It was no ordinary Friday the 13th in Brooklyn, NY as Lucky 13 Saloon warded off evil with a Jason Voorhees marathon in the front and a party with some sentient beings in the back.
The evening started off like any other, two beers at the office. When it seemed like the time, I hopped on the train and went down to Sackett Street – the current location of the metal bar. It used to be on 13th street in the same Park Slope region, but they moved to a bigger, livelier and more saloon type place next to a gas station earlier this year. The trek wasn’t as easy as it should’ve been, but it was my own damned fault. The call of the wild had me take a wrong turn at Albuquerque (a stop too soon) so I had a good 25-30 minute hike before I got to the bar which was just what I needed to break in my new shoes.
A quick chat with Moon Tooth’s guitarist Nick Lee and a few minutes later I was in and thirsty as ever. It wasn’t too long into my beer before I realized the end of Friday the 13th Part V was on. Unfortunately, New Line Cinema didn’t have the decency to quit there (even though this was billed in the title as “The Final Friday,” it wasn’t) and made sequels galore. Some were slightly better, most were worse – and those were yet to come.
I ordered another beer.
Shortly after Moon Tooth arrived and after a few phone calls and interviews Lee and I were meeting for the first time. I ordered the man a brew and we chatted for a bit before he went in to get ready.
I didn’t get around to seeing the first two bands as shortly after the first one started my phone rang. Kevin, a friend I had originally planned to meet at Lucky’s was down the street at The Sackett with two of his buddies. It would’ve been nice to catch the full show since the first band (either Beast Modulus or In the Presence of Wolves) had a great sound.
Down at The Sackett I was introduced to Kevin’s associates Richard and Henry. Two beers, a shot and an empanada later they proceeded to tell one of the best Mardi Gras stories this side of the Verrazano. I was starting to feel woozy so I grabbed a burger from Bonnie’s Grill and ran back to Lucky’s to catch the rest of the show as time was growing short before the Tooth would hit the stage. Inside I ordered another cold one and caught the last couple of songs from Valence, but not before some blonde gave me a glow stick (why she had an abundance of them I’ll never know).
This most if not all progressive metal band was incredible. Their playing was tight and the sound had Dream Theater elements but was not oversaturated with John Petrucci and Mike Portnoy worship – which is a very good thing. Valence was not a clone of any kind as they had the right balance of influences and originality sprinkled in. Their lead guitarist did not only play keyboards as well, but was using an Agile – one of the cheapest and most underrated guitar brands around. You can get really quality stuff from them without breaking the bank at the custom shop.
As Valence ended I complimented them on their musicanship and gave the lead guitarist a Bonesaw card. We chatted briefly about doing a podcast so there’s a possibility on the horizon.
Dead Empires took the stage and it was interesting to say the least. There were some progressive elements but there was more of an industrial feel to their sound. They were almost like a fusion of early Nine Inch Nails and Ministry with some Prog/Death Metal thrown in. One interesting factor is that the bass player was one of the driving forces of their sound as his rig was massive. Dead Empires also brought with them a big show/rave vibe with their custom lighting. When their set was up, I did some more schmoozing and shameless plugs with them so we’ll see where that goes as well.
Up next were the big guns, Moon Tooth.
While very friendly and down to earth in person, these guys are professionally trained killers on stage. Not only do Moon Tooth have the energy of a young Bad Brains, but they can keep the audience in the palm of their hands from start to finish. Singer John Carbone is a maniac that never stays in the same place twice. The man is possessed when it’s go time and on this particular day, he probably was. Carbone was throwing himself on and off the stage like a rag doll, tying audience members in tape and at one point playing drums while on the shoulders of actual drummer Ray Marte – who didn’t skip a beat all night as bassist Vincent Romanelli laid back and stayed in the pocket like a boss.
Lee on the other hand, is another animal altogether. Like Carbone, he’s a ball of energy. Unlike Carbone, he tends to stay on the stage – but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t use every quadrant of it. Lee seamlessly plays guitar (this night he was using a Reverend Sensei) while jumping off cabinets, kicking whatever inanimate object is the closest and trying to get on top of the club itself.
Moon Tooth is not just another band from Long Island, Moon Tooth is performance art.
The Tooth played what seemed like a good hour filled with catchy tunes from their Freaks EP as well as a bunch of new tracks from their debut album set to be released early next year with a celebratory show at fellow metal bar Saint Vitus in February. Some highlights were Freak’s “Ebb/Flow,” a new song called “Bats in the Attic” and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” that hadn’t been seen since Carnivore’s version on 1987’s “Retaliation.”
As the night came to a close we said our goodbyes, I picked up a shirt from Carbone and that was that. At around 3:30 A.M., I crawled into bed after a train ride I’m not sure how I had gone on there was one thought that still lingers.
“That was a fucking show.”