A Very Brutal Dethklok Concert
We were just about one mile outside of Roy, Utah when the breakfast burritos kicked in.
My faithful compadre for all things local WPR, Ryan Thomason…maybe you’ve heard of him were on our way to witness what could only be described at the most brutal concert experience that either he or I ever attended. There is adventure, there is derping, but most important of all…there was metal.
Being the responsible parent and husband that I am, dinner was made, the table was set and off to a concert I went. Keep in mind this is the day before Thanksgiving, a day that lives in infamy for anyone who does the household cooking as one of the most harrowing days of the year as the prep work for the following day’s festivities can drive the most stalwart cook mad. Regardless of THAT responsibility, I was off to see Brendon Small rip up the outskirts of Salt Lake County in a way that I hadn’t seen in years.
If you’re reading this review, I assume that you know who Dethklok is. For those that might not know who they are, they’re a fictional band from the hit cartoon series on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block, Metalocalypse. I say fictional band in this case only because the actual members of the group and their penchant for inextricable death claiming people in the audience mid-event aren’t real people.
I’d never in a million years think that one of the biggest successes in metal would be what equates to a parody band, but there we were on our way to see them headlining for this tour that also featured The Black Dahlia Murder, Machine Head, and All That Remains. The excitement and geek stink started to build the moment we passed the outskirts of SLC and were headed out to the middle of fucking nowhere.
I’m not kidding when I say this. The venue is literally at the corner of The Great Salt Lake and purgatory itself. The only thing near this place is a copper smelting plant…so when a band comes to town and gets this venue, they can play as fucking loud and hard as they please.
The fun on this trip came in the form of two adventures.
First on the list of fail on our little car ride was me taking the wrong exit not once, but twice because I thought I knew the way. Turns out that I’m functionally retarded when it comes to the roads and interchanges on the way to Saltair. It’s all fun and games going to a concert until you find yourself forced to go all the way around SLC International Airport at a whopping 5 miles per hour.
Second would have to be the dense traffic jam that forced all 3 lanes of freeway onto one lane, during a high travel time. I’m not even kidding when I say that we were stuck in traffic for an hour and a half…and while I can queue like a boss, Mr. Thomason wasn’t having the same amount of fun I was with the constant stop and go that we were forced into. So I guess it wouldn’t be a Dethklok show without somebody dying which from the looks of the wreck when we passed it up, someone must have perished in that twist of steel.
Arrival at Saltair meant that our pending excitement was becoming palpable. We went through the typical pat-down that you get from underpaid and tightly wound security at the front entrance…where I was confronted with something so stupid I have to write it here. Smokers are allowed to bring lighters and cigarettes into the show while guys like me who chew gum, had to dump everything into the trash cans at the entrance. What sense does it make really? NONE!
Since we got there so late, we had already missed The Black Dahlia Murder and Machine Head had essentially cancelled their showings on the tour, all that was left for us as far as entertainment goes was All That Remains, and the headliner…Dethklok. After having a few beers and a shot of Jager (thanks a ton venue drink prices, that shot was totally worth $8). We descended to the commons area and the pit to see the band tear some shit up.
It was a complete surprise to me to hear these gentlemen playing on this tour. I literally flew blind into this show, not really caring who was all there as long as Dethklok was one of the bands. I hope this doesn’t come across as ungrateful to Brendon Small’s people for having us out to the show, but I actually thought that All That Remains had the better set of the night. That’s not to say that Dethklok had a bad set, I just have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good these guys were. Their interaction with the audience was top notch as they managed to get one of the biggest mosh pits I’ve ever seen started and perpetuated for a good 3-4 songs. Of course, I lost my shit when they performed a handful of tracks off their best album to date “The Fall of Ideals”.
I’m a big fan of opening bands showing their ass off to upstage the main act. I’ve only seen it in person two other times when a know-nothing group called The Deftones opened up for Korn in the mid 90s, and when Skunk Anansie opened for The Rollins Band in the late 90s.
Soon enough, All That Remains was done and it was time for Ryan and I to rush the stage to get our up close and personal spots near the barricade…which seemed like a good idea at the time. The roadies who were getting Dethklok’s equipment ready seemed a bit different than your normal roadie as it appeared they were wearing uniforms, which finally struck me as they put on their masks and assumed the role as Klokateers. That shit was amazeballs if for no other reason than being hammered over the head with the realization that something fictional was being made real, very real, and very soon.
The band arrived, and rocked the shit out of the crowd, yet there seemed to be something a bit off with their performance that I wasn’t able to put a finger on until later discussions with Ryan occurred. The group themselves were obscured by darkness on the stage for a good chunk of the show as the masterfully animated music videos for said songs played out on the screen behind the band. I understand now that was them trying to make the Dethklok from the show seem present at the concert. They wanted us to watch the videos, not Brendon Small and crew on stage…which I did my best to focus on, though it’s hard for me to turn away from the awesomeness of “I Ejaculate Fire” and my favorite of the night “Duncan Hill Jingle”.
I especially love how they included the audience in on a plan from the Council regarding getting the audience fat with “FATGAS”, only to have it blow up in their face…literally. The bits that deserve special kudos would have to be when Dr. Rockso had his own segment that is cut short by Nathan Explosion, and perhaps the best of all was when Mr. Small voiced 3 of the members of the band (Skwisgar, Pickles, and Nathan) as they talked to the audience, which seemed all adlib.
All in all, it was one hell of a night, though that’s probably the very last time that I try to be in front at a big show like this ever again. It’s no fun having your genitals being crushed against someone’s cell phone and having to have your arms up in a defensive pose the entire time. NEVER AGAIN!