Dope/SOiL/MM9 – December 18, Club 299

Step aside Johnny Galvatron, and please return the tiara at your earliest convenience, for I have discovered the sexiest man in rock. Who is this unparalleled paragon of awesome? you might ask. He is Tim King, the bassist of Chicago-based band SOiL.

A bassist? You cry in disbelief. Did someone slip something into your drink? Are you sure about this? Well, I am sure. Sure as something that holds its value even through economic crisis (turns out that wasn’t houses after all).


Five of these images were shamelessly stolen from the net.

Not only does Tim King have the most amazing hair I’ve ever had the joy of witnessing on any guy; not only is he an incredible show man; and not only did he hand out promotional plectrums for the adoring masses; but: when the bassist from Dope somehow went missing en route to their Australian tour, Tim King stepped up to the plate and learnt to play Dope’s entire set in just four days so that the tour could go on. Generosity and skill aside, that means he’s playing a 45 minute set with SOiL only to turn around, change his shirt, and rock it for another hour with Dope. Sir, I salute you.

Did I mention that he has the most gorgeous hands? No? Well he does.  I think that needs to be said.


I have a confession to make. You see, not only had I not heard of any of the bands that were playing, but I didn’t even know there were bands playing at Club 299 last night.

Heaven smiles above me,
What a gift here below.

Queens of the Stone Age
No One Knows

Yes, the Gods of Rock are kind to me. But never so much that I might lose my humility, heaven knows we don’t want the commoners getting ideas above their station.

The first band was MM9 (Linkage: MySpace, Twitter), an awesome band up from Sydney to support the USA bands.  They play great combination of synth and metal.  They set the night off right, with their rocking tunes getting the crowd jumping.  They have promised a debut album early next year, which I look forward to.

After MM9 cleared the stage, I’m not sure how I got to be standing right on the front row, but I was impressed by MM9, so I wanted to be up close for SOiL (Linkage: MySpace, Official Webpage, Twitter). Truly the Rock Gods smile on me, because I had a great spot. Near enough to the feedback speaker (which is blessedly bolted to the stage) that I had something to brace myself on, but on the far left where I could admire Tim King the whole set.

At one point, as I was rocking out to SOiL, I held out my fist and Tim King came over and fist-bumped me (squeeeee). Their frontman, A.J. Cavalier, was incredibly friendly, shaking hands with the fans while the band was setting up, and going around fist-bumping during the set. After the gig, while the others packed up, A.J. Cavalier walked along the stage edge shaking hands. During the final song, Tim King was urging the crowd on; I had discovered that with one hand on the feedback speaker, and one foot on the step, I could brace myself pretty well against the surging crowd (or so I thought, but more on that later). At Tim King’s urging, I had stood up on the step to rock out. From my vantage point, I had shaken hands with A.J. Cavalier and he’d moved on, but as he moved back towards the centre, I held my arms out for a hug and he gave me one. All the girls wanted hugs after that!

Tim King was handing out promotional plectrums (but I think I mentioned that), and he handed me one after the set. The first, mid-set went to a girl to my left – I was rather jealous – but I got the one he played the remainder of the set with, so call me content.

I then lost my prime spot stage-front because I needed to go to the bathroom. I had toyed with the idea of taking myself off to the back of the crowd, but I’d had fun so far, and I stupidly wondered what it might be like to have people in front of me, rather than just being pushed over by the people behind me. So I found a place in the second row. This turned out to be a big mistake!

I’d like to take this moment to make some apologies.

» First, I would like to apologise to Shihad. I didn’t truly appreciate the gravity of their request that people be nice and not shove each other. After my experience with Dope, I would love to more bands take this kind of care for their fans.
» I would like to apologise to the girl I was sitting next to. I was initially behind you, and I tried very hard to keep my hands and elbows away from your back, and I tried very hard not to brace myself against you to fight the people pushing on me.
» I would also like to apologise to the fan with the Dope tattoos for when I had my knee braced on his inner thigh as I was being shoved forward. I know he tried to indicate it was all right, but still, it can’t have been pleasant.
» I also want to apologise to the photographer in the corner of the stage. I wasn’t trying to encroach on your space, but I kept being shoved outwards by the people trying to get to the front. Thank you for that supportive hand on my back at one point.
» I want to apologise again to the huge fan with the Dope tattoos, for stealing your spot on the stage. You fought the good fight against the crowd, and I hope you have a great time in Sydney tonight. (And here I found a photo of him at the Melbourne gig the night before!)

People tried very hard to enjoy the Dope gig, but where I was sitting on the stage (right in front of Tim King, amen Rock Gods), I was actually facing the audience, and their faces betrayed their pain being mercilessly crushed under the crowd behind them (or their shock when they saw the expression on my face at certain points during the gig).  With people shoving on me, I did my best not to do the same to the girl in front, reaching past her and bracing myself on the feedback speaker with an elbow in my shoulder blade.  Eventually, I was forced left, and trying to stay upright was impossible. I was bent over completely, both hands on the stage; I put my foot up on the step, trying to lean back against the crowd, but I ended up being crushed against the dude with the tattoos where he had sat on the stage edge. I seriously tried to keep my knee away from his groin as the crowd continued to shove me to the left, and I’m deeply sorry because I can imagine how much it must have hurt to have my knee against his leg.

The bruises that are still developing on my body belie the sheer amount of pain I am in today. I can’t sit or lie down without pain. I have bruises on my arse! I was sitting on the edge of the stage and the crowd was leaning on my legs, crushing me against the stage.  And speaking of crushed, on more occasions than I care to remember (which should be any number greater than zero, but I count at least three), one of my legs was pinned against the metal strip on the edge of the stage. Can you truly appreciate the agony of having one of your limbs being trapped between a hard edge and the weight of a hundred people leaning on you? From the hips down, I’m a network of bruises, my biceps hurt from being squashed between people, my back and shoulders are bruised from elbows in my back, my shins are battered, and my stomach cramped-up from the way I was sitting with my belt cutting in (EDIT: over the weekend I discovered I also have a bruise on my ribs, and I note that the bruises on my legs are starting to colour up nicely; hell, even my forearms hurt [but I carry every single bruise with all the pride they deserve].). In fact, I think the only place I didn’t hurt was my neck, and that was because I was getting shoved around too much to actually get into the music.

Speaking of music, I suppose I should actually spend some time talking about the songs they played. As I said, I’d never heard of Dope (Linkage: MySpace), and I’m not exactly a fan of covers. I did enjoy singing along to Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell, making “come closer” gestures to Tim King to the lyrics more, more, more (in the midnight hour / she cried!); but I guess I just prefer to hear an artist’s own music.

Tim King was incredible, of course, and he handed me the plectrum he was playing with after a few songs. It was another SOiL plectrum, later he handed the one he was using to the fan with the tattoos, and it turned out it was a Dope plectrum (black rather than orange). After the set, he dropped the third plectrum he was using down a girl’s cleavage and threw some more into the crowd. I’m not actually sorry I didn’t get a Dope plectrum, I’m very happy to have a SOiL plectrum to add to me collection of prized possessions, and another to turn into jewellery. After the Shihad gig, I had been thinking about trying to beg a plectrum from Johnny Galvatron to make a necklace from, but now I’m wondering if I could start a collection: plectrums from all of the greatest Avatars of Rock I’ve seen live.

The frontman of Dope, Edsel Dope, did a fair amount of talking, he’s a very funny guy, though I wonder how much of the set list covers and chatter was to pad out the gig because they were missing a band member (entirely understandable, of course). He told us that as Dope has no Australian distributor that we should all feel free to pirate the fuck out of Dope’s music. So go wild, folks, and download away. At some point he asked where he could get some pot, at which someone passed a joint down to the front. Someone held out a lighter and he lit up before passing the joint back out to the crowd.

After the gig, I was hanging around, watching people hug A.J. Cavalier, and get photos taken, waiting for Tim King. I didn’t have my camera on me, but I did have my card, so I was hoping for a hug, and to hand him one of my cards. Sadly, when he did come out of the band room, he was carrying two cases. I thought I’d be polite and not accost him while he was loaded down, but he took his things out and didn’t return. This is what I get for being polite, and not crowding the narrow back hallway that has to serve both as thoroughfare for the band and the bathrooms.

Well, that wraps it up for 2009.  Let’s all raise our glass to 2010, and the promise of rocking gigs to come!


~ by ghostwolfe on December 19, 2009.

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