Monday, September 21, 2009

Return from Planet Caravan


This past weekend, while everyone in Raleigh was checking out SparkCon and oohing and ahhing over the Barrel Dinosaur, yours truly and a few girlfriends headed west to Asheville for Planet Caravan. One member of the gang knows some folks who privately rent some riverside cabins on a spectacularly beautiful piece of land, so we expected to have a nice relaxing time when we weren't blasting our ears with metal. Other than having a rock crack the windshield of my BRAND NEW CAR while driving through Greensboro, we managed to relax and rock as planned.

Because of the weird, ever-changing ticket-price structure, and the total lack of marketing campaign for the festival, I wasn't sure what to expect. I kind of thought there might not be many people there, and sure enough, some of the shows (particularly Pentagram) were almost painfully underattended. I'll also go ahead and note here that I took lots of photos, and Tweeted most of the shows I saw, but because of past experience, I did not record video.


After dining at Salsa's, which won raves from the girls for having the best margaritas, we arrived at The Orange Peel on night one after Wino had taken the stage. My goal for this entire weekend was to catch Wino and Pentagram, and maybe Kylesa and Orange Goblin. Hbomb also wanted to see Pentagram, and Angela was dying to see Clutch. Sheri didn't seem to have any favorites and was just open to anything. But even though we were mostly there to see the legendary acts, it was the newcomers who really blew us away.


My favorite discovery of the weekend is Bison, who I believe are from Vancouver, played to a packed, sweaty house two doors down at Mo Daddy's -- so packed and sweaty that I spent the majority of the show outside in the rain waiting to get in. We actually ran into the band the next day while we were walking around downtown Asheville. We told them where to get breakfast (Mayfels) and told them to avoid the hippies in the drum circle park. They told us that they were playing that night (Saturday) in Charlotte. I hope you had a chance to catch them because they put on an amazingly high-energy show. It's interesting to see that they have Red Fang (David Sullivan and John Sherman's new band) as one of their top friends on Myspace, because they sound kind of similar.


Following Bison at Mo Daddy's was Atlanta's Zoroaster, whom I also liked quite a bit, but somehow neglected to photograph. Not sure how I dropped the ball on that one. Maybe I was too rocked out after Bison? Regardless, the next band was Kylesa back at the Orange Peel, and for my money they put on the best of all the shows I saw during the entire weekend.


The final band of the evening (so we thought) was Clutch. I've never seen them, or as far as I know, heard them before that night, and honestly I don't care if I ever see or hear them again. They made almost no impression on me. My companions, however, were ecstatic. Angela, who is one of the most well-read people I know, explained to me the literary nature of the band's lyrics, and lamented that those lyrics were soaring way over the heads of the drunk khaki-pants wearing crew that had suddenly invaded the club.

We ended up leaving the Orange Peel early and heading to Barley's because Hbomb had the munchies for a calzone, but on the way we found Knoxville's Pick Up the Snake playing for about 10 people at Mo Daddy's. And I can safely say that nine of them, especially the drunk hippie girl who kept trying to get me to dance with her, were completely hammered. It's too bad that so few people saw this show because they have a nice early-Hellacopters swagger. I did take some photos of them, but none of them really came out.

(Orange Goblin)

We missed most of the bands on night two because we were enjoying our mountain accommodations a little too much. Also, one person in our party (not me) enjoyed herself a little too much the night before, and it took a herculean effort to rouse her out of bed. But that's another story for another time. We did make it downtown in time to catch a couple of bands that did nothing for us, and then Orange Goblin, who were worth the wait. As far as I could tell, they also had the biggest crowd of the entire festival which was good because they apparently flew over from London just for this show. A quick look at their Myspace page shows that they don't play out a whole lot, so I'm very glad I got a chance to see them.

Finally it was time for PENTAGRAM! who played for a shockingly (as far as I'm concerned) low number of people. I'm going to guess that there were 100 people in the audience when they came on. I was really kind of astounded to see the amount of people who streamed out of the Orange Peel as soon as Orange Goblin was done with their set. I mean, if you've already paid for the show, and you love Orange Goblin, why not stick around to see Bobby Liebling, one of the most legendary doom metal singer's all time? And if Liebling was disappointed at the low turn-out, he didn't show it, because he hammed it up like the metal offspring of Vincent Price and the Energizer Bunny.

Unfortunately, one of the people who did show up was a man I have dubbed The Most Irritating Music Fan in the Triangle -- or, for short, the Whistling Dork. If you have been to a heavy rock show in the Triangle lately, you have seen, or rather heard, this fool. He gets up next to the stage and whistles as loud as he can throughout the entire show. And it's Loud. Wolf-whistle loud. Hail a cab from two miles away loud. So loud that he actually drowned out Trouble when they played at Volume 11 last year. Now that's loud. Angela actually confronted him during the Trouble show and told him he was ruining it for other people. He insisted that he just had to whistle to show his appreciation for the band and then actually whistled more.

Luckily for us, Bobby Liebling had the answer for this dude's inexplicable desire to ruin everyone else's metal experience. He drowned the Whistling Dork's stupid little whistle OUT!

See more photos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was there both days and could not believe either, that more people did not show up. Thanks for the great pics !!! :)