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The Unholy Alliance Tour

Another hazy summer of economic uncertainty, while sending many a day trader to the shitter, bodes well for the metalhead, for it ensures another season of carefully considered tour packages designed to bring out the minions despite the heartbreak of minimum wage. One such lineup is the Unholy Alliance Tour, which steamrolls into the Washington Avenue Armory today (Thursday). The bill is daunting, featuring Slayer, Mastodon, Children of Bodom and the critically acclaimed Lamb of God, whose much-anticipated sophomore effort on Epic Records, Sacrament, is due in stores on Aug. 22. Metroland caught up with LOG drummer Chris Adler on the road following the second date of the tour.

“We’re coming off of headlining last year’s Sound of the Underground tour,” Adler says, “so now we’re getting back into those same-sized places, and it’s a thrill for us to play with bands we’ve run in the same circles with for a long time. To finally catch up with Slayer especially, I think it’s well worth the ticket price. We tried to put the heaviest touring package together that we could, and I think we achieved it.”

Big venues are somewhat of a new phenomenon for the Virginia-based heavies, who toiled in the clubs for almost 10 years before receiving international attention via Ozzfest 2004 and opening for mega-heavies Slipknot last year. Adler welcomes the success, but sometimes misses the intimacy of clubs and smaller theaters.

“I like playing the smaller clubs where there’s blood and spit flying everywhere,” he says. “Now there’s a big photo pit, the kids can’t get onstage. Arenas are cool though. The band has grown in such a slow, organic way, that when we took that Slipknot tour, in our minds it was just time.”

Adler has been quoted as saying Lamb of God play “ugly music for ugly people,” but judging how well the band’s last release (Ashes of the Wake) sold and the universal respect the skinsman personally receives, there appears to be much more to Lamb of God than blood and spit. Even musicians who don’t like metal much concede that the band’s technical prowess and musicianship command a heightened degree of reverence that transcends genres.

“We really take time with song crafting,” Adler says. “We really try to make this a musical thing, and because of that there’s this respect level coming from people and bands you wouldn’t expect. I mean, last night Max Weinberg from the E Street Band, came to see me! So, these dudes show up and [it seems] weird because when I was a kid I listened to Slayer and Pantera, but it’s really flattering.”

“Maybe I understated myself with the ‘ugly’ comment,” he continues, “because any type of music that doesn’t have mass appeal—blues, jazz, metal—it’s not purposely written for mass consumption. It’s not supposed to sell 20 million records and we’re not supposed to look pretty. That’s what I meant. Fans really find a connection with that. It’s not just metalheads that are fed up with that kind of thing.”

With Sacrament in the can, LOG fans old and new are clogging blogs and message boards with expectations of even more ugliness, heaviness and greatness. Although Adler is at times self-deprecating when discussing his own talents (“I don’t feel like I’m playing at the level people tell me I am,” he admits), he feels confident that fans will not be disappointed with the new material.

“It’s definitely fast, progressive and mean as possible,” he says, but then pauses as if he has had this conversation with himself many times and still can’t quite articulate each force present during recording. “It’s darker than Ashes of the Wake. There are some really strange, dark and creepy elements that we didn’t even pick up on until we were off our instruments and listening back. But the most important thing for us is that [whether] there are two kids in the audience or 10 thousand, they get their money’s worth.”

The Unholy Alliance Tour, featuring Slayer, Lamb of God, Mastodon, Children of Bodom and Thine Eyes Bleed, unleashes its fury today (Thursday, June 29) at 5:30 PM at the Washington Avenue Armory (corner of Washington Avenue and Lark Street, Albany). Tickets are $36. For more info, call 694-7160.

—Bill Ketzer

A Bomb-itty of Errors

Hip-hop and Shakespeare. They’re not so different, really. There’s as much violence and conflict in any one of Shakespeare’s plays as there is in, say, the latest CD by 50 Cent. (Or, at least, in 50 Cent’s movie.) And wasn’t it the Bard himself, in the beloved Romeo and Juliet, who coined the phrase “I love you like a fat kid loves cake”? Whatever. In any case, some enterprising young theater buffs took it upon themselves to fuse Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors—his shortest play (needless trivia alert!)—with a modern, hip-hop-based soundtrack to produce A Bomb-itty of Errors. The Adirondack Theatre Festival’s staging of Bomb-itty will be the play’s first regional production since its stint as an off-Broadway hit several years back, and it should be a damn good time for theatergoers in search of a new thrill. We’re not sure if an audience dress code is in effect for this production, but it’s probably best to leave the gang signs at home. We’re just saying, that’s all.

The Adirondack Theatre Festival’s production of A Bomb-itty of Errors opens at the Charles R. Wood Theater (207 Glen St., Glens Falls) this Wednesday (July 5) with a preview performance; regular performances continue Wednesday through Saturday until July 15. Regular performance tickets are $27. All shows begin at 8 PM. Call the box office at 798-9663 for more info.

Edward Weston: Life Work

As far as traveling exhibitions go, the Hyde Collection has a reputation of bringing some of the most compelling (and must-see) to the region. The Hyde has met their usual high standard with Edward Weston: Life Work.

This show, the only New York sojourn for this exhibit, features 99 vintage photographs from Weston’s 40-year career. They range from his earliest family portraits and landscapes—Weston was exhibiting, and earning critical accolades for his work, by the age of 18—through his last photograph, made near his California home in 1948.

The range of work reflects Weston’s shift away from a pictorial style to more “straight” photography, emphasizing form and depth of field. According to the Hyde, “these works and others are among Weston’s most revered subjects that brought out the sensuality of natural shapes and reduced other forms to semiabstract simplicity.”

The works in the exhibit are drawn from the collection of Michael Mattis and Judith Hochberg. Pictured is Nude on Sand, Oceano (228N), 1936.

Edward Weston: Life Work is on exhibit through Aug. 13 at the Hyde Collection (161 Warren St., Glens Falls). For museum hours and general information, call 792-1761.


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