The Fox Theater in Oakland, CA opened in 1928. It closed in 1966. It survived a fire in ’73, becoming a parking lot in ’75 and then became a landmark in ’78. In 1996, when the theater was bought by the city of Oakland, it was in bad shape. Mold so bad there were mushrooms growing on the floor. But flash forward to 2010 and the venue is open and hosting an 8 hour metal marathon. And a beautiful venue it is! The restoration was very successful. So successful, it seems, that Oakland is now pulling a lot of the best acts out of San Francisco. An unfortunate thing for all my friends in the city.
I met up with one of these friends (and a bunch of new ones) at Toronado in the Lower Haight for some beers before getting on BART. One beer turned into 3 or 4 and we didn’t get across the bay until 6:00pm or so. After a couple drinks across the street we found our way into the venue about 7:30pm, which means we missed Bison BC, Black Cobra, Valient Thorr and Priestess. But as much as I would have liked to catch every band…we still had a long night in front of us.
The Missing Link brought together a few tours on one bill and it was this all-star line-up that got me to San Francisco (and even more importantly across the bay to Oakland). Baroness kicked off that night with a perfect sounding set. They blasted through their 45 minutes with a mixture of songs from the Blue and Red Albums. The backdrop changing to the corresponding color. The only complaint I have is their set was too short. Something that could probably be said for every band, but also something to be expected from festival type shows like these.
High on Fire (the only band that I hadn’t seen before) brought their Motorhead-esque, turn the volume to 15 and rip the fucking knob off, stoner metal back home in a big way! These Oakland natives probably had the largest following of the night. This was the one band we got right up front for. I was mostly in between the pit and the stage and stayed through most of the set…which included the awesome How Dark We Prey, but was missing my favorite Bastard Samuri. I went out for a smoke when some guy came flying out of the pit gushing blood from his nose and mouth.
Between the Buried and Me are one of my favorite bands since I’ve rediscovered metal. But these guys were a little too progressive or even too metalcore for this crowd. I won’t say there weren’t others into them, there were quite a few, but I also heard guys yelling things like ‘get the fuck off the stage’ or ‘Mastodon!!!’ I thoroughly enjoyed their set which was heavy on their newest album but also included some off Alaska.
Then we had the headliners, Mastodon. You could say there were really 3 or 4 headliners this evening, but Mastodon were the ones who closed the night. They closed it with Crack The Skye in it’s entirety. I love this album as much as the next guy, and even more than some, but I had already seen them do this once and was hoping for more of the old stuff. Luckily they sounded amazing and they did close with one each from Leviathan, Blood Mountain and Remission.
Overall, a great night. Amazing venue and some great bands. It was what I expected and I’m glad I went. The downsides were expected as well…the short sets, the BART ride home from Oakland and just being extremely tired by the end of a long day.
Looking forward to seeing these bands again next time they come around.
The Sweetest Curse
A Horse Called Golgotha
War, Wisdom and Rhyme
Swollen and Halo
High on Fire:
How Dark We Pray
Hung, Drawn and Quartered
Rumors of War
Fire, Flood and Plague
Snakes For the Devine
Between The Buried And Me:
Fossil Genera – A Feed From Cloud Mountain
Prequel to the Sequel
Desert of Song
Disease, Injury, Madness
Ghost Of Karelia
Crack The Skye
The Last Baron
Blood and Thunder