Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yob - Live 1/23/12 - The Bourbon Theater, Lincoln, Nebraska

Yeah, I may be getting old but I can still rock out the hell out. I certainly don't feel 42 most of the time and I still get excited when a band I love comes to town. I saw that doom masters YOB were gonna be here before hitting the road with Tool, and knew it was maybe my only good chance to see the band that made my number-one album last year.

It was on a Monday, so that sucked, but I still couldn't pass it up. After all, this was gonna be up-close and personal. Intimate.

The Bourbon Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska is a tiny one but it still draws some pretty big names in heavy rock music, believe it or not. Clutch and The Sword come to mind. I don't know why it surprised me so much that YOB would also be appearing there. I guess I just never expected it.

I got there early, not so much to see the opening bands but more to browse the merch. I'm glad I hadn't ordered Atma on vinyl yet 'cause there it was, all shiny and new. I grabbed one, plus a shirt, and then noticed an album cover I hadn't seen before. It wasn't one of the band's regular releases. Turns out it was one of only a few vinyl demos the band had for sale so I got one of those too.

"Lucky you got one," the guy behind the table said. "Only 3 left and then they're all gone. Totally."

Sweet. I took the stuff out to the car, had a small break and headed back inside. By the time the first two bands finished the place was getting crowded and I decided to grab a spot as close as I could. Yes. A little stage-right from the drum kit.

YOB come out with smiles on their faces and acknowledge the crowd - maybe 100 people. This is gonna be an epic night. I couldn't believe I was about to hear this band in such a small venue. The whole stage is maybe seven or eight feet deep and 15-20 feet across. Barely enough room for the band and their equipment. And there I am, with my nose literally 12 inches from the mic stand. The stage comes up to the middle of my shins and I'm braced with the front of my thighs pressed up against huge Yamaha speakers.

I'm ready. Let's do this!

After a short sound check YOB tears into "Prepare The Ground", the first earth-trembling track from Atma. I'm not prepared. I had a thought about grabbing a pair of ear plugs earlier that day at work but that's as far as I got. A thought. Too late now. After the first couple riffs it doesn't matter anyway.

To tell you the truth, I totally lost myself somewhere in the middle of that first song. I didn't have anyone shoving me from behind and no one was brushing either of my shoulders. It was almost like I was the only one there and YOB was playing just for me. My own little private concert in Nebraska. Fucking awesome. I had plenty of room; my body was writhing and contorting to the thunderous grooves being laid down.

I didn't find myself until maybe the third song, I think it was "Atma", when Mike S. broke a guitar string. He apologized and took a couple minutes to fix it himself. No guitars techs at this show, but I didn't mind at all.

"I needed a break anyway," I thought to myself. Maybe I do feel old - my neck sure does. Damn.

YOB tear it up. During a couple songs I find myself fixating on drummer Travis Foster, who has a focused, determined look on his face as he's bashing away. His arms contort in ways I didn't know were possible as he apparently tries to beat his drum kit to death with two wooden sticks. Not since WEEDEATER have I seen such a punishing performance.

A good hour or more after they started, YOB follows up with a cool TOOL cover and then finish the show with "Quantum Mystic", off The Unreal Never Lived. I wipe my face with my shirt and then rub my eyes. Is it over? Wow. That's when I try to clear my ears and remember there's nothing in there.

The crowd fizzles out and I notice the band members tediously breaking down their equipment. "Now would be a good time to go get those albums from the car," I thought, and so I did. All three guys signed them for me without hesitating and listened graciously as I thanked them for coming to little old Lincoln. Great bunch of fellas. I wished them luck on the rest of their tour and told them I hoped they have fun.

"We already are," Mike said and then thanked me and my friends for coming out. He expressed that he's also a little nervous about thousands and thousands of people staring back at him in the coming month. Unexpected bodily functions are a possibility, he joked. Still, go see 'em if there's a show anywhere near you. I can only hope your experience was a great as mine.

To me, this show wasn't just a little warm-up before their big arena tour on the east coast with TOOL. It was special. It was an intimate night with YOB and I'll never forget it.



Anonymous said...

Two things you might want to correct. First, Mike broke a string during "Burning the Altar" not "Atma". Second, the song you called a Tool cover is actually "Adrift in the Ocean" from their newest album.

Otherwise, great review!

heddbuzz said...

Thanks. I 'thought' it was Atma (I wrote it the next morning after staying up all night) and forgot to put quotes around the "Tool cover". I was quoting Mike on that one. My bad.

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