Thursday, December 29, 2011

Panzerbastard with Ashers and Intheshit [O'Brien's, Allston, 12/22/2011]

I'd been ground down from the trip and subsequent re-integration into work to go out to the Worcester iteration of this non-release release show, but with another week gone by and whatever I was too sick from at the weekend to do much of anything cleared, it was in to Boston for this go-round. My timing was a little off, partly from ring rust and partly from the slightly earlier start -- Born of Fire shows are usually two-band with little chance of music before ten, but there was a third band on this date -- but that of course didn't matter much, with beer, Dead Snow, and good company whiling the time down until Intheshit was ready to blast through their set.

Intheshit [5.5/7]
Of course, the band promptly flipped that assumption by playing a more extended, varied, and meaty set still built around, though no longer solely composed of, fast, blasting grindcore. Intheshit's no longer a stopwatch grind band, where the set is a battle between the length of the available material and the band members' stamina and ability to execute, and the slower and occasionally doomier parts do well to set up the straight-ahead violence. When called upon, like at the end of the set, they can still do up three songs in two minutes, but their performance is no longer solely predicated on doing that. I don't see this band as often as I'm able to, but with this kind of development, and the promise of more in the future, that's definitely something I need to get fixed.

Ashers [5/7|NA]
I'm not sure that I can properly rate hardcore; if you go to more hardcore shows than metal gigs and don't trust a guy with Ensiferum and Tourniquet patches on his rig to properly understand a band like this, feel free to toss out the arbitrary number. That aside, this was a good, enjoyable set of punk-flavored hxc with some rockier elements; not quite up my alley, but a good change of pace, a good performance, and a necessary complement to the other opener given the headliners and how this gig was inevitably going to draw. I may not go out to see them on my own hook, or encounter them too often since I don't see many pure hardcore or punk shows, but they'll be worth the watch next time I encounter them on a more metal/grind/Bobfest bill.

Worth mentioning in here is that O'Brien's was full up nearly to capacity, despite being a Thursday night so close to the holidays. You'd expect this, having a release show with good support for a killer, well-liked band who draw from both metalheads and punks, but it's also always good to see expectations being met. The only expectation that wasn't met was that Panzerbastard would actually have material available for sale, this being a release show, but pressers, what are you gonna do? They'll eventually have the record available, and we, oh horrors, will just have to go see Panzerbastard again to pick it up. Somehow, Boston will deal.

Panzerbastard [6/7]
Lack of new recordings aside, PB completely killed it, pretty much as expected. The Motorhead-cribbing-Hellhammer ethos remains intact, rolling forward in a spiky ball of tarry sludge with rusting metal spikes sticking out of it, the new stuff that people didn't all immediately know how to yell along to blending right in with the older stuff that they did. It felt a little short at the end, but this is probably due more to me losing track of time than anything else; this was a thoroughly crushing set that covered most everything you could expect from the band. Keith may have chopped off his hair, but he's lost none of his fire, as the aftermath below shows:

Absolute fucking carnage. The only way.

After gawking at the carcass of Keith's bass as above, I beat feet for the bridge; it was only a little early, and I still had work and holiday crap to get through. This last hogged up most of the intervening week; this being out, though, I now get the chance to dare the Pike out to Scaphism.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Spedition Gebr. D GmbH - Bayern (part 4)

12/11 - about Pressbaum

We left Vienna under a gray morning light, and promptly got stuck due to track damage. Wir sind die Pechvögel den deutschsprachenden Railsystemen. Sooner or later, though, we will get through this, and head on to Munich. Hence the early start; we should be able to get at least a little done, no matter how long it takes us to get there.

Some rules for travel, at least and in about the order that I passed them on to M:

0. Don't Panic.
1. Don't make mistakes.
2. Have enough to get all the way out at all times.
3. Don't assume you'll be able to immediately clear a LZ.
4. Mouth shut, eyes and ears open.
5. Hope for the worst.

365. Shadows of the distant Alps. M has much better pictures from passing through Salzburg.

- Munich -

Safely in, but the hotel thinks the wrong booking was canceled. Eejits. We'll survive, though.

After getting in, we hiked out to the Hirschgarten for lunch and a look at nature.

366. Hill in the Hirschgarten.

Lunch was good if a little pricey (even after Vienna), but worth the trip out, even in the offseason.

367. Hirsch im Garten.

368. Some more deer at the other end of the enclosure. If you think "wow, that's a lot of deer for a somewhat small and sad habitat", you're right, but it doesn't matter, because these guys are also on the menu, and the population issues accordingly get worked out.

369. Tremendously sad snowman, coming back. It snowed a few days before, but by now had mostly melted.

370. General landscape, Hirschgarten.

The garden is nice to walk through, but if you're mostly coming out for the restaurant (or the beer garden, in season), it's probably easier to get off the S-bahn at Leim, one stop further out, than at the eponymous stop; getting out at Hirschgarten, as we did, you have a nontrivial hike over a rail overpass and through some new developments to get to the park, and then it's all the way through the park to the restaurant and deer pen.

371. A striking apartment block by the hotel.

This is Bavaria and also Sunday, so goddamn-all everything is closed. Fortunately, there are kebap and Chinese places (multikulti means different religious days off, kickass) in the area open, and also an Adventmarkt. After that's done, I have an hour of internets to plan tomorrow end-to-end before the meter starts running. Not a problem.

12/12 - Munich

Last day - minor crisis averted last night, probably triggered by mediocre-to-crappy Greek food, so we should be good to press on. This will likely be a shorter day in and around Marienplatz, as we're out at like 4:30 AM tomorrow in order to get the S-bahn to the airport.

Instead of taking the S-bahn in after not finding the memorial plaque at the site of the former Bierhalle-putch-bierhalle, we decided to just hike in to the center.

372. Neat pillar in front of the Gasteig culture center.

373. More cool sculptures on the front.

374. At the public pool by the Isar.

375. Down towards the Deutsches Museum.

376. Reflected in the river.

377. Right at the first fork.

378. Inside the hof.

379. Street view towards the center.

380. Closer on the toy museum tower.

381. Wee guy over this row of shops.

382. Face of the Rathaus.

383. Pillar out front.

384. In towards the Frauenkirche towers.

385. Cool old storefront.

386. Another impressive facade.

387. Gate to Stachus.

388. Across the traffic circle.

389. Heading back towards the river.

390. Exact as always.

391. Memorial for the old synagogue.

392. Frauenkirche towers over the city.

393. Classic old street towards the church.

- Frauenkirche -

394. Up from the base.

395. Inside; crossbow and stained glass.

396. Up to the organ alcove.

397. View in the sanctuary.

398. Brudertritt.

399. Teufelstritt. This is not to cast any aspersions on my brother's character; he was just standing on the Teufelstritt, Phillipe-style, before I got to take a picture looking down at it.

400. Door detail, heading out.

- Residenz and stuff -

401. Tucked away in a corner, here gather the smallest in soul of the entire world. You are in FUCKING MÜNCHEN, HEIMAT DES BIERES, and you go to a ripoff Irish bar?

402. Panorama across the square by the Schlosskammer.

403. Up across from the Residenz.

404. Out to the suburbs.

405. Inside the Residenzhof.

406. Facing wall of the Residenz.

407. Figures along the roof representing traditional Bavarian professions.

408. Dome over some trees.

409. Smaller church by the Spanish cultural center.

410. Volkskundemuseum on Maximillianstrasse.

411. Government building opposite.

412. Stature of the Woburn-born Count Rumford out front.

413. Maximillian II's statue in the middle of his eponymous street.

414. Europe; great architecture amid the everyday.

415. Down the steps to the rejoining of the Isar.

416. Maximillianeum at the far end of the bridge.

417. Short side of the river.

418. Close in on the top of the building.

419. Statue on the bridge.

420. Cool discoloration from the lamp above.

421. Statue and Regierung.

422. Better view of the church in 414.

423. München obligato.

424. Dude with the mug atop the Hofbräuhaus.

425. Barrel-end crest inside.

It's recommended to come up Herrenstrasse to the Hbh; you see the back and the service entrance first, a privilege accorded to few tourists.

Lunch done, gotta run; plan is to crawl back over the bridge via various brewpubs.

This turned out to be successfull; gute Gemütlichkeit, but also a nap till about 7pm, and we need to box clever for dinner.

426. Biere und Bruder in Augustiner-keller.

427. Church of the Holy Spirit after coming out.

428. Paulaner helles.

429. "No politics" sign in Paulaner am Tal.

430. Stammtisch reservation signs in the Schneider Weisse pub.

431. Weissbier here, of course.

video8: Wirtkunst in Betrieb. This guy was really good, but this video doesn't really show him in full command of his equipment.

432. Mural by the Dürnbräu/Spaten pub.

433. Tankards with the traditional hinged top.

434. Look back along the river, coming back across.

435. Propeller and shaft outside the Deutsches Museum.

We are quite close to a successful conclusion to the trip, but we need to go get dinner and some brekkie supplies for tomorrow. There's a failover sequence of Afghan (worked, and do piasa=win) - Chinese - Turkish restaurants, though, and a minimart in the subway, so we should be fine; fare for tomorrow morning already pulled. Said minimart turned out to be closed, but we managed -- I'm an old pro at having stuff around to avoid starving on.

12/13 - Amsterdam

M and I parted ways after getting off a bumpy hop from Munich, so I'm on my own again. Long hike, brief security theater, ready to roll on.

436. Leaving Munich. Dawn takeoffs kick ass.

There's not a lot of time or grist to reflect on here; I did things I didn't really want to, and skipped or had to skip things I did, but it was a decent experience all told. I don't think either of us will really want to do this again, but, again, it was a good experience to do it once.

The basic difference is of comfort level; M gets easily alienated in strange surroundings, and feels bad when he is, while I'm not sure I've been homesick since I was 13 years old. That bout was bad, but ever since, I've found it easy to adjust and acclimate to everywhere I've been. Home is a place to store the stuff I can't pack with me, and family people I see now and again between rovings. If required or possible, I could "stay out" practically forever.

If I did, I could easily avoid loud idiot Americans in airports. This is the other reason I pack a mp3 with: why the hell are so many of my countrymen such derps, and what is it about the United States that so inhibits the development of an "inside voice" as the rest of the world recognizes it? It's all easily obviated, though, as the moon rises over Kara-Shehr.

The Weinachtsmarkte were quiet, and the luxury stores were brightly lit, the tourist sites mobbed, though the arc Moscow - Zwickau - Brussels - London was anything but. The debt crisis is ultimately a confidence crisis; the confidence on display in the Germanic countries seems to at least indicate that they have the confidence to haul the rest of the continent back from the brink.

Still, Zwickau hovers like a plague specter over all of this. The prosperity and glitter of the capitals does not trickle out to their own hinterlands so well, let alone those in the periphery. If things have to get worse before they get better, we are running a sever risk of going back to the bad old days of the '90s, in terms of the radical right. The hope, though, is that people are far more connected and less vulnerable to propaganda than in the old days; if Rageface shows up protesting Putin, then there will be others among the anonymi that can take the fight to the fascists. Europe is going to survive, but in what shape and in what straits is yet to be determined.

My part in this story, though, is done for the next seven or eight months, as I go back to my own self-destructive, right-plagued, stupid, and enormously productive economic sphere. I go back to Party.San for one last spin of the wheel on the festival system, and then it's off to other horizons, other shores for other adventures before the sands of time run out on me.

Gear notes: my secondary pack is falling apart and needs repaired. I could have used another shirt and maybe another pair of socks, but what I had worked. The general-use coat was proof against what little rain we had to deal with, and while I did not need the emergency pants or belt, they served their purpose. Two sweatshirts was a good idea for both layering and rotation purposes. The shorts were a lifesaver with hotel temperatures this high.

The storm has cleared Schipol, and the light is amazing. Just about to board, and if my mp3 runs out of battery, it's had a good run and done what it needed to.

- approaching Labrador -

After like 14 hours of flight/airport-bullshit-blocking time, the battery is finally dead in the player, midway throgh Kreator's "System Decay". Credit to Phillips; I thought this thing was dead six hours ago grooving to "NDW 2005" while boarding.

- off Salem -

Class view of the twin bridges as we go flaps-down. It's good to live along the coast, next to such obvious landmarks, under one of the main approaches to your local air hub.

Just magnificent views of the city. I come and go so often at dark, under shitty weather, etc, that I sometimes forget how Boston looks.

- Boston -

Out of customs and to the Amex exchange desk. 1.12 LESS commission. This is why I avoid exchange desks whenever possible. Fuckers. At least I'm minimizing my losses; I only need ten euro changed to get home, so the rest can lose value the natural way as the dollar appreciates.

Home, finally, to a more or less empty fridge and going to sleep at six in the evening. Work in the morning, back to the grind again.