Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Eyed Doll's "Dirty" Album Concert and Release Party : A Review

One Eyed Doll finally achieved a lifelong dream with this album "Dirty", which is primarily being released as an truly original 33 rpm vinyl record, but also has a digitally mastered CD version for those fans not fortunate enough to have traditional equipment to play vinyl today. T hey produced an excellent quality, old style recording on vinyl, done in the true fashion of the greats of old!  As such, they felt a really big event was needed to celebrate this as well as to celebrate their return to performing a bit more often again in their beloved Austin, Texas.  They have been on the road touring so much that their Austin fans haven't seen them much lately, which was a big change from such frequent local performances in the previous years.

The venue selected was Club 606, which is a small live show club named after it's own street address on 7th street in the music district of downtown Austin.  It's an interesting bare bones, concrete and steel club decorated with blacklights, local performer posters,  a nice bar, and colorful people.  The stage is somewhat small, but adequate for smaller bands, and the smoke machine was more than enough for the size of the club.  The smoke was primarily used to highlight an excellent laser light display that showed throughout the concert.  In short, many aspects of the club and setting were like walking into an unusually well equipped live show house during the peak days of hard rock when vinyl was still king!

The show started with a band called Brother's Grymm featuring some decent guitar riffs and a hard rock sound with the singer delivering lyrics rap style.  After that came on a band called Sinsored who did more Industrial type screaming out the lyrics.  Finally, what we had been waiting for, One Eyed Doll' Junior came on stage and from out of the darkness, a lone guitar began to play.

This dramatic off stage guitar solo continued until finally Kimberly burst onto the stage to an enthusiastic crowd partway through the number while still playing the whole time.  The set list was open to vote by fans, (which happened in advance online) as a gift to them after so long on the road.  As such it actually had more classic songs than the new material, but with a 3 hour show there was plenty of time for both.  Kim told the fans that they planned to play until they dropped, and they very nearly did.  It was obvious that Kim and Junior played their hearts out at every number.  After the first hour, maybe two, Kim would often be panting for breath (the smoke machine made it hard to breathe and she rocks with extreme athletic prowess!) sipping water, and asking fans what they wanted to hear next as they had already exhausted the set list.

In several songs, fans were brought on stage to act out various roles in the song, complete with toy unicorn or dragon hobby horse, and other madness while Kim screamed out lyrics like the hardest of the hard in true metal form.  It is this extreme contrast shifting from a sweet sesame street like character to a heavy death metal queen at a split second notice that make One Eyed Doll shows so funny, so thrilling, and so utterly fascinating to watch and be a part of.

At one point Kim got some of the heavy metal fans got so excited they starting trying to create a mosh pit in the middle of the crowd.  The club wasn't big enough to make space for that without slamming into the majority of the fans who were not interested in moshing, especially since some of the fans present were under age including a couple of very young children.  Unfortunately the venue did not stop the moshers from slamming into other fans, so the fans got the little ones up out of the way, and dealt with the situation.  While some people left, most stayed and  formed a wall of elbows which eventually deterred the four overly testosteroned moshers.  This shows both, that One eyed Doll's stage shows really are true heavy metal and that her fans are an unusually tight knit, loyal, and fearless group willing to fend off anything to see them perform!

While the on stage style is very hard core metal rock, the albums tend to be very dark rock ballads that are incredibly beautiful musically and wonderfully strange and twisted in terms of lyrics.  On stage both come through as the lyrics are clearly just as strange and just as dark albeit harder to pick out when delivered in the heaviest of metal styles.  It is critical, though, that the stage shows have this blending of extremes.  Not only that, but many fans like that onstage mixture of extreme flavors, sweet with sour, and salty with bitter, (rather like a fine marguerita) as well or better than the albums.  As such, fans with good to professional grade cameras and video equipment were asked to attend and help put together a true live performance video, so that this gritty, hard, weird and wonderful live show experience can be made available to fans around the world even when One eyed doll can be with them in person   I, for one, am very much looking forward to seeing this when it is done.

After two and a half hours, Kim announced that they wanted to wrap up so there would be time for a longer than usual meet and greet after the show.  The usual, and trademark, mandatory encore went off a little too smoothly, with Austin fans.  You know.  The one that comes to one lucky victim selected, sort of at random from the audience to receive the privilege of Kim's goth-dominatrix literal slap to the face that is their trademark should the audience fail to be enthusiastic enough when pleading for an encore.

Aside from that, the overly enthusiastic moshers, and the smoke machine making it hard for the performer to sing (but made for spectacular light shows… really!), it was pretty much perfect show!  It was perfect, anyway, just exactly as it was, in that sweaty little bar, with all the smoke, the heavy emotions, and the tension, the crowd.  It was exactly what it was supposed to be to put you in just the right place and time for the very old school, hard core, Vinyl record album “Dirty” to debut!

I would like to close with where I started, by repeating the very brief, sleep deprived, but heartfelt thoughts I posted to my personal blog when I had just arrived home after a road trip with Paulo, the Dallas Ft Worth area street team leader which ran all morning, the day in Austin, and the road trip from 3 am to sunrise back from the show:

Near the very end, when it was mostly just a handful of street team members still waiting to see her (we let the other fans go ahead of us) , she [Kim Freeman] was finally overcome and had to take a few minutes alone to re-hydrate and get heat and dehydration related headache and nausea under control.  The fans expressed love and concern which was returned during that time, through the door of her green room.  She then came out as cheerful as ever to wish the last of us goodbye and sign anything needing autographs. 

 [In fact she even cracked jokes about it not being real “Rock N Roll” unless somebody pukes]  

The terms that come to mind for the entire event are fun, funny, intense, grueling, intimate, and deeply personal!  It was everything it was meant to be and perfectly matches the entire theme of the album it was designed to release.  

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