Monday, July 28, 2008


On Saturday, July 26th, I attended the Monsters of Rock music festival, at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. Okay, I hadn't slept in 36 hours by the time the concert ended. It was a 5 hours trip there and a 5 hour trip home. We waited at the gates for an hour and a half. The tickets were shitty and we were in the nosebleeds. I ended up with sunstroke. There was a half-hour line-up for any sort of food or drink. Water cost $4. There were chronic technical problems on stage. We got lost leaving the city.

And it still. Effin'. Rocked.

Here is my ranking of the bands.
Zimmer's Hole - (1 out of 5) No wonder they were the opening band. The lead singer dressed-up like Satan. If Satan was going to start a metal band, wouldn't the rest of the band be demons, instead of dudes in Black Sabbath t-shirts? He also wore a vagina costume at one point, that pretty much sealed the deal.
Priestess - (2.5 out of 5) I'd really like to give these guys a better rating because I love 'em and was eager to see them (and they're Canadian). But the truth is their sound quality sucked hard. I was still pleased that they played their best tunes, though ("Lay Down", "Two Kids", "I Am The Night, Colour Me Black").
3 Inches of Blood - (4 out of 5) Plain awesome. I don't know many tunes by these guys, but I was totally stoked to hear their song 'Deadly Sinners'. They did not disappoint. Their lead singer has a wikkid voice, and we probably pissed off all of our neighbors trying to sing along. Arguably one of the better sets all day. Also, they're Canadian.
Testament - (2.5 out of 5) An okay act, but they didn't really show me anything to separate them from half the bands that sounded the same.
Voivod - (n/a) I didn't actually watch these guys. I was starting to suffer from sunstroke by the time they came on. I really had no interest, so I skipped them to find some shade. Judging by the muffled sounds that drifted towards me, I don't think I really missed much.
Shadows Fall - (3 out of 5) Another decent act that didn't suck but didn't do much to impress me. The lead singer has dreads that reach the floor, though. That's pretty impressive.
Cavalera Conspiracy - (3.5 out of 5) From Brazil, and comprised of former members of Sepultura. Not really that unique when compared to other acts of the day, but they put on a good show. And hey, metal sounds cool when it's sung in Portuguese.
Hatebreed - (4 out of 5) Surprisingly good. Like all modern heavy metal a lot of their songs sounded the same, but they put on a good show. Their lead singer, whose name I'm not interested enough to look up, really got the crowd involved and seemed to be having a good time.
Serj Tankian - (4 out of 5) I've seen Serj before with System of a Down. He has an awesome stage presence, and sang the song I wanted to hear ("Sky Is Over"), so that was good times. Unfortunately, his set was also plagued by sound problems, which is a real bummer with a vocals driven act like this. I will forever remember Serj, decked out in a top hat and Hawaiian shirt, chanting "PRAISE the Lord! Pass the ammunition."
Judas Priest - (4 out of 5) Pioneers of heavy metal, classic rock gods. Why didn't they getter a higher rating? It's partially my fault. The sunstroke was kickin' in pretty good by this point. Combine that with the fact I hadn't slept the night before, and the fact that I don't really know many of their songs, so I spent most of the set sitting down and actually fell asleep at one point. They do, however, have an awesome stage show (at one point including a motorcycle), and know how to get the crowd going. I had to laugh when Rob Halford was encouraging women to take off their tops for the camera (Look him up if you don't see why that's funny).
Ozzy Osbourne - (5 out of 5) How could I give the Ozzman a lower rating and feel good about myself? Besides that, he deserves it. This is the second time I've seen Ozzy in concert, and if anything it was better this time around. I'm still amazed at how much of a showman he is at his age. He could easily get away with standing in one spot and not even pretending to be having have fun (and fans would still probably pay to see him), but he runs and jumps around like a madman. It was a long set as well, which seems unusual in these days. We actually started leaving before the 2nd encore because we honestly though he was done playing.
Zakk Wylde, Ozzy's lead guitarist, is never a disappointment to see live. I know not everyone agrees with me on this, but he is arguably one of the best guitarists ever.
At one point, Ozzy says "You wanna hear a Black Sabbath song?" Crowd goes wild, as if he needed to ask. So I'm expecting "Iron Man" or "Paranoid". No. Even better. "Warpigs". I was so happy I nearly cried. I have now heard the song, as sung by the man.

On top of all that throw in a bunch of half-naked chicks and metal-heads. That, my friends, is a good frikkin' day.

Now for some movie reviews. What, you thought I was done? (beware of spoilers)

The Dark Knight (2008)
One of those movies that actually live up to the hype. Christian Bale, whom I'm sure I mentioned I love before, is probably the best Batman/Bruce Wayne so far. Heath Ledger is absolutely frightening as The Joker. I seriously found him to be disturbing, something that has never happened before with an action movie villain. I was sort of (pleasantly) surprised to see the character of Two-Face/Harvey Dent, as portrayed by Aaron Eckhart. I knew Dent was going to be in the movie, I just figured they were setting him up as Two-Face for a future sequel. Maggie Gyllenhal didn't make me hate the character of Rachel Dawes any less. In fact, she just seems more bitchy, and at one point I loudly exclaimed "God I hope she dies in this movie!". And then she did. And I didn't feel bad about it. Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman all deserve mention for their acting, all of which was top notch. I found Oldman's Jim Gordon a lot easier to like in this flick. My only real complaint is that Batman himself barely seems to be in this movie, but maybe it just seems like that because the Joker pretty well steals the show. Better than Batman Begins (2005), not as good as Iron Man (2008). Actually, in the category of Superhero movies, this is probably in my top 3.
(My Rating - 5 out 0f 5)

The Incredible Hulk (2008)
"A second superhero movie!?" You say? Don't worry. This review won't be as long, frankly because the movie wasn't as good. It was better than The Hulk (2003) but that's like saying spaghetti is better than getting punched in the teeth. I liked Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk, but then again I like him in anything. Liv Tyler looks like she's getting old don't you think? (what the hell does that have to do with the movie?) She was okay as Betsy Ross, though. Not great, but okay. I was kind of pissed off when she stopped the Hulk from killing the Abomination (as played by Tim Roth, who I also think is pretty awesome). What's with women in movies always stopping the hero from doing cool shit? The story was okay as well, and not too far fetched (as far as a movie about The Hulk is concerned), and at least this one had a Bad Guy.
(My Rating - 3 out of 5)

I'm Not There (2008)
I've never been a huge fan of Bob Dylan. Before I saw this movie I could probably name 10 songs by him, only 3 or 4 of which I liked. But regardless of whether or not you like or know Bob Dylan, this is just a well made flick. I honestly loved Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn, a representation of young, amphetamine fueled Dylan, and would argue she is the high-point of the film. Heath Ledger and Christian Bale also gave great performances as different versions of Bob. (Honestly, what movie did you see where those guys weren't awesome?) The music was good, which I guess is to be expected in a movie about a music icon. I can't say I have much to complain about in this movie, so go watch it and decide for yourself.
(My Rating - 4 out of 5)

Enough about movies. I recently found, though I don't remember how, a site called Common Ties. It's a little hard to explain, so I think you should go check it out. I sent them a story, but haven't heard from them

Having trouble deciding if you're ready to have sex? Having difficulty explaining to your kids that it's okay to wait until they're ready? Please, have a gander at Boys and Girls: A Short Book About Choosing If and When To Have Sex. Serious, folks. I joke a lot here, but I wish I had a resource like this when I was a kid. Not that I probably would have paid attention. Like I paid attention to my parents.

So that was a pretty long post. I expect a lot of TLDR's in response to that. Well, not really in response because only like 10 people read this blog. But you catch my drift. Anyways, the reason it's so long is for one, because I actually did a lot of stuff recently. For two, I'm moving sometime this week, and don't really know when I'll be getting Internet access again. The same goes for Roundabout Expressway. I'll still be taking pictures, just don't know when I'll be getting them online. That is why I'm still awake at 5:30 AM the day after a rock festival and a 10 hour trip.
So if you don't hear from me before I move, I'll be posting again sometime after. Until then, enjoy this clip from I'm Not There. It's Jim James of the band My Morning Jacket, and members of the band Calexico performing Bob Dylan's "Goin' To Acapulco". Taken out of context, these images probably don't make much sense, and the clip is kind of crappy (whats with that skip at the end?). But it's a seriously good song, and probably one of the more emotionally moving scenes in the film.

1 comment:

Nasty Butler said...

I have to disagree about TDK and Iron Man...but you know why. Still, I'm glad you finally managed to see it.

Sorry about the sun stroke.