Breaking Benjamin 7/25/18

BBticket

This show was not on my radar at all but Bob was jazzed to go and this was quite simply an opportunity to hang out and have some drinks with one of my favorite peeps. I do like Breaking Benjamin but I would have been good with the one time I did see them almost three years before this at Aftershock and I am not a fan of Five Finger Death Punch whatsoever. It did help that I scored a ticket for only $6 off of StubHub.

I originally thought Bob was going to drive us, which would have allowed us to grab a bite and have a couple beers in the parking lot but that did not happen. Instead we had beers at my house, no dinner and caught a Lyft to the show. We missed the opener Bad Wolves but once we arrived we were informed that our tickets were upgraded since the lawn section had been closed off due to a lack of ticket sales. Even better, when we got to the table where they were exchanging the lawn tickets we were upgraded to General Admission Pit tickets for no charge and no particular good reason. No complaints here as that meant my $6 lawn ticket turned into a $6 floor ticket. The good news kept coming as we then found out that Five Finger Death Punch was to open for Breaking Benjamin as opposed to the other way around like I had thought.

Five Finger Death Punch was touring for their seventh album And Justice for None that was released about two months before this. The floor section was not all that packed so we stood fairly close to the right side of the stage. The bass player was on our side of the stage a lot and looked like he was some sort of octopus creature from Pirates of the Caribbean due to his beard. I did not know the significance of the red hand painted on singer Ivan Moody’s face but apparently their fans did and he pulled about 10 of them with matching red hands out of the crowd to join him onstage for a song. They were good musicians but save for their cover of “Bad Company” I just could not get into it.

SETLIST: Lift Me Up, Trouble, Wash It All Away, Jekyll and Hyde, Bad Company, Fake, Wrong Side of Heaven, Remember Everything, Coming Down, Burn MF, Gone Away, Under and Over It, The Bleeding

Breaking Benjamin was touring for their sixth album Ember that was released on 4/13/18. I am fairly certain that I saw them at Aftershock during the day so seeing them at night was a much different experience. They seemed more in their element and had more presence this time. Maybe it was partially due to the darkness and maybe it was partially due to the dark beers I had consumed. Their mashup of the Star Wars Imperial March, Tool, Nirvana, Pantera and Metallica was pretty cool but anything Pantera is going to win points with me. Bob and I made a rare appearance in the mosh pit because a.) it felt criminal to get upgraded to floor tickets and not go in the mosh pit and b.) the pit was fun since it was more of a weak dancing circle than a full on slam dancing/get punched in the face on accident kind of a thing.

SETLIST: Red Cold River, I Will Not Bow, Never Again, Breath, Imperial March/Schism/Smells Like Teen Spirit/Walk/Sad But True, Sooner or Later, Blow Me Away, So Cold, Angels Fall, Psycho, Failure, Until the End, Believe, Torn In Two, The Diary of Jane

AFTERWARD: All the goodness of the evening was counterbalanced by the reality of life the next morning when we awoke to realize that Bob’s car had been towed since Bob did not end up driving and we did not put a parking pass in Bob’s car. $263 later and the universe was right again. I would do it all over again if given the chance.

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Aftershock 10/24/15

Aftershock 2015

After such a good time two years ago at this event we could not help ourselves and holy crap what a lineup! Same crew as 2013 (me, Marvin, Ken and Bob) and the addition of Joe in from Portland, but unlike last time we actually knew that Marvin was coming. This time the venue was at a place called Gibson Ranch instead of Discovery Park and we were able to “camp.” The plan was for Marvin to drive out from Salt Lake City and meet up with Bob who would already be in the Bay Area due to attending the 49ers/Seahawks game for Thursday Night Football and then meet up with me, Ken and Joe who were flying in on Saturday morning. Since all of us were flying Marvin was in charge of bringing tents, sleeping bags, etc. After we all met at a Walmart on the way to load up on supplies (mostly alcohol) we were on our way. The first band any of us cared about was Suicidal Tendencies, scheduled to be on at 2 pm, since we had missed them earlier in the year at Epicenter. Since our flight landed at 10 we figured we had plenty of time to get settled but all the little things add up and we now found ourselves waiting in a long line of cars to get into the place and more specifically the campground. Very poor organization caused us to wait in our car (a rented super small shitbox of a Mazda) for what seemed like forever before we could get “escorted” to our campsite. By the time we got to the campsite and set up tents, etc. it was about 2. We quickly decided that we did not care all that much about Suicidal Tendencies after all. In our defense we could hear them perfectly from where we were. We were trying to save money by drinking at the camp spot but Helmet was up at 2:30 and attendance was non-negotiable. After some quick work of beers we went in and Helmet greeted us with all the songs you would want them to play (mostly from Meantime, Betty and Aftertaste). Next up was P.O.D. who continue to surprise me with each passing time I see them. Then we had to find our way to the “fourth” stage which Clutch was playing at for some damn reason. Clutch was touring for the excellent new album Psychic Warfare. I made a bet with Joe that they would not play anything from their first three albums and I was right. It did not matter because they have so many good songs to choose from otherwise. More beers and back to one of the main stages for Seether. I believe by this time most of us had gotten separated from each other and when there is a concentration of that many people in one place cell signals do not work. I believe at this point I was just with Bob and some gal came out of nowhere and would not leave us alone. We finally shook her and watched Breaking Benjamin which was pretty alright.

Our original plan was to get an eight of pot to bring but when that did not work out we settled for two decent sized joints. This meant we had to ration one for this day and one for the next day which meant we had to strategically time ignition. For me this was the moment: Marilyn Manson was coming on. I have seen him many times but he is always splendid and now he had another excellent album out – The Pale Emperor. This set is one I have only seen him play a few times and can only be described as fierce. Not a lot of talking, every song just ripped you a new one and then he was gone. This version of his band is the tightest I think I have seen since the departure of John 5. I was tripping out because I could not tell if Twiggy was on the stage or not. If not it sure as hell looked like him.

Next up was Slipknot. I REALLY like their new album .5 The Gray Chapter so I was really excited to see them as well. By this point I was a little drunk and stoned but holy fuck did these guys rock. After finding our way back to the campground me and Bob were greeted by our missing buddies for a nightcap. Marvin informed me the previous day that he forgot one of the sleeping bags so I shoved a pillow and blanket in my carry on (talent) and planned on just sleeping in the reclined seat of our rental car. This is easy when you are drunk. Joe ended up sleeping in the passenger seat because we were up forever talking and laughing our heads off since I do not get to see him very often anymore. Today was a good day.