Dear booking agents and local promoters:
We here at L.A. Weekly understand that putting together killer local festivals and routing national tours through Los Angeles is nearly impossible to pull off without conflicting with something else your competitors are bringing through town. But seriously — you guys are really stretching Los Angeles music fans thin on Saturday, Oct. 7, and making it a monumental task to make “either/or” decisions that night.
On that night alone, you are asking mainstream rock fans to choose between heading out to San Bernardino to see Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age rip it up at CalJam or heading up to the Hollywood Bowl to see Kings of Leon play the hits. You are also asking supporters of longtime local institutions such as electronica/DJ champions Dublab and goth/industrial club promoters Das Bunker to make a choice in celebrating the former's 18th anniversary at Zebulon or the latter's 21st anniversary at Union. Those who prefer their rock on the artsier side will be forced to choose between a one-off performance by St. Vincent at Paramount Studios or a touring performance by The Flaming Lips at Shrine Expo Hall.
On a personal level, my own decisionmaking for which show to go to is fairly easy most nights. My preferred genre of music is heavy metal. It would be easy for me to say no to the above multitude of choices as, more often than not, there is a compelling metal option. Metal runs through my veins; metal reigns supreme.
But this Saturday, even local metal promoters and booking agents are putting us on the rack and stretching us. Scorpions and Megadeth — two generations of heavy metal legends — will be doing greatest-hits sets on a double bill at the Forum. Thrash-metal pioneers Exodus and death-metal icons Obituary will be slinging old-school extreme metal at Teragram Ballroom, accompanied by Texas thrash upstarts Power Trip. Even the “beloved album played in its entirety” gimmick will get beaten into the ground, with prog-metallers Between the Buried and Me playing their 2007 record Colors at the El Rey, while over on the Sunset Strip, groove-metallers Soulfly — led by ex-Sepultura vocalist Max Cavalera — will be at the Whisky a Go Go playing the 1994 classic Point Blank by Nailbomb, another Cavalera-led project of yesteryear. And all of that is before you factor in the Frost and Fire Festival in Ventura, a celebration of ’80s leather-and-denim traditional heavy metal headlined by uber-cult acts like Manilla Road and Cirith Ungol that rarely play Southern California.
At least Frost and Fire and the Das Bunker anniversary are stretched out over multiple nights, allowing a little bit of breathing room for those interested in those events on top of others on Saturday night. But by the time Sunday morning rolls around, nearly every music fan in Los Angeles will have enjoyed a good night out, while still lamenting that there was another great show (or three) they were heartbroken about missing.
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As I said before, we understand that getting killer shows routed through Los Angeles without some sort of competition is a near-impossible task. Venue availability, artist availability, radius clauses; we get that there are many factors that resulted in this logjam. We are not selfish children who don't understand why you are not catering your scheduling of events according to our calendar.
But for real though — it's like all of you threw darts at the board, and every single one of you somehow managed to hit the bull's eye. And damn, it really sucks having to miss just about every single killer show listed above. Though I guess I should look at the bright side: You are saving me money by not scheduling these on different nights — money which may go toward other amazing events in October, such as David Lynch's Festival of Disruption Oct. 13-14, the goth/industrial party that is Cloak & Dagger Festival Oct. 20-21, or the Latino underground heavy metal celebration of Todo Es Metal on Oct. 21.
What's most depressing, though, is that I know exactly how this night is going to end. Overwhelmed by too many choices and not wanting to pick a favorite child, I'll likely be spending Saturday, Oct. 7, on my couch, dicking around on Netflix, drowning in another sea of choice overload for an hour before saying screw it and watching episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia that I've already seen multiple times, ignoring multiple text messages asking why I am not at whatever shows those friends are texting me from.
A Music Fan Who Wants to Clone Myself and Attend All of These Shows