Sunday, June 22, 2008

Heavy Metal Moment: Scorpions - "Animal Magnetism"

Scorpions bring the rock.
So there we were, Martha and me, sitting in the East End in Portland, waiting for her band, Amber Asylum to go on. Martha plays a very cool-looking and sounding electrified cello but we had some time before her set to hang out and catch up on each other's lives. I had just been mentioning what a real dive the East End was and I liked that, when Martha ordered a beer with something floating in it. The bartender peered in the glass and announced it was a blade of grass before she got Martha a fresh brew. At that point I modified my description of the East End: a real dive in Oregon (no grass, twigs or bugs appeared in any other drinks as of this writing).

At one point, I was babbling about how music is such a strange, unknowing current in our lives, dredging up all kinds of things we don't quite understand, when Martha mentioned that Amber Asylum has a bit of a heavy-metal-kids following. "Isn't it weird," I said, "that you really liked Black Sabbath back in high school, and now you have a heavy-metal-kid following?" She agreed. At that point the DJ, who had been playing the most evil-sounding mix of death-metal (that particular genre that sounds like chicken's blood is about to come spurting out of the digital mix and land all over you), suddenly switched gears and put on the 1980 title track of Animal Magnetism. Martha gave me a knowing smirk and a shrug, since we used to listen to this 25 years ago. In fact, I don't think I've heard it in 25 years. What an ominous treat.

Since the cover of Animal Magnetismalways reminds me of that Spinal Tap sexist/sexy exchange, I put World Wide Live image here instead (hey, it's better than a photo of a guy with forks in his eyes). Kind of a demonic ode to lust (see fan-made video below). Although I always pictured the Devil listening to a lot of Sinatra, or John Coltrane (sorry Saint John Coltrane Church).

Amber Asylum did a haunting lullabye of a set. They really belong in an abandoned cathedral, but I enjoyed the evening anyway. East End employees: very nice. Crowd: Very respectful, good listeners. Amber Asylum: soothing answer to lack of Dead Can Dance in our lives. They'll be playing the Autonomous Mutant Festival tonight, then going back to SF to play at The Hemlock Tavern on 6/26, before recording a new album. Martha: looking and sounding good.

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