento Mori, and Malevolent, and I don’t know, can we claim Death Grips?, and a ton of others that I’m sure I am forgetting right now (apologies!). They’re all making huge strides and are worth looking into.
Not only that, but they’re inspiring a bunch of bands from the surrounding areas too. My memory may be utter shit, but there’s always a pleasant surprise to be found at a Sacramento show. The metal scene is lively as hell out here, and our proximity to the Bay Area also brings a bunch of bands from that area up here too. It’s like a giant unholy triangle of heavy metal with no third angle . . . unless we’re counting Stockton, but really, who the fuck is going to do that?
2) Sacramento actually has some decent underground venues!
For a while, it was pretty dark times out here in Sac-City. We really only had lower-end bar venues and then venues for bands who had made it. However, that whole equation seems to have been flipped on its head, with the bigger venues like Power Balance Pavillion (formerly Arco Arena) and Memorial Auditorium seeing almost no life and places like The Boardwalk, Club Retro, Blue Lamp, On The Y, Old Ironsides, and yes, the newly opened Ace Of Spades providing many new places for bands to play. They all provide plenty of spots to get up-close-and personal with many of these different groups as they grind it out on stage.
Ace Of Spades has been a particular boon for this area, bringing in bands who would normally have skipped over Sacramento, now that they have a place where relatively big underground groups can play. Not only that, but since parking in downtown Sacramento is free after six and doors open at six thirty, parking is fucking great! Seriously! When I went to see Mastodon play I parked right in front of the fucking venue and walked right in just because some guy had left the spot after eating at the incredible Burgers and Brew restaurant next door.
If I can’t always park that close to the venue, I’m still always within four blocks of the place. Now I don’t even consider hitting up San Francisco shows because of this. It’s incredible! Not only that, but since Ace Of Spades used to be the old Empire nightclub, it’s really nice inside with plenty of seating if you’re the type who is old and gets winded easily!
3) You Too Can Enjoy How Much of a Pain In The Ass San Francisco Shows Are!
If, however, you’re not like me and you really want to go see the shows that skip over Sacramento (like the Katatonia/Devin Townsend/Paradise Lost bill), then you can venture out to the lovely Bay Area and find out how much of a bitch it is to find parking at a San Francisco show. And you can do that, over and over, until you realize a lot of us just use public transit or carpool with some other stupid fucker in order to find parking.
I think only the DNA Lounge has been fairly easy to get into because you can go pay and park over at the Costco parking lot close by. If not, you get to deal with fucking dumb tourists, fucking dumb bikers, fucking dumb San Franciscans, and other dumb-ass bullshit. Such is the curse of a major metropolitan area that doesn’t really seem designed to handle something like . . . the car. However, let me just say that you haven’t truly LIVED until you’ve dealt with driving in San Francisco. Hell, the near death-from-getting-in-the-wrong-lane-to-pay on one of the bridges may be worth it on its own! It’s absolutely thrilling!
But wait, you say, that sounds nice and all, but is there anything outside of metal that Sacramento has to offer? I understand that it’s a really great place to be right now since I’m a metal fan and love metal music, but my area has a certain je ne sais quoi to it, and I don’t want to lose that! To which I say, now look here you French-speaking dipshit with your jean pants quail or whatever the fuck you’re trying to say: Sacramento has that too! Here’s some reasons outside of metal that may attract you to Sacramento as well, and they too are fairly metal!
1) Sacramento’s Downtown Is Rotting From The Inside!
That’s metal, right? We have a giant mall downtown that nobody gives a shit about and a whole bunch of buildings owned by some fucker who won’t sell them back to the city that are just rotting away! Up until recently there wasn’t jack shit happening in our downtown except for the occasional concert and homeless people! I don’t know how entertaining you find homeless people, but I grew up in the Bay Area and I’ve seen my share already. However, if you’re really into that sort of deserted exploration of abandoned buildings and shit, then our downtown might be for you!
We actually have a sign along 16th Street that says, “You are what downtown has been waiting for!”. The best part? It’s on a shitty brick building and the paint is fading and peeling away. How’s that for a statement?!
2) Our Drivers Suck Shit!
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then do I have the place for you. The Sacramento freeways are fucking massive deathtraps just waiting to lock their jaws onto your legs, and arms, and perhaps skull, and whatever else we can’t use the jaws of life to fish out.
According to one of those ambulance-chasing lawyer’s commercials (whose name I will not mention), Sacramento has one of the highest drunk-driving accident rates in the State. Not only are you gambling with your life every time you get onto I-5 or I-80, you’re also running along with a gauntlet of really drunk fuckers as well! You ever see that movie Death Race? I would fucking kill to drive in that situation vs using the merger of when 50 and 99 meet alongside all the people trying to get on the freeway. That’s like 8 lanes that merge into five in about thirty feet, and not only does that happen, but they then also go crooked as well!
Seriously, there’s one lane that makes you merge two times and then has the balls to throw a forty degree angle at you while doing it! Final Destination 2’s opening was actually filmed here as a documentary before they just decided to use it as part of a horror movie! not TRUE STORY!
This shit right here is a fucking fender bender!
3) Our Women Are Gorgeous!
Well, at least compared to yours! HIYOOOOOO!
But seriously, our women are beautiful. Okay, maybe not our women, but Roseville and Granite Bay’s women are fucking gorgeous. Seriously. All that money has produced a lot of sexy as all hell women and since they have water parks and shit out that way there’s a pretty damn good chance they’ll be scantily clad. Not only that, but a trip to the mall out here is like a wet dream sometimes! It’s like a treasure trove just waiting to be opened, provided you’re not some ugly metal fuck like myself. If you’re really good at disguising that, then you’re bound to have a hell of a time!
4) Our Rivers Suck Shit!
Sacramento is known for the fact that it has two rivers passing through here. The Sacramento and The American River both stop off in this fine town of 400,000 to say hello and provide many hours of water fun to be had. What they don’t mention is that both these rivers are sad. You want to know how many rapids we have here in Sacramento for you to go rafting down? One. One goddamn rapid, and even then it’s only because the water is so shallow there. You actually have to go up to Lake Tahoe or Truckee to see anything worth really rafting down.
However, if you’re into getting one motherfucker of a sunburn and laying out on your back all day (like your mother! HIYOO) then I highly recommend you check out Sacramento’s lame-ass rivers. It’s all the fun of claiming you have rivers in your city with none of the actual threat of being frightened by them!
5) Complaining Is Our Fucking National Pastime
You like to complain right? Ah, who the fuck am I kidding. You’re on a heavy metal website on the internet. OF COURSE you like to complain.
Well let me tell you something: So does Sacramento. We bitch about everything. Even things that could be good for the city. We’ll complain our fucking heads off about it. We have turned complaining into a goddamned art. Sacramento has such a little-brother syndrome we actually bitch about other cities too! We bitch about the heat, sports, traffic, the heat, commerce, the potential of a new arena, the heat, how our baseball team is sucking, how our basketball team is sucking, the fact that Sacramento only has two seasons and one where it is fucking hot all the time.
Seriously, we have actually bitched about building a Taco Bell near my house in a fucking almost-empty parking lot because it would create a traffic situation! A traffic situation for who? The guys who do burnouts in that parking lot at two in the morning right now? Holy shit!
Hell, if you’ve read my concert reviews, even when I’m trying to be nice I sound like I’m bitching. I initially took to the internet because I felt like there was potential to do even more bitching than what I was already doing here! This place is amazing if you’re related to Eeyore or Droopy Dog!
Keep in mind, I was literally just bitching about how our rivers fucking suck one paragraph up.
6) Living Here Is Cheap….Ish!
In comparison to a huge chunk of California, that is. Things are actually fairly reasonably priced here, owing to the fact that there’s a whole lot of nothing to do in this area! Yeah, it’s still expensive compared to where you live, but you pay a lot for the added sense of smugness and superiority that we have. We’ll happily instill that in you as well, it doesn’t matter if the closest thing you had to a friend prior to moving to Sacramento was a tumbleweed (and we get those too! You’ll never be alone!).
Not only that, but the Pot Market recently fell out, too, according to our newspaper. Due to the fact that the gub’ment is crashing down on our dispensaries, places like Humboldt County have had to sell for incredibly cheap just to get it out of their hands. They’re practically swimming in the stuff and it has trickled down to us as well. Now, I’m not stoner and have never smoked in my life, but I don’t judge those who do. This place ain’t no paradise by any means, but currently this is a pretty goddamn big perk and I feel like sharing the info with my friends.
Not serious, I’m probably taking that news article way out of context. Please leave my house alone
7) California Politics Is Fucking Crazy, Yo!
There is no other place that is the host to absolute madness like California is. Our politicians are so entrenched in bullshit that they argue over the fucking dumbest garbage and nothing ever gets done. If you want to see a place that makes our national Congress look like The Flash had sex with Tony Stark, then our legislature is for you! I may not be willing to discuss it, but there’s plenty of people out there who will.
Seriously! We argue over Water! Can you fucking believe that shit?! Hows about this: next time you’re going to build a gigantic city, lets not build in THE FUCKING DESERT and then bitch when your little brother to the North wants to charge for his lovely resources from his two lame-ass rivers.
We actually had a lady blow close to $100 million on her Gubernatorial campaign and she still lost! Why? Because we were fucking tired of seeing her on TV! How awesome is that shit!
(8) You Too Can Laugh At Stockton!
We may be heading down the same path, but there is one thing you can remind yourself of as a piece of shit Sacramentan, and that is the fact that you don’t live in Stockton. Seriously, the city just recently declared bankruptcy and is on track to set a high as all hell murder rate once again. The whole place just feels like a gigantic diaspora that produces very few good things.
The Plea For Peace Center is a great venue, and Symbolik are an excellent band, but holy shit, they’d be so much better if they were based out of Sacramento. Then at the very least I could worry more about how I’m going to get destroyed at a show that night than worry about the status of my car radio the whole time! While a lot of people may hate Sacramento we have turned Stockton into our very own punching bag, and it does a fantastic job in that role! Doing this will be your first step toward that sense of superiority that I told you about!
9) You’ll Never Be Within Less Than A 120 Mile Radius Of A Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Or Green Day Show!
All three artists have gone on the radio and stated that unless our arena upgrades its current sound system, then they won’t play here. That’s fantastic! No bullshit old fogey music and poser emo pop punk sullying their own legacy here ever! They may play San Francisco or San Jose but that fucking shit is 120 miles away! You can’t even hear the sound of suck that far away!
Our Arena is too broke to upgrade its sound system so the chances of them playing here are likely to be . . . never! Sleeptrain is a shitty echochamber in its own right, and even the summer festivals have given up on playing here. Hell, I think Van Halen actually scheduled a show here just to cancel it, knowing full well that they wouldn’t have to deal with the shit PA system out there. They just wanted to get people’s hopes up! This may all be old info and likely to change, but c’mon! It’s worth dreaming about right?!
Wake me up when my band gets good. BURN!
10) And If That Doesn’t Work, The Area Surrounding Sacramento Is Just Like The Mid-Country Anyway!
Seriously, the first thing you see when you get off the plane in Sacramento International is a sign that says we’re 120 miles away from San Francisco and 120 miles away from Reno. That’s the best we have to offer! Nothing may ever happen here but holy shit, you’re just a two-hour drive from a hugely metropolitan area that loses its magic around the fifth time you almost nail some asshole in Chinatown and the poor man’s Vegas!
We’re surrounded by farms, marshlands, and grass! It’s always hot, and even our downtown has had tumbleweeds roll through from time to time! It’ll basically be just like living in the middle of the country but with an added sense of superiority and no tornadoes! Hell, the no-tornadoes thing may be worth it in its own right.
Now, the rare 1.0 or so Earthquake that we see may scare you at first, but you have nothing to worry about! We’re built on solid ground! Besides, the only real threat we have is that Sacramento is one of two cities (the other being St. Louis) that could potentially have a Katrina-esque flood event happen since the city is basically a giant bowl. Besides, Water ain’t so bad right?
So, I hope I’ve perhaps convinced some of you to come out to THE MOST METAL PLACE ON EARTH™, Sacramento, California. We’ll happily welcome you with open arms so long as you don’t smell too bad and can work enough to pay for a ticket to get out to these awesome-ass concerts we have around here.
Believe me when I say this, we may have been hit incredibly hard by the economic crisis, have people constantly losing jobs due to budget cuts, have a really high unemployment rate, be the hometown of a band like Tesla, and have a bunch of drunk drivers . . . but Sacramento has heart. We believe that our city is great even when we bitch about it endlessly. Why else would we try and lure a bunch of long-haired no-neck fuckers like you out here? Its because we see the potential in you and we think that we can make you great.
I also really, really, really need new people to hang out with since none of my friends like metal and I want to talk about it outside of just posting on a website. That and c’mon, look at the place you live in now. Aren’t you really better off than you were fourteen minutes ago?
GODDAMNIT, ENOUGH. WITH. THE. POT. JOKES.