Friday, August 30, 2002 @ 3:28 PM
Anger Management Live at Drake
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REVIEW BY: Brian Davis, aka Death_Chronicle
In an effort to properly describe the collective collage of dreams known as Anger Management, I was driven to look up the word family in a dictionary. This is what it says: “ A locally independent organized crime unit.” Uh, no that wasn’t quite what I was looking for. The only crime here is that these guys aren’t out there giving metal seminars across the country. What I was really looking for was: “ A group of people who share goals and values, have long term commitments to one another, and are united by a common conviction.” THAT is exactly what’s going on between Dave “Death” Bjorklund, Ted Behm, Todd Janeczek and Tracy James Finck -- a commitment to a shared conviction and a desire to achieve their goals.
When I first saw Anger Management perform in February of this year they radiated conviction and desire. It poured out from Ted and Dave’s crunchingly heavy guitar riffs, it flowed through Todd’s driving bass, and when combined with Tracy’s unrelenting drum assault it became a full-blown fucking flood of energy and aggression. That was all I needed to see that these guys weren’t your typical heavy metal heathens. They had a tightness and synchronicity that only a family of brothers could have. All this I saw without having spoken a word to them. Little did I know that the family extended beyond the camaraderie on the stage, nor did I know that I would soon be welcomed into the fold.
I left that concert invigorated and inspired by the energy that the entire band exuded and I felt a personal obligation to spread the word about this incredible group. It seemed a shame that such metal mastery was as yet unknown to the masses, so I set about the internet spreading the Anger, throwing the band into any conversation I could with the hopes of proving to these people that Yes, metal is still alive and Yes, with just one Anger Management “seminar” you too will have your faith in metal restored. It was by some benevolent twist of fate that Tracy James Finck happened across one such conversation and thus began what has quickly become one of the greatest experiences of my life.
As if I wasn’t impressed enough by Anger’s musicianship and on-stage might, Tracy stepped up and exceeded any possible expectations I could have had about such an incredible group of friends. And when it comes to Anger Management, what goes for one goes for all. The more familiar I became with Tracy, the more familiar I inherently became with the rest of the guys. They could have said a simple thank you for my commendations and left it at that. But Anger Management isn’t about the egos, superiority complexes and pompous conceit that runs rampant in today’s music scene. I was greeted with incredible humility and appreciation for what seemed to me to be but a small step I had taken to repay the guys for having provided me with such inspiration and exhilaration. But not even the smallest effort that I made went unnoticed by these guys, and at every turn they were there to thank me. It was never my intention to garner approval by supporting the band that I came to love, but with every interaction my respect and appreciation for them grew, which in turn amplified my desire to let the world know what an incredibly unique collection of brothers and elite musicians these guys are. It was at this point that my friend Eric and I were asked, and all too willingly accepted the opportunity, to start up an AFM street team here in Tacoma, WA. Equipped with angerphenalia and armed with inspiration we set about physically spreading the Anger throughout the city in malls, record stores, colleges-anywhere that we might find potential Anger fans just waiting to be born.
And this brings us to the Anger Management show that Eric and I had been looking forward to more than a virgin in a whorehouse with a fistful of hundreds. It took place at Drake’s Nightclub this last Friday, August 9th, and there was what I would consider a modest turnout. Certainly not the amount of people we had approached about Anger, but visibly more than had attended Anger’s first Tacoma show back in February. The show marked only the second Anger Management appearance with Dave picking up the vocal duties on top of his awe inspiring rhythm playing, but you would swear on an unborn child that they had been a four piece since the birth of man. Throughout the entire set we were aurally annihilated by a flowing tightness that was easily ten times more incredible than the last time I had seen them. You could have reached into the air and plucked the energy like ripened fruits of inspiration as they dominated the crowd song after song. It felt incredible, it felt succinct, and most importantly-it felt RIGHT. It was evident in the expression of each member of the band from the moment they set foot on the stage. They knew they had the formula for dominance, and they executed everything with the ease that only masters of their art could do. And these, my friends, are masters.
After the show the revelations came at lightning speed as we met the rest of the Anger camp. We didn’t just meet a band that had roadies and techs and management-we met a band that had more brothers in every one of those positions. This is not a group of people with job titles, this is a family whose cumulative contributions result in the inspiringly incredible entity known as Anger Management. They are the closest of friends who have all had the same dreams about the music they love, and who have made a commitment to realize these same dreams as a tightly knit family who work tirelessly together towards that realization. The most incredible and moving part of these revelations was the fact that they evidently have room for a few more.
The experience of a lifetime continued as I followed the band back to their hometown of Portland, OR. I was brimming with the residual adrenaline of having seen one of the greatest metal shows ever, and the feeling was amplified even more by the knowledge that in less than 15 hours I would be witness yet again to history in the making. In the time leading up to the show my friendship with Tracy was solidified as a brotherhood and an unfaltering foundation of companionship was laid that would withstand the death of a planet. I think that alone is worth more than anything anyone would dare hope for in any given life, but there was more to come.
Take yourself out of your natural surroundings, put yourself in a different state, out in a public place surrounded by complete strangers, totally nude women (okay, that’s not so terrible), and you’re probably going to feel somewhat uncomfortable and out of place. Not when you’re with Anger Management. Engulfed in the throes of chaos that I would assume accompanies the hours preceding any metal show, every single guy from the band took the time on several occasions to check in with me and see how things were going. I don’t know about you people, but for me it’s those small things that separate the good from the great, and that night I was surrounded by greatness. That night I also witnessed that the family seemed to stretch out forever like the Great Wall of China. Loyal fans from around the city thronged into Doc’s Strip Club adorned in Anger Management t-shirts, showing their support and proving that I’m not the only one that knows greatness when I see it. And here, in Dave’s 3rd show at the mic, it became evident to everybody that the steamroller has begun and the ever-tight Anger Management will continue to roll until they have flattened every misconception and assumption about what metal is, and they are riding high on a wave of energy that screams to you: “METAL IS FUCKING ALIVE!” And at the end of the show, when Tracy asked me if the nude girlies were throwing down some good dance moves to their grooves, of course the only answer I could give was, “I don’t know. I was too busy watching you guys play.”
Check out angerage.com for more info.