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Maggot Brain

San Jose is for heshers; when will commercial radio recognize?

By Todd Inoue

THE LAST PLACE I thought I'd be is at a Slipknot show, but last Tuesday I trekked to HP Pavilion to see for myself whether this ambitious Subliminal Verses tour would pull in numbers. It had a lot of things going against it: a Tuesday night, booked into the huge HP Pavilion and a lack of radio airplay and promotion. KSJO flipped to Spanish-language programming, remember? You don't? There ya go.

It didn't look good at 7pm kickoff. No traffic, only a trickle of fans walking into the arena. There were no radio station vans blasting metal, hanging banners or handing out tchotchkes. I heard one radio station van showed up, passed out schwag and then bailed soon afterward. It was sort of refreshing to be free of competing sound systems and overhyped street teams, but it must be disappointing for the bands and fans.

But the show must plow on, and it did. The upper bowl was closed off—no surprise—and the seating was scattered by the time Shadows Fall finished its opening duties. Lamb of God's brutal 40-minute set pulled in more tragically gory MySpace account holders, and by the time Slipknot went on, holy crap, the floor was freaking packed and the seating respectfully full. Yes, even without radio-station support, underground metal is still a huge commodity in the South Bay. I had underestimated Slipknot's popularity and was wowed by the fans' dedication. The band returned the enthusiasm with a show that was part evil carnival ride, part ritual punishment. Vocalist Corey Taylor gave respect to the Bay Area's metal legends Exodus, Death Angel and Vio-Lence and testified to the cockroachlike longevity of metal.

"Six years ago they said we were a fluke," said Taylor. "Four years ago, they said we were an abomination. Two years ago, they said we were finished, over. Well, we just picked up platinum plaques for [our latest CD] Vol. 3."

In July, Lamb of God returns to play Sounds of the Underground—an enormous anti-Ozzfest on July 23 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. Other bands include Clutch, Poison the Well, Opeth, From Autumn to Ashes, Unearth, Norma Jean, Every Time I Die, Chimaira, Throwdown, Strapping Young Lad, Madball, GWAR, Devil Driver, High on Fire, A Life Once Lost, Terror and more. A lot of sponsors—House of Blues, Revolver, purevolume, Hot Topic, Jagermeister, Pitchfork, radiotakeover—are putting money on the future of extreme music. With this kind of showing, when will commercial radio recognize this market and fall in?

Loop Guru

Mountain View's Community School Of Music And Arts (CSMA) normally hosts sleepy classical recitals, but with the addition of its Digital Arts program, the school is embracing the future as well as the past. On April 27, it hosts "Digital Arts, Music in the Making," a concert that combines the talents of beatboxer and looper Kid Beyond, DJs Nate D'amico and Dave Kramer and active field recorder Loren Chasse. The blend of technology, beats and weird sounds happens from 6 to 7pm at Finn Center in Mountain View. Tickets are $25 and include a post-performance reception ($8 for show only). For more information, contact CSMA at 650.917.6800, ext. 335, or visit www.arts4all.org.

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From the April 20-26, 2005 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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