You may have noticed that about the only metal news we focus on here concerns new songs, forthcoming album details, and tours. Even then, we make no effort to be comprehensive. If you want to find a place that relentlessly copy/pastes press releases, talks about the latest bass player to quit his band, or gossips about the metal scandal of the day, this ain’t it. However, I’ve been peppered with reader messages about the two “scandals” in this post, so I’m relenting.
I would enthusiastically fork over money to see the current Deceiver of the Gods Tour with Amon Amarth/Enslaved/Skeletonwitch if it came within spitting distance of Seattle. But it isn’t, so I won’t. However, I can easily imagine the magnitude of my hot smoking rage if I had paid to see this tour In Charlotte, NC, on January 29. The event was to have occurred at a place called The Fillmore, but the venue cancelled the show 6 hours before doors.
Why did they cancel it? Well duh, because of the polar vortex gripping Charlotte — as evidenced by the above photo taken by Johan Hegg from the window of Amon Amarth’s tour bus. Here’s the statement that appeared on The Fillmore’s FB page:
“Due to inclement weather, local road conditions and the current State Of Emergency in NC the Amon Amarth show scheduled for tonight at The Fillmore Charlotte has been CANCELLED. All online and phone orders will be refunded. Other tickets may be refunded at their place of purchase. We’re sorry for any inconvenience. Stay safe NC.”
Speaking of hot smoking rage, if you’d like to get a full load of it, you can peruse the 200+ comments on that post at The Fillmore’s FB page, or more at Reddit. Here’s one of several e-mails I received about this outrage (from Matt C):
“All the bands were there ready to play, there was no snow, no rain, no ice, and the fillmore didn’t even announce the cancellation on their website. I even called them before i started travelling to the show and the venues automated phone schedule said it was still on. I got an email from the ticket vendor a few hours before the show, but had already traveled two and a half hours and got a hotel room for the show.”
Amon Amarth weren’t too happy either. Here’s a post that appeared on drummer Fredrik Andersson’s Instagram account along with the photo above:
“Trying to make a shit day more fun. This is the third time we’ve had a show cancelled since 1999, and it sucks equally much everytime.”
There are usually two sides to every story. The day before this show was to happen, government officials across the South, from parts of Texas to Virginia, were warning residents to stay off the roads and remain inside because of forecasts of freezing rain and snow (see this article, for example). And on January 29, an extremely severe winter storm did indeed strike the region, leading to more than 3,000 flight cancellations and all sorts of other havoc (as reported here).
I haven’t seen any statements by The Fillmore about the cancellation other than the notice quoted earlier, but I’m guessing they didn’t want to be responsible (and maybe legally liable) for people getting caught in dangerous road conditions on the way to the venue if the storm had indeed blasted Charlotte at show time. That obviously didn’t happen, and so they got showered with steaming shit instead of freezing rain.
Maybe they should have waited longer before pulling the plug, to get better odds on whether the storm would in fact hit Charlotte. On the other hand, I suppose they would say that if they had waited, it would have risked enraging fans even more by canceling at the last minute. On the third hand, Matt C. also told me that there was a circus in Charlotte that same night and it went off without a hitch — no cancellations and a full crowd.
THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
I know about as much about pop culture as I do about hydrangeas. I do know who Bruno Mars is, because I saw him perform on Saturday Night Live one time — but that’s the extent of my knowledge. However, I have to say that I enjoyed watching him do a credible James Brown imitation at the Super Bowl halftime show last Sunday. What I enjoyed even more was seeing The Red Hot Chili Peppers take the stage with Mars and launch into “Give It Away” from Blood Sugar Sex Magik.
Man, that was a real nostalgia trip for me, and on top of that, I thought RHCP and the Bruno Mars crew rocked it pretty hard (though I admit I was already feeling pretty giddy about the ass-whipping that my Seahawks were putting on the hapless Broncos by that point). I was having so much fun watching that I didn’t notice Flea’s bass wasn’t plugged into anything that would transmit sound. Of course, it didn’t take long for the internet to fill up with photos proving that RHCP were in fact miming the instrumental parts over a pre-recorded track. This, of course, led to a steaming deluge of shit raining down upon RHCP.
But let us not forget that adage about two sides to every story. Last night our brother Leperkahn sent me a link to an official statement from Flea about this incident on the band’s web site. He explained that when the NFL and Bruno Mars invited RHCP to perform, “it was made clear to us that the vocals would be live, but the bass, drums, and guitar would be pre-recorded.” He continued:
“I understand the NFL’s stance on this, given they only have a few minutes to set up the stage, there a zillion things that could go wrong and ruin the sound for the folks watching in the stadium and the t.v. viewers. There was not any room for argument on this, the NFL does not want to risk their show being botched by bad sound, period.”
Flea went on to explain that RHCP then had to make a decision: comply with the NFL’s requirements or skip the halftime show of what turned out to be the most-watched television event in US history. After explaining that RHCP’s long-time stance has been to refuse “miming” under virtually any circumstances, he summarized the band’s reasoning in this instance, as follows:
“So, when this Super Bowl gig concept came up, there was a lot of confusion amongst us as whether or not we should do it, but we eventually decided, it was a surreal-like, once in a life time crazy thing to do and we would just have fun and do it. We had given this a lot of thought before agreeing to do it, and besides many a long conversation amongst ourselves, I spoke with many musician friends for whom I have the utmost respect, and they all said they would do it if asked, that it was a wild trippy thing to do, what the hell. Plus, we the RHCP all love football too and that played a big part in our decision. We decided that, with Anthony singing live, that we could still bring the spirit and freedom of what we do into the performance, and of course we played every note in the recording specially for the gig. I met and spoke with Bruno, who was a beautiful dude, a real talented musician, and we worked out something that seemed like it would be fun.
“We recorded a track for the day, just banged one out from our hearts that was very like in spirit to the versions we have been playing live the last few years with our beloved Josh on guitar.
“For the actual performance, Josh, Chad, and I were playing along with the pre recorded track so there was no need to plug in our guitars, so we did not. Could we have plugged them in and avoided bumming people out who have expressed disappointment that the instrumental track was pre recorded? Of course easily we could have and this would be a non-issue. We thought it better to not pretend. It seemed like the realest thing to do in the circumstance. It was like making a music video in front of a gazillion people, except with live vocals, and only one chance to rock it. Our only thought was to bring the spirit of who we are to the people.
“I am grateful to the NFL for having us. And I am grateful to Bruno, who is a super talented young man for inviting us to be a part of his gig. I would do it all the same way again.”
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time quarreling with the band’s decision or the reasons for it. As always, your thoughts about any of the stuff in this post are welcome.