“The Anti-Folk Revival Tour in Drop-D” stopped by San Francisco last week. Filter, Helmet, and Local H, three bands that need no introduction, combined their raucous brand of hard rock into one enormous sonic boom of an evening at the Independent.
Each of these bands have left their signature on the post-grunge scene of the mid-nineties and continue to leave their mark through touring and releasing new records. I never thought I would see these three artists sharing the same stage, but it happened, and it was a brilliant night of both old and new favorites jam-packed into a club that was accommodating, but way too small in regard to the enormous talent that would pummel the stage.
Kicking off the night was Chicago duo Local H. Scott Lucas has kept this band going since 1987 and recently released new music in the form of The Another February EP. Back when I worked at Sony Music, I had spent some time with Scott during the promotional stage of the terribly underrated 12 Angry Months album. Lucas is an incredibly down-to-earth guy, and contradictory to his ferocious stage presence, a pretty fun guy to hang out with, but that’s another story.
Each record Lucas and his drummer-of-choice at the time record and release are rock-solid efforts that seem to go over well with their established audience, but miss the mainstream. No matter, as Local H would do just fine this evening as the crowd was very familiar with almost every song in the bombastic set.
Watching these guys play reminded me of how much of a fan I was, and still am to that point. The true highlight of the set was a song called “That’s What They All Say,” which could be the best song Lucas has written to date in my opinion, and live it was absolutely brilliant. Better yet—EPIC.
Next up: Page Hamilton and the latest incarnation of Helmet, featuring guitarist Dan Beeman, bassist Dave Case, and drummer Kyle Stevenson. Over the course of seven studio albums, Helmet has become a true staple in the alt-hardcore metal scene, and Page and company haven’t missed a beat. Here’s yet another band delivering quality records. In this case it was Helmet’s last studio effort, Seeing Eye Dog, which came out in 2010.
Helmet locked in their signature groove and put the crowd in a nineties-style pit frenzy. It was sort of like getting hit by a Mack truck or being punched in the face with the wall of sound that only this band can produce. Fucking amazing. I was a bit disappointed they didn’t play the classic “Meantime,” but it did seem like a shortened set.
Richard Patrick and Filter took the stage to finish off the evening. These guys have been going strong ever since the 1994 debut of their epic industrial metal juggernaut Short Bus. Patrick and company have produced six incredibly diverse studio albums, including their latest masterpiece, The Sun Comes Out Tonight.
Patrick was a bona fide rock star in every sense as he commanded the stage, making it look so easy to rile up a crowd. His voice was stellar, the band was tighter than I’ve ever seen them, and Patrick looked to be right in his element this evening.
It was a welcome return to form for a band that has come a very long way from pioneering the industrial rock movement close to 20 years ago. “You guys like Nine Inch Nails?” Patrick asked the crowd. “I was in that band, and Trent says hello.”
The setlist was a perfect mix of classic and new material, including soundtrack favorites “Jurrasitol” and “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do,” and the hit if you will, “Take a Picture,” played right into a nice selection of new tracks from The Sun Comes Out Tonight.
The best part of the show for me was when Patrick came out and did a showstopping version of “Skinny” showcasing the versatility of the band and just how truly talented Patrick is at songwriting and creating stellar soundscapes that mesmerize.
Closing out the night with “Welcome to the Fold” and “Dose.” There was not one song missing from this incredible set. I can honestly say that this was one of the best shows I think I have ever seen in my life.
By the way, this show was on my birthday, the big 40 for me. I was hoping to actually meet Richard Patrick and say hello as it’s been sort of a life-long (or at least since I first saw the movie Demon Knight and heard Hey “Man Nice Shot” for the first time) dream, but it didn’t happen, although I did get to see and photograph one of my all-time favorite artists. A few more in the bucket list, and then I will have fully achieved my rock ‘n’ roll photography goals.
On another note, Patrick hinted at a new Army of Anyone record he was going to be starting on soon. Check out hi-res photos from the show in the gallery.