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Archive for the ‘Bitching’ Category

06NOV2011

As I walked through the entrance gate of Brooklyn’s Marcy Ave subway station, en-route to Occupy Wall Street, I was barraged from above by soft warm splashes of strategically placed pigeon shit. Yep, my shoulder and chest was splatted. The little bastard was up in the rafters just waiting for me as I stepped out of the entrance carousel.

“Fuck, I hate this place!” I immediately yelled out as I squared off and contemplated throwing my half-full can of sugar free Red Bull at the sniper shitting pigeon that was only 5 feet away. Easy retaliation was imminent but not administered believe it or not.

Maybe this was some sort of sign from beyond hinting that something just wasn’t exactly right about my Saturday night midnight plus excursion to Occupy Wall Street for the first time. In reality it was just another annoying, yet typical bullshit aspect you must accept when going to a slum like New York City. Regardless, with gas mask, photo and video camera in-hand I carry on.

Opting to take a cab from the next subway station, I arrived at Occupy Wall Street near the 12:45 AM hour Sunday morning. The scene was pretty calm (more than I expected, actually) upon arrival except for a few people standing around in small circles outside the entrance to Liberty Square.

NYPD officers were randomly scattered about and there was this big George Orwell 1984’ish watch tower, but other than that, they didn’t have to much of a domineering presence. I’m not really sure what I expected for arriving on a Saturday night past midnight for the first time, but I’m sure as hell this wasn’t it. Yes, my timing wasn’t optimal for a first experience, I acknowledge that, but I got there as soon as I could.

It only took me about 2 hours to figure out that there are a few to many people who are potentially giving the movement a bad wrap in the hearts and minds of random passer-byres like myself.

Take for example a group of young 20-something year-olds shouting “Don’t be that guy, man, don’t be that guy!” as they held a small bucket out asking for monetary donations. Donations for what I wondered? But no explanation ever came. Just redundant requests to “not being that guy.” How the fuck am I (or anyone for that matter) supposed to make sense of that? If you’re going to ask for money at a protest, you damn well better be able to clearly convey what you’re donating your money to and how the monetary contribution is being used to bring the change the protest intends. Someone needs to get these dumb-asses unaffiliated with the movement is all I could conclude.

I guess on some level I expected 100% of those actually “camped out“ in Liberty Square to have, at bare-minimum, a semi-educated and well rounded message to convey about what we all know to be a very legitimate reason for what they’re protesting against in the first place. They just need the right people on the front lines that is able to convince the general public that this is to be taken seriously and everyone should join in.

The problem is that not enough of the right people are involved in the shaping and leading of this movement. Everyone wants it to work, and bring about change, but there is just the wrong kind of people that is giving the occupation a bit of a bad reputation.

Occupy Wall Street isn’t about getting handouts. It’s not just a bunch of hippie kids who are jealous of successful people. They’re not communists or socialists. So don’t buy into what the corporate media tries to brainwash you with. Especially all you Fox News zombies who live in the big Republican-fabricated bubble of misreported propaganda.

Occupy Wall Street is a revolt against a very small number of bankers, politicians, and corporate elitists (aka the 1%) who’ve been in bed together for years now. These powerful few have been systematically fucking-over honest and hard working Americans for decades. All of this NOT in the name of capitalism, but in the name of fulfilling their excessively greedy and gluttonous it’s-never-enough douche-bag mentality. Yes, these people do exist and this is why Occupy Wall Street exists.

Don’t get me wrong. There were a few people scattered about in Liberty Square that had their shit together and who were maintaining a minor amount of organization, cleanliness, and well educated perspectives. Just not enough.

Perhaps my expectations were too high and I didn’t spend enough time at Liberty Square to get the full jest of things. Perhaps.

Occupy Wall Street still has much more evolving and refining to be done, and honing of their message. They need a leader. Someone they can all get behind. It’s only two months old and they’ve only scratched the surface so far of what they’re capable of and what they’ll become.

With the recent eviction of the protesters from Liberty Square by NYPD last Tuesday, and other places around the world, Occupy Wall Street will only gain momentum and more supporters. The general public should realize the Police-State that Mayor Bloomberg has ordered into existence in NYC where the NYPD’s main motivation is to suppress and censor the people’s 1st Constitutional right to assemble and protest. Soon NYPD will back themselves into a corner where they will face a situation where they will have to really decide who they are working for and protecting. Which crowd do they want to join? The 99% or the 1%? Would they rather potentially face the same outcome as what has transpired at Tahir Square in Egypt? Is that situation they are going to force onto the occupy protesters and the general public with their Nazi-like policing tactics?

And do some of our nation’s elected politicians, greedy bankers and corporate titans want to meet the same demise as, say, King Louie XVI of France did in 1789? Or perhaps what the Bolsheviks revolted against and accomplished in 1917? Or virtually any other similar historical circumstance that has duplicated itself over and over again throughout the course of human civilization. It will all end the same. History repeats itself!

So if the Occupy movements are the beginning of America’s next revolution then maybe all that needs to happen – that is if this peaceful attempt to bring about change doesn’t work out – is for a few Vladimir Lenin’s to emerge from the 99%, a few King Louie XVI’s to be identified from the 1%, a few massive human stampedes, and maybe even a few guillotines brought out, and change is well on its way. That is of course if the 1% is not willing to change the system while things are still being “peacefully” requested.

If you think this perspective is barbaric or too extreme, then I ask you to consider the words of wisdom that our founding fathers like Jefferson & Washington said long ago on this situation, and then ask yourself if you’re really a true “patriot” of this country and believer in Democracy. 

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“The basis of our political system is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government.”
– George Washington

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.”
– Thomas Jefferson

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
– Thomas Jefferson

A few photos taken by me on Sunday 11/6:

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If Louisville’s “Metal” music scene ever needs another reason why people don’t take them seriously and why it’s number of supportive venues continue to dwindle, then this is it….

Can anyone say “Jackass”?


Watch the entire report by WAVE 3 TV’s Troubleshooter Erick Flack.

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In what could’ve been a pretty laid back night for all concert-goers this past Sunday at Iroquois Amphitheater, actually turned ugly for a few unlucky fans at the hands of an overtly domineering security staff. More on that later. Onto the music first.

Louisville’s Elephant Room and VilleBillies received the opening nods for Sublime with Rome in one of the biggest summer concerts the city has hosted this year. Iroquois Amphitheater was packed to near capacity and swarming with teenagers to the 40 something year-old crowd. This seemed to be a pretty typical demographic for these artists collectively. Not to mention plenty of Sublime-heads, if you will, with their Sublime T-shirts, and their other random attributes they adorned proudly. Overall, the atmosphere was chilled and relaxed.


Elephant Room – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Elephant Room, who lead off, gave one stellar stage show in terms of personal performance by each member of the group. Lead vocalists Chase Myers & Josh Bennett marched from one side of the stage to the next and wasn’t shy to keep the crowd involved either. Although no one song they played really stood out, they definitely carried their weight in performance and showmanship. Now all they have to do is craft a few memorable songs and they should be on their way. Keep an eye out on these guys.


VilleBillies – Photo by Staci Core

The VilleBillies. So what can be said about them that’s not already been published before? Nothing. They’re solid. Period. It’s like going and seeing a My Morning Jacket concert. It’s always going to be awesome, and somewhat unlike the one before it. Both their songs and performance are perfect for their style of music.


Justin Reed & Demi Demaree of VilleBillies – Photo by Staci Core

It’s literally a living act of stupidity on behalf of the national recording industry that the VilleBillies don’t have a MMJ-like record deal by now. Actually, I do have one complaint on their stage show. Where the f**k was Big Bird?

So now we have Sublime with Rome coming up and the crowd inside the amphitheater was brewing with anticipation moments before they took the stage.


Sublime with Rome – Photo by Staci Core

Chants of “Sublime, Sublime, Sublime” were screamed in unison by the crowd. About ten seconds later the Long Beach trio appeared from backstage rushing to their instruments. They quickly opened with canny version of “Panic,” the first single off their new album Yours Truly.

They quickly turned to playing old-school Sublime songs like ”Crazy Fool,” “Wrong Way” “Smoke Two Joints” and “Santeria,” amongst others. If your eyes were closed, at times, you could have easily believed that it was Nowell up there playing those authentic Sublime jams, but obviously it’s not. Rome held his own to say the least.

Even newer songs written with Ramirez did not necessarily reinvent Sublime’s signature reggae/ska style of sound that fans have come to both appreciate and anticipate.


Rome Ramirez – Photo by Staci Core

Replacing a lead singer and keeping the band’s name in tact is a hard thing to pull off. Think about it. Gary Cherone for Sammy Hagar for David Lee Roth in Van Halen. John Corabi for Vince Neil in Motley Crue. Brian Johnson for Bon Scott in AC/DC. Both success and failures have came from change-outs like this over the years.

But, Rome Ramirez, although uniquely different from Nowell, was impressive all around. If the measure by which a singer’s replacement is an ability to carry on the signature sound of the replaced singer, Ramirez is hitting the nail on the head with a sledge hammer.

Stop reading here if your only interest was the actual concert review. That part is over. Let’s get back to the “overtly domineering security staff” statement I made earlier.  Let me first point out that I am the second person in the local media to mention something about the security and incident which took place onstage with a fan. Thank you Mudd from 93.1 The Fox for opening the door on this subject on your radio show Monday morning.

Now, I will proceed with kicking it in and blowing the whistle on event security.

At mid-set during Sublime’s performance this skinny young guy attempts to dance his way onto the stage. It’s obvious that not just anyone can be permitted to go onstage while a band is performing. I get that. But this 200+ pound security guard elects to get this kid in some type of headlock or choke-hold, and then viciously dragged him offstage like he was in some kind of wrestling match with a wild animal. The kid was dancing. Not fighting. Dancing.

This guy didn’t appear to be charging the band with any type of intent or endangering anyones safety in the course of his actions. He was dancing, having his moment. Yes, in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it’s not an excuse to take him out in the violent manner which the security guard elected to.

Unfortunately, this didn’t seem to be an isolated incident, rather just the tip of an iceberg. There were actually security guards who were overly obsessive about trying to bust pot smoking teenagers (because they are just jeopardizing everyone’s safety). And then there were a couple security guys at the gate who felt it was necessary confiscate a photographer’s camera (who had media credentials) and then copping attitude about the incident instead of apologizing for their mistake.

What is it with concert security guards these days where they feel they are entitled to be raging assholes to everyone they encounter?

To those security guards: Please remember what your real job is to do. To ensure the safety of everyone attending the concert. That’s it. Ensure their “safety.”

Ensuring safety DOES NOT include beating up dancing hippie kids half your weight who are living in the moment and having a good time. It’s NOT preventing the media from doing our job by confiscating our cameras when we have proper media credentials. It’s NOT chasing around high-school pot smokers like they are some kind of terrorist. Nobody’s safety was at stake in these situations. If you want to continue to act like a COP, then quit your security job and go apply with LMPD.

Never forget why all of us have our jobs in the music business to begin with: Because of the fans. Yep, those 150-pound evil teenage pot-smoking dancing kids with funny clothes and long hair are the enablers of all our jobs in this business. If fans didn’t purchase concert tickets or buy albums, then the promoters wouldn’t have a reason to organize the concerts, and bands wouldn’t have a concert to get hired to play at, and us members of the media wouldn’t have a show to write or broadcast about. And, yes, you mister security guard would also be less employed if it weren’t for these fans too. So quit beating up those who enable you to earn an income, okay? It’s not cool and nobody else does that. Capish?

** This review is also posted at Louisville.com

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Ok, so Kentucky just recently hosted our very first NASCAR event in Sparta, KY. I wasn’t there obviously.

Personally, I don’t get NASCAR. I understand it’s entertainment for a certain population of Kentucky-Indiana-Ohio area residents. But my opinion is that it’s a bunch of needless fossil fuels being burned over the course of several hundred left hand turns, while a bunch of drunken rednecks are engaged in random debauchery. And every single one of them is wanting and waiting for someone to crash.

This is not a real sport.

That being said, here is a random pictorial review of what we can expect to return in, I’m sure, the not so distant future:

Actually, these are just a bunch of hardworking, tax-paying, and mainly patriotic good ole’ boys having a good time in their own regard.

If they could just find a way to power their little NASCAR’s with something other than environmental polluting fossil fuels, then I’d probably have nothing to bitch about.

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The Deftones are no strangers to Louisville. In fact, they make their way through our city at least once per year, and most recently on Friday, May 27th at Expo 5.

Also performing that night was Dillinger Escape Plan. I never offer any more coherent words on my review than the band has to offer during their set. That being said, I’ve only got 3 words for you: Obnoxious. Incomprehensible. Sketchy.

Now for those of you who’ve never seen a Deftones show before, you missed out on one of the most fervent live performers in metal music today. And, might I add, whose lyrics you can actually comprehend. For those of you who did catch them this past Friday, I’m sure your ears are still ringing from their raucous, nearly 3 hour performance. The sound was as loud as I’ve ever experienced it in Expo 5, and although rather intense, it was balanced almost perfect. The powerful guitar chords that are central to the Deftones sound ignited the jam-packed venue and fueled the audiences‘ intent to crowd surf and sustain what looked like a pretty chaotic slam-dance circle, something virtually every Deftones show never seems to go without.

Hardcore Deftones’ fans couldn’t have been more pleased as the band took their time playing through one hit song after another from a compilation of six albums going back to 1995. They played everything from “Engine #9” to “My Own Summer” to “Digital Bath” to “Change (In the House of Flies)” to “Minerva” – which brought the crowd singing in unison with lead vocalist Chino Moreno to – and “You’ve Seen The Butcher” just to name a few. The encore song came with “7 Words,” one more track from their debut platinum album Adrenaline.

Once the sound went null, the Deftones cleared the stage, and lights came on, the audience was a little reluctant to leave. I think some of them probably thought their was going to be yet another encore song, because believe it or not, their were still a few songs Deftones left on the table like “Around The Fur” and “Back To School.” But, hey, not many bands who perform as intensely as Deftones have the endurance to play 2+ hour sets, so we should cut them some slack, I suppose. Not to worry though, because between the Deftones’ substantial local fan-base, and local concert promoter Terry Harper, a Louisville hiatus is not likely to happen anytime soon. Bet on it.

Interview with Frank Delgado of Deftones on 5-27-2011

Photos by JasonAshcraft

** This review also posted at Louisville.com

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I’ve got one thing I’d like to say upfront about the Jägermeister Music Tour, which brought The Damned Things, All That Remains, Hellyeah, and Buckcherry to Louisville on Wednesday, February 9th: “I’m glad it came, and I’m even more glad it’s over!” And I could careless if I ever see another metal show again, but I’m sure this won’t be the last because I just love observing the debauchery that goes along with these shows, just as much as you love reading about it.

And while the rest of the throngs of fans who packed in Expo 5 to near capacity, I’m sure they were praying to porcelain gods come the next morning. Jägermeister’s biggest contribution to the tour I suppose. Me? I’m just glad to have made it out alive, in one piece, not physically assaulted, with my camera in-hand, memory in-tact, and coherent enough to sum up the experience. No Jägermeister for me. Been there. Done that. No thanks.

One thing about metal shows these days is that you get an overdose of virtually anything you’d expect to get an overdose of. It’s a complete f**king annihilation and assault on all of your sensory preceptors, your liver, and sometimes your patience. There is too much booze, too little free space, too many decibel level breaches, too much visual stimulation (you know what I mean), too much temptation, too many incomprehensible vocal onslaughts, and too many crazy neanderthals running around acting like drunken monkeys. But that’s OK. That’s what makes it a metal show to begin with and that is exactly what everyone came here to engage in on this night. Speaking of which, Chad Gray, lead vocals for Hellyeah, while onstage, declared “This sh*t is f**kin therapy.” My guess is he wasn’t talking about Jägermeister in this instance, but then again you never know.


The Damned Things – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Leading off the night was The Damned Things, a hard rock super-group consisting of members from Every Time I Die, Fall Out Boy, and Scott Ian from Anthrax. They’ve got an interesting sound, which isn’t as metalish as some might expect, but definitely a summation of who is in the band. While their set wasn’t necessarily aw-inspiring, given the talent within the band, it definitely wasn’t anything to grumble at either, although I think they will continue to get better if time allows it. It’s gotta be hard to keep a band together like this with all the other projects they may or may not be involved with.


All That Remains – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

All That Remains, an intense death metal act was up next. Now, I admit, I missed most of their set. But for good reason. The University of Louisville basketball team was in OT with Notre Dame on the road. And when Louisville Basketball is on TV, nothing else much exists. Sorry folks, I would’ve liked to have caught more of the musical ferocity that ATR demonstrated in their opening song, but the timing was just bad.


Hellyeah – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Next came, what would turn out to be, the climax of the entire night – another supergroup – Hellyeah. Now for those of you that have lived in a cave the last four or five years, Hellyeah is a masterful concoction of former members from Pantera, Mudvayne, Damage Plan, Rebel Meets Rebel, and Nothingface.

Once Hellyeah took the stage, they owned it. The crowd responded to almost every note and word coming lead vocalist Chad Gray’s voice. Drummer Vinny Paul also took a moment to make a memorial shout-out to former bandmate, the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbot, much to the audience’s appeasement.


Chad Gray of Hell Yeah – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Hellyeah electrified the audience – most of which spent the entire time moshing and crowd surfing – with their southern-metal style of rock-n-roll. They only slowed the musical pace down once with their hit single and sing-a-long favorite “Alcohualin Ass.”

Hellyeah, hands-down, no questions asked, gave the best performance of the night. They basically proved that they should be headlining the damn Jägermeister Music Tour if you ask me.


Josh Todd & Jimmy Ashhurst of Buckcherry – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

So, by the time Buckcherry made it to the stage, they had big shoes to fill with what Hellyeah just brought before them. The bar was definitely raised, and I’m not talking about the one that the Jägermeister was coming from. On top of that, Expo 5, for some reason, had a noticeably smaller audience by the time Buckcherry made it to the stage. But, Buckcherry brought out their classic high-energy unique style of hard rock-n-roll to what was still a large crowd that hung around for them, and delivered a much-anticipated and sought-after performance.


Buckcherry – Photo by Jason Ashcraft

Josh Todd and company spent the entire set dancing around on stage and shedding another article of clothing as each song concluded. They took their audience on a ride through most of the music that made them who they are including “Sorry,” “Lit Up,” “All Night Long” and closed out the night with a rendition of “Crazy Bitch” mixed with some sampling of a few cover songs. No encore song though after that once the stage went dark.

In a recent interview before the show, I asked Josh Todd what Louisville should expect from a Buckcherry show. His response: “High energy. Low I.Q.” Well, Josh. Mission accomplished.

This review also posted at Louisville.com

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My question:

From: Jason Ashcraft
Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2011 4:17 PM
To: publisher@courier-journal.com; bivory@courier-journal.com
Subject: News in bad taste

(Ironically, this story link no longer exists, but you can clearly read what the headline was in the web address below)
http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110106/NEWS01/301060072/Pets+fed+on+woman+who+was+dead+in+her+home+for+22+days

This headline and story focus is a horrible and unethical way to present the fact that investigators are searching for a next-of-kin. Animals feeding on a decomposing body is not even remotely considered newsworthy nor should it be the focus of this story. Why does it matter to the general public and readers that animals fed on a decomposing body? We get it. They’re animals. What service have you done by exposing this information other than pissing on a dead person’s grave? Investigators are searching for a next of kin. That’s it. That’s the only reason something like this should be published or even considered newsworthy. Get some morals over there and have respect for family members who haven’t learned of their relatives death. Stuff like this is one of many reasons your media is struggling……

-end-

Their answer:


RE: News in bad taste

Mr. Ashcraft,

I am the managing editor of the CJ and was asked to respond to your email. First, I want to thank you for taking the time to write. You raise some good points, many of which we discussed yesterday before deciding to go with the short news item, provided to us by the Jefferson County coroner, about this woman’s tragic death.
It could be argued that this small item will do more than the usual next-of-kin notice to raise awareness of the need to take care of and check in on our community’s most vulnerable citizens.
That said, I understand your concerns, and will bring them up with other editors here.

Again, thank you for writing.
Jean Porter

-end-


My
Jarhead response (not emailed):

Good. But are you suggesting that the Jefferson County coroner’s office has two methods of finding a next of kin, one faster and more efficient than the other? I’m referencing your comment “this small item will do more than the usual next-of-kin notice to raise awareness of the need?”

You need any other advice on anything else?

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