On Monday, I went to see Type O Negative at the Metro in Chicago. It was an all-ages show with supporting acts Brand New Sin and Celtic Frost. Luckily, the Cubs had a day game, and had already gotten their loss out of the way by 6:30pm, so parking wasn’t nearly as terrible as it could have been.
Still, the Wrigleyville bar strip was pretty packed, with the idiots spilling out into the street like it was Mardi Gras, and it took longer than expected to get from Belmont to Addison. Combined with the Dan Ryan being jacked up worse than Shane MacGowan’s teeth, and I ended up getting there too late to see Brand New Sin. This was mildly disappointing, as I’d liked their latest album, and was sort of looking forward to it, though it wasn’t that much of a let-down.
Swiss heavy metal legends Celtic Frost were just starting their set as I got there, and while a veritable “who’s who” of metal bands (and Nirvana) cite this band as a major influence, the performance wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’d expected it to be. Perhaps it was the fact that it was very stripped-down metal, while I tend to like my metal with at least a little cream and sugar. Tom Gabriel Fisher did his obligatory chanting-in-German-to-sound-more-evil thing, and it seemed to work. For all anyone knew he was talking about how good the kebab was at Wrigleyville Dogs, but in all fairness, it is a pretty damn good kebab. There was no encore, and I wasn’t really that disappointed, as I found the whole performance to be a little boring. It was good for what it was, but yeah… if you’re ever in Wrigleyville, get that kebab.
After about a 30-minute wait, Peter Steele and Co. finally sauntered out. Josh Silver was the first one out, and my, does he have some hardcore goatee action going on there, though he’s not dying it like his head, so it looks a bit odd. Still very metal, though. Showing that he’s as much of a jokester as he is hard-working musician, Steele came out with a whole bottle of wine, dousing the crowd while shouting, “The power of Christ compels you!” They then went into a medley anchored by the always delightful “We Hate Everyone”, with “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” thrown in to remind us how much they love the damned Beatles.
“Halloween in Heaven”, off of the new album, Dead Again, was dedicated to Dimebag Darrell, while many other songs from the album followed. I’ve not yet heard it, but considering that I didn’t recognize some of the songs, I assume they were from that album. Somewhere during the set, Steele tripped over a cord and fell down behind Silver, who, along with the sound guy, helped him up, and showing how much he kicks ass, he seamlessly kept with the song, even playing the chords as he was lying on the ground. He later made some sort of self-depracating remark about hitting his head pretty good, which, along with two large lit-up signs that said “BOO” and “YOU SUCK” typified the band’s sense of humor; also seen when he shouted, “Chicago is better than Brooklyn because you actually speak English.” Ouch. Actually, Pete, it depends on where in Chicago you go. I wouldn’t say that over on 26th Street, as it’s not only inaccurate, but it might get you stabbed.
It’s been a great deal of time since I’ve been to an all-ages show, and after this one, I remember why. Dan Kozuh touched on this in his Shins concert review, and while this show was thankfully devoid of hipsters and scenesters dressed up like it was Halloween, I did take issue with some high school girls next to me. If they weren’t high school girls, they should be ashamed of themselves for acted like it. I didn’t really have a big problem with the two girls up until “Hey Pete”, when their friend came along. Yes, they were taking pictures and texting them to their friends during the entire show, but what really irked me was when the friend showed up. She was probably about my height (I am a typical short Mexican, though taller than most at 5’7″), and for whatever reason, she thought it would be a good idea to stand directly in front of me. It didn’t help that she had a giant coif of fried blue hair, but she also decided that ithat was a good time to catch up with her friends, whom she obviously hadn’t seen in a while. I assumed this since they were talking back and forth for the better part of ten minutes. Memo to everyone who does this: Don’t. Talk about your new MySpace wallpaper before or after the show, but not during the show, and not right in front of me. Some of us came for the band. This is a really good way to get a five-dollar beer poured on one’s pants. Yes, it was sort of sad to have to sacrifice my beer, but a five-dollar beer takes a back seat to a 25-dollar concert. As expected, my plan worked, and they spent the remainder of the show talking far enough away from me that it wasn’t too aggravating.
The first encore included the always fantastic “Christian Woman”, while a second encore gave us the 10+-minute opus, “Black No. 1”, which sent the crowd home happy. “Black No. 1” has come to be known as Type O’s “Freebird”, though I don’t know if Ronnie Van Zandt ever busted his ass as much as Steele does. I would have liked to hear “Everyone I Love Is Dead”, “Kill All the White People” and “Summer Breeze/Set Me on Fire”, but I wasn’t really complaining.
Type O Negative have shown that you don’t need the mainstream media to be wildly successful, instead giving us a solid workrate, fan appreciation (as evidenced in Steele’s statement: “We do all of this for you guys, because you guys pay our f*cking bills.”) consistently great music and a great sense of humor. This is what a rock band should be. I really did have the time of my life, and no, I’d never felt like this before. Oh, I swear, it’s the truth, and I owe it all to Type O Negative.
Type O Negative
Brand New Sin