Adult Problems - I Saw Watain And Tragedy In The Same NightBy Zachary Lipez
I only got shoved and called a hipster at one of the shows I went to on Saturday and, looking at my level of hipster-dom in relation to both scenes empirically, I got called out at the wrong one.
I was giddy and dewy as a Brit-pop princess on a unicorn made of Brett Anderson at the prospect of seeing Watain and Tragedy on the same night. I make the Brit-pop comparison as both bands are essentially the Pulp of their respective genres. Both are the “best” at what they do and both are obsessed with dread and class, even if the language and codes are different. You can say “Satan” or the ever present “them” of crust-centric concerns but, either way, there’s the powerful and the powerless. Just a question of which side you want to be on. Or which side you think you want to be on.
Watain is a black metal band that already gets a lot of shit because people like me like them. I’ll admit it, defenders of the true faith, a few years ago when you said that I was false, I guess you were right. After a brief dalliance with Darkthrone and Liturgy, I really only still listen to Watain and a little Immortal. And that’s mainly because, to my ears, Watain sounds like Motorhead. Earthbound-anachronist that I am, I really like rock and roll music. And, yeah, the “Sure, we used to maybe not be too big on the Jews/blacks/gypsies, but it’s cool now…we’re apolitical” shit can get a bit tired, be it in black metal or in neo-folk or whatever, but fuck it, maybe they’re apolitical. If you can’t take earth-worshiping darkness-dwellers at their word, whose word can you take? Dudes are really into oaths.
Watain was--of course--amazing, with Behemoth, a band I wasn’t too familiar with, headlining. They were quite good too, but Watain’s "Sworn to the Dark" is one of the best jams of these end times. I know you’re not really supposed to refer to songs like "Sworn" as a “jam.” One thing the punks and the black metal fans have in common is a tendency towards “No Rules!!!…just kidding, rules.” It can get awfully confusing. But I’m going to beg the Antichrist’s indulgence on this one issue and say Watain has a lot of very good jams. Sorry, Antichrist. I also bought a shirt.
I had rushed over to Irving Plaza from Le Poison Rouge, where I’d seen epic crust/post-crust (if you’re annoying)/stadium-crust (if you’re sort of annoying and sort of funny and preferred the first two albums)/just-crust (if you’re me and old and tired) rat kings, Tragedy. Tragedy, as you no doubt know (being smart and pretty), are the dudes from His Hero His Gone who have been putting out their own really swell records since, roughly, Eisenhower. They also share a number of Eisenhower’s worries concerning the Military Industrial Complex. They play a lot slower than they used to, but so do I, so I was into it. The singer’s stage banter consisted of “In the eyes of science, you are fucking absurd.” Sometimes I get tired of being told that, but only because I know it’s true.
And I was being slightly disingenuous. I totally knew the guy who shoved me and called me a hipster. I needed a lede. Sorry. But it’s still pretty weird to be called a hipster in your thirties. It’s like, being a grown-ass man, I can’t possibly care, but--still having all the adolescent tendencies that allow me to love both metal and hardcore the way that I do--I, of course, did. So that was embarrassing. Tragedy was still fantastic though. I didn’t buy a shirt. My girlfriend says I have enough Tragedy shirts.
My point is, if I have one point besides “All things being equal, I probably should have been beaten up at the black metal show,” it's that I took my friend, Benjamin Bertocci, along with me to sketch the bands (well actually, his sister Kiki works at LPR, so he took me to Tragedy) and he did the most amazing paintings of them EVER. Holy Fuck, you guys. Check these out. My friend, Ben, is really talented. That’s what I really wanted to say.