Well let me begin by saying that, yes, it is Sunday and, no, I am not at Brad’s benefit show tonight at Rudz - Rosa is representing tonight. So, I am just here in my Pajamas with CSPAN in the background. Maybe this is not what you would call an exciting evening but, given that the rest of my week (Labor Day included) will consist of working at my crappy job, I am not complaining. The good news is that we are pretty much past the month of being broke. Last week was a struggle as it was a week of stretching every penny until September. Despite my daytime diet of PBJ sandwiches and ramen – we pulled through and I even managed to scrape eight bucks to see Thor and Zolar X.
As you might remember Linus was going on a field trip to see the show as Thor is a lesson in how to rock. Given that Linus never historically goes anywhere, I may have had unreasonable expectations but nevertheless I saved my pennies expecting a posse and a great show. Then the usual drop-out e-mails hit when Clinton wrote on Saturday saying he had a cold and Larry said he had a project deadline. But to my surprise Steve and Charlie hadn’t bowed out. So, I went to rehearsal in time to hear Charlie laying down some sax parts. The sax parts for our swordmetal song were a bit controversial. I was somewhat opposed to sax on a swordmetal song as I felt it was an anachronism (and a bit too sophisticated an instrument for an Thog type Viking) but Charlie countered that electric guitars were hardly the order of the day. [I later had to concede the debate as the boards on Swordmetal.com seemed to agree with Charlie; it seems only the ukulele is considered anathema to the genre.] When 10PM rolled around, Charlie and Steve bowed out of the Thor show. So, I set off alone to the Thor show cursing New York City as I peregrinated though the streets of Houston.
When I arrived, I found the place deserted. It seems that no amount of goofy hype on myspace or Hand-up brought a single soul to this show - Stevie was the only person there I knew. I guess The Sword closing the Rudyards anniversary party on Sunday and the Fatal Flying Guilloteens playing the Proletariat on Monday likely killed off any people even remotely interested. I spoke with Thor, who was his usual jovial self, and I apologized for at the lack of attendance. He shrugged it off saying that he hoped it would pick up but that if not he was still going to give everyone a great show. That to me is what makes Thor cool. He really loves what he does and feels this duty to his audience no matter how small to bring the rock. I mean, how can you not love that?
Zolar X finally started off and to my surprise they were amazing. The drummer had this goofy “I am having the time of my life” look that was utterly endearing but more importantly he was this amazing engine driving the band. These guys may not be young but they are amazing live. Sure they dress like goofy Star Trek aliens and all but what do you expect from a band that started as a space glam band in 1973? I wouldn’t have been blown away of they were just shtick. The fact is the faster punkier stuff was just top notch driving rock and roll; if the Ramones were from space, they would have sung songs that sounded like Jet Star 19. What was great about seeing them play live was that these driving songs didn’t have any goofy studio effects (like the flanged vocals on the afore mentioned song) – here it was just the band and their instruments rocking in a way bands half their age wished they could. Maybe during the glam era of the early 70s this may have been the standard rock show but seeing someone do this now just goes to show those of us who were not there how that era was fun, witty, and a great musical experience. Quite simply Zolar X makes us all look lazy and unimaginative. Sadly, except for the lucky few, Zolar X’s performance was met with indifference by most of Houston who decided to stay home.
Mike Sims wisely cut the entrance fee to a few bucks between bands and mercifully Thor was able to get a small crowd (maybe what 20 people) from some curious people who had simply popped in to Rudz for a drink. Those people were of course treated to a brilliant show. My god, here is what people do not get. People think that because Thor has the Rock Warrior gimmick he can’t deliver the goods. The thing they don’t get is that this is the best rock show they could possibly see. Ask Shane next time you go see the Medicine Show play. He was one of the lucky guys who came up from downstairs. He like everyone else was screaming, thrusting his fist in the air, and singing along. Yes that’s right people who’d never seen Thor were singing along! Thor’s a smart guy and builds his songs with simple choruses that anyone can immediately pick up on. I mean when he began singing “We are warioirs of the Universe! We live by the sword not at the edge of the blade!” Everyone immediately picked up of the chorus and sang along. Here at Rudyards you had 20 people having what amounted to a great party where everyone sang “Thor!…Thor!…Tho-o-o-or Th-o-o-o-or!” as the band played their asses off. I mean who the hell does two encores for such a small number of people. I’ll tell you who – frikkin John M. Thor! You came to rock and he does not disappoint! You want to hear Let the Blood Run Red or Thunderhawk? Fuck yeah he’ll do that. Though the beast that is among you was spared by Thor this time, the crowd was not. One giddy person looked at me and said, “Man, I am so lucky I stumbled in on this show! This is incredible!” That to me is the problem - it’s not that the show isn’t great, it’s just getting people to forget their notion of cool and just come on out. Once there, nary a soul could disavow the greatness of Thor. Again Houston, you are not worthy of the mighty Thor but I vow that if Thor returns to Houston, Linus must open and we will lock the doors after we play until you concede to the greatness that is Thor.
Anyhow, even though you are not worthy, you can see some more pictures of Thor and Zolar X on my Flikr account.
ALL HAIL THOR!
Zolar X Photos
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