By ALEE KARIM
Corrosion of Conformity
June 9th, 2012
Better than: Squatter house rock, save for the $5 12-oz beer.
In the '90s, the two most significant big-ups available to an underground band were a drubbing via Beavis and Butthead and a "Phil-ing," wherein Phil Anselmo wore your band shirt, preferably in a music video, or invited you to tour with Pantera (or ideally both). Corrosion of Conformity enjoyed both vouchsafes, earning it a significant bump in a career that's spanned both serious punk-rock roots and the band's patented amalgam of southern-fried metal. This road has taken the band a decidedly un-punk thirty years to walk. There are few other groups who can claim that mantle, let alone ones who will take some seriously vicious young blood on the road with them.
First up at Slim's on Saturday was Gaza, it of that highly vitriolic, Mormon-baiting prog-punk-thrash. The band's bloodthirsty attack enlivened even this virtually empty room of sun-baked SF-ers, several of whom murmured stunned "whoa"s that ought to be taken for lavish praise. Here's hoping this Utah band graces us with its presence again soon.
Black Cobra was quite simply savagery without consequence. The timbre and weight of its two-man attack impressed, while leaving a gap where substance and melody lay. A fun band to watch nonetheless.
Torche's proprietary brand of Husker Doom infected the three-quarters-full Slim's, inspiring many to sing along, and fewer to join in a well-meaning but irritating four-man mosh pit. The band was in and out with little fanfare, per its wont, and by 10:30, the audience was duly stirred up for CoC.
Or was it? The crowd depleted to about 60 percent capacity by the time Corrosion of Conformity went on. Despite this, the lean, mean trio took the stage with the enthusiasm of players too seasoned to concern themselves with such factors. Did the words "un-punk" float around earlier? These vets hit with the piss and vinegar of men half their age (as most of their openers were). Starting with a significant grab from its hardcore roots ("Loss for Words" is both the title of a song played as well as the sentiment it inspired), the band moved into more recent material deftly and without sentiment, cleanly sweeping through every era of its substantial catalog. All told, the show may not have changed lives, but it certainly made for a good night.
Personal bias: I want Gaza to become the next Mastodon.
Random Detail: The guy who moshed so hard that he made me spill beer on myself actually bought me another one.
By the way: The sound at Slim's was great Saturday night.