Living Carcass

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Last night, Carcass performed live in Tel Aviv. It was their first time in Israel in 25 years or something. The first time I saw them live was at Wacken in 2014 and if you were following my previous posts or read it in my zine, you would know that I wasn’t entirely blown away by their performance at the festival. So I rather expected their Israeli show to at least be slightly better. I don’t know what it is, maybe I’m getting old, but no, I wasn’t blown away by their Israeli performance either.

Don’t get me wrong. Carcass is amazing! They’re an epic band with a sound like no other. I absolutely love their songs. My husband and my metalhead friends loved the fuck out of their show. So after the show was over, I was trying to figure out why I didn’t.

We drove to Tel Aviv that evening after Shabbat came out. I didn’t wear as many layers as I usually do in this time of year because I expected it to be much warmer in Tel Aviv. It usually is, but this time it wasn’t. Fucking freezing weather and I curse thee winter. Asshole season, seriously.

The first band on the bill was Shredhead. I expected my ears to bleed seeing as I was told they were metalcore. But the band didn’t suck as much. I was just happy to be at a metal concert again.

After Shredhead was done tearing up the stage, and before Carcass was set to come up and (hopefully) pulverize it, the soundguy, for some godforsaken reason, decided to play a medley of ACDC songs.

Now, I’m sure I will make me some sworn enemies coming to my house with torches, but I. CANNOT. STAND. ACDC. A bunch of untalented cock-rock musicians, fronted by a guy who sounds like a dying cat choking on a frog. And all their songs sound the fucking same!

Anyway, when that shit was over, Carcass finally came up. A lot of their opening songs were from Heartwork and Surgical Steel. Two amazing records. The live songs were pretty good, except that I really like singing along to songs played live but Jeff Walker wasn’t singing exactly as he does on the record, so I had a bit of a hard time with that.

I also expected them to play at least one song off of Swansong. In fact, they played one and a half. That’s right, one and a half. They played the intro to Black Star, which is my favorite Carcass song ever. I screamed and started headbanging myself crazy, but then right before the beginning of the first verse, they suddenly switched gears and started playing Keep On Rotting. And I was like standing there going “What the fuck? Why would you do that?!”

A fucking tease is all it was. It may seem like a minor infraction but I think this is what killed it for me. I was livid. If you’re gonna start playing a song, play it to the bitter end. I told my husband after the show that I really think Carcass hate their own record. They probably think that Swansong is a piece of shit and refuse to play it live and think they can’t possibly destroy these songs any more than they already are so playing an intro to a song and then flick the switch and move on to another is perfectly acceptable.

It isn’t.

The rest of the songs were mostly from their older records, none of which I know. I found it irritating that they didn’t always hold for applause before playing the next song so at some point it just made it sound like a single longass endless song. They also played a couple of songs from their latest, Surgical Steel, which is also pretty good. And the last song was Heartwork, which I would have loved if I wasn’t so disappointed by the non-existence of Black Star.

Besides that, Jeff sometimes joked with the crowd, but his heavy British accent made it impossible for me to understand him. The rest of the crowd did, which is amazing assuming that they’re all Israelis with English as a second language, and I’m a Canadian with much better English than them, but I still failed to understand what the hell Jeff was saying. I think it’s like the French French who can’t for the life of them understand the French Canadians. Give me the old osti d’criss and be done with it.

I think another reason I didn’t enjoy the show as much as I should have is because earlier that day, my daughter had been either teething or experiencing some pain from the shots she got last week and was whining quite a lot. I felt bad leaving her in that state and going to a different city and coming home so late. I left her in the care of my mother-in-law who is great with her, but still. It wasn’t me. I felt as if I was abandoning her when she is in pain. In fact, my mother-in-law told me she didn’t fall asleep until 12:15 a.m. So how was I supposed to enjoy anything knowing that my daughter is in another city suffering and needing her mother?

Anyway, I’m still glad I got to go. I guess. Tonight, we have Sunday metal night. I plan on adding Black Star to the playlist and listen to it in all its full-length glory. And may the Goddess have mercy on anyone who dares to cut it short.

Peace, love and Carcass, keep on rotting yourself.

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Khaos Over Tel Aviv

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Arch Enemy’s performance in Tel Aviv last night was something else. With all the planning and organizing and preparing both strategically and emotionally, I still found myself with a great need for flexibility due to some events I wasn’t entirely prepared for.

The first concern was whether there would be traffic, and if we’ll be late – There wasn’t and we weren’t.

The second concern was if it’ll take us a long time to find the venue. Yet, we found it quite easily. “Follow the black pile,” said my boyfriend, referring to the scattered crowds of metalheads along the way.

Another concern was the weather. I was expecting the worst – being stuck outside waiting in line in the freezing, pouring rain. Though it was pretty cold, it wasn’t raining and we were quite alright.

When we finally made it inside, it was a much bigger venue than what I expected. There were also a few levels and platforms with railings around the stage. We found a decent spot on the left side of the stage on the second platform, right behind the railing. The platform was high enough so that we don’t have to do any contortionist acrobatics to see what goes on onstage. And the railing was low enough for me to be able to headbang, and it also proved to be quite useful for hanging our coats and the t-shirts we bought.

The stage was rather small, but I guess since this is Tel Aviv and not Montreal, and this was Reading 3 and not the Medley, that was to be expected. There wasn’t an enormous crowd, which was good, because I like to be able to breathe during a concert.

The first disappointment came early on. I had a back and forth email conversation with Angela about meeting the band backstage before the show. I gave her my cell number because it was my understanding that I would get a text message from her at around 9:00 and someone would come meet us near the merch area to take us backstage. That didn’t happen. Though we got there on time, I got no text message, and I found out later that night that the dude did come to the merch area where we were waiting, but didn’t see us, obviously, because he didn’t know what we look like.

When Chaos of Nazareth, the opening band, came onstage, I was well within my third stage of disappointment – desperation. I looked to the curtain of the backstage and saw a guy that looked like part of the tour management team. I went up to him, and screamed at the top of my lungs so he can hear me: “Can you tell Angela that Hadass is here?”

He went to check backstage and when he came back, he told me I’m too late, and that the band started warming up to go onstage. Now, if my email conversation with Angela would have been any different, it wouldn’t have been too upsetting. But she made it clear that meeting the band after the show would most likely not be possible, due to schedule matters.

My boyfriend tried to cheer me up, but I was still disappointed.

The inner child was livid. But she kept her passive-aggressive demeanor in the quiet way to which she is accustomed before exploding.

“You know,” she finally said, speaking mostly to herself than to me. “This is Arch Enemy’s first goddamn show in Israel. You’re about to get infused with a highly toxic amount of pure fucking metal right into your skull. The metal demon is at the doorstep of your brain. And here you are moping around because you won’t see the band backstage.”

She scoffed, but she slumped her shoulders and hung her head. The inner dialogue continued.

“Imagine if it would be the other way around,” she mused. “What if you were to see them backstage, and for some reason, you wouldn’t see them onstage. Would that have been worth it?”

The reply was immediate, “Fuck NO!”

“So swallow your bitter fruit. It was a misunderstanding. It didn’t work out, big fucking deal. Now let the metal demon in.”

And in it went. And when Arch Enemy took the stage, the demon thrashed me like a ragdoll. I didn’t fight it. The inner child reveled in the black and red metal aura radiating from the stage, and she savored every flip, every swivel, every snap and twist of the neck.

The show started at 10:30 and ended at 11:50. Arch Enemy played many songs from Wages of Sin and Khaos Legions, and a couple from Rise of the Tyrant, Doomsday Machine and Anthems of Rebellion.

At Graspop, Arch Enemy didn’t play any songs from Root of All Evil, but I thought it was because their festival set lasted 50 minutes and they had to keep the list of their tunes to a strict minimum. But last night, they ended the show without so much as a mention of that record. Though I was disappointed about that too, I was absolutely ecstatic that some of my favorite Arch Enemy songs did make the cut. The songs they played were:

Yesterday Is Dead and Gone
Revolution Begins
Ravenous
Enemy Within
My Apocalypse
Bloodstained Cross
Taking Back My Soul
(Daniel’s drum solo)
Under Black Flags We March
Dead Eyes See No Future
(Chris’s guitar solo)
(Michael’s guitar solo – Intermezzo Liberte)
Burning Angel
Dead Bury Their Dead
We Will Rise
Snow Bound
Encore: Nemesis
Fields of Desolation outro

I never thought Enemy Within, Dead Bury Their Dead and Burning Angel would make an appearance, but when the intro of each song began, the metal demon reclaimed its all-encompassing presence and my headbanging resumed with utmost violence. I screamed the lyrics to all the songs even if I could feel my throat being torn to shreds. There were times I pulled at my hair, pulled at my shirt, pounded my chest with my fists, arched my back and screamed at the sky. Following the show, I asked my inner child, “Did this really happen?”

“No,” she replied. “Here is what actually happened.” And she replayed a more violent, more bloody version of events than I could recall, followed by her evil little rebel smile.

My cousin joined us after the show. He was standing in the front row and scored a setlist, Michael’s pic and a handshake from Daniel. We hung around a little longer, waiting for the crowd to disperse. Meanwhile, I was looking to the backstage curtain every now and again, trying to debate whether or not I should give it another shot.

Finally, I saw the dude that spoke to me during the Chaos of Nazareth set, and decided to go for it. Worst that could happen, he says no and I have to settle with the one picture I have with Angela from Montreal.

“I just want to say hi, and I’ll be out of there,” I pleaded.

He went backstage and came back with a semi-positive answer.

“You can go in,” he said. “But only you. Nobody else.”

“So they can’t come with me?” I pointed at my boyfriend and my cousin.

“No, just you,” he insisted.

I turned to them and said “Sorry, guys!” And followed the guy behind the curtain.

After another 10 or 15 minutes of waiting, I was finally taken to the band’s dressing room. They were standing around drinking coffee, looking a bit ravaged and sweaty, sporting the good old we-just-kicked-a-bunch-of-ass-at-the-hardcore-metal-show-we-just-played look. I smiled My inner child smiled right through me, stretching my dystrophied jaw muscles as far as they’ll go.

I took a few pictures, got a few signatures and a few hugs, delivered Angela and Daniel the letters that my cousin asked me to give to them, and spoke to Angela a little. I don’t quite recall what I said, but I remember she told me she might be performing at Hellfest. And with Black Sabbath and King Diamond set to play there too, that’s a triple-chippy-chip-churrah for your ass. It totally made my night and compensated for any mishap before the show, any song they didn’t play during the show, and any neck-stiffness I experienced after the show and am still experiencing now.

After the backstage visit, I joined my group of metalheads outside and we went to eat. We got back home at the nice and ripe hour of 3:30 a.m. and I fell asleep with such a resounding snore to raise the dead. What an appropriate way to end the night.

And now the pictures (and a video) for your viewing enjoyment!

A Pair of Ovaries and a Six-String

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OK seriously now, Israel needs more riot grrrl bands. I’m like totally serious. This past Friday (besides being totally psyched that it was the first Friday in over a year (trip to Barcelona, Belgium and Amsterdam notwithstanding) that I actually slept in and not having to wake up at 5:15 a.m., and besides going to a metal market in Tel Aviv and then proceeding to swim in the Mediterranean and licking brownies and Mekupelet flavored ice cream off my salty sandy fingers), I went to see HaShlooliyot (The Puddles) in concert at Sublime in Tel Aviv.

HaShlooliyot are my favorite Israeli riot grrrl band. In fact, they’re the only Israeli band I know that plays this genre of music in its original raw glory. I’ve come across several other Israeli chick bands but most are more alternative or rock, but they lack the riot grrrl spark. Not The Puddles. They got more than the spark. They got something more like a blaze. And though I doubt they ever heard of grrrlVIRUS, I say they’re severely infected. I’ve covered them in a couple of issues of Fallopian Falafel (Check Issue #8 on Love – available in my Etsy store – and Issue #13 on DIY) and I traded a few copies of my zine for their first (and only) record.

So this past Friday, I was at Sublime for a metal market when I came across a lovely flyer, totally DIY, promoting the show they were having that night. It was entirely coincidental. I haven’t seen HaShlooliyot live since they performed in Avram Bar in Jerusalem two years ago. They performed in Jerusalem three times, but I missed their third show because that day I left work totally upset because my boss pissed me off so bad, I hung up the phone in his face. As I walked home that day, I completely forgot about the one thing that would actually cheer me up – a totally kickass riot grrrl show by a band who already knows me by name. All their other gigs took place in Tel Aviv, where I could never go, again because of my job.

But now that I quit, Fridays own. And this past Friday, I was looking at that flyer over and over thinking how awesome it would be to watch them play live again. Then I read the rest of the flyer and noticed they actually broke up, and that was to be their final farewell show. A huge bummer, and kind of an ironic thing to happen when I actually have time to go to their shows. But they delivered such good shit, even my boyfriend was getting into it.

I was standing front and center because I wouldn’t have it any other way. They walked onstage wearing cat ears and tails. They knocked back shots in between songs, and called for refills. They got me dancing like no music or band can. And their song Russian Post-Punk actually got me screaming (like I never can) and headbanging (like a fucking pro). They brought a couple of guests onstage, including this blond punk chick, who looked like a Suicide Girl with her flapper cabaret outfit and bold tattoos. I love tattooed cabaret style grrrls. LOVE! Imagine that four-letter word in funky print with colorful rainbows and stars and butterflies and hearts fluttering around it. That’s how I felt about this amazing woman singing with the band and adding background growls and shrieks to Russian Post-Punk.

The show ended with no encores, but I got a chance to speak to Lisa, the lead vocalist, and Merav, the drummer. And earlier that day, during the metal market, I even bumped into Chen, the bassist. Lisa told me that was their last show and that they never released a second record as was planned earlier. But she also said that this show was recorded, so I can contact her to find out about where and when I could get a copy.

Anyway, as I said before, Israel needs more riot grrrl bands. And now that HaShlooliyot are defunct, the drought has reached alarming levels and the need is even more severe. Maybe Punk Flapper grrrl has a band of her own… hmmm…

Come on, grrrlVIRUS! Work your contaminated magic! Make some female cactus fungi sprout up from this Holy Earth, and unleash some explosive waves of ovulationary power onto the underground stage!

Peace, love and “Why are you out in the rain, do you not have any brain, come inside are you insane *GROWL*”