By Adam Lovinus
By Lilledeshan Bose
By Gabriel San Roman
By Rachel Mattice
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Daniel Kohn
By Nate Jackson
By Mike Seeley
Photo by James Bunoan SANDFROG/FIVE YEAR SLIDE/T.D. CLARK
THE GROVE OF ANAHEIM
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 15
There are few things on this planet that could keep our ogling eyes away from a great, bloody car crash, particularly when we have prior knowledge when and where the wreck will happen. Why else in God's name would we be at this three-band dude-rawk mulletfest, headlined by the retardedly named Sandfrog, whose singer, as you might know, is Angels first baseman Scott Spiezio?
The prospect of witnessing a zillionaire athlete indulging in his vastly less-naturally talented hobby brought out the Big Media—a Japanese TV crew, ABC-7 and Commie Girl (where were they back when ex-White Sox ace Jack McDowell played the Doll Hut with his crappy band?). Spiezio is really into his music, too, and he told the LA Times of his dream to "have somebody sign us and give us money to make a great record." Ahh, the hopes of young, struggling indie bands. Sandfrog even had a mailing list—how quaint! But, really, can't the Speez foot the bill himself, since he just re-upped his contract to the tune of $4.25 million?
Before Sandfrog, though, we first had to endure the eardrum torture of T.D. Clark, a band led by a hair farmer guitarist (Mr. Clark, we assume) who was shrouded in an irony-free Frampton Comes Alive! T-shirt and who actually blurted stuff like "Didjoo guys come here to get quiet or did you come here to RAWK!?!" between his clichťd shredder wanking. A whole lotta suckage they were, a gaggle of chunky, clunky meatheads overloaded with masturbatory cheesedick tunes. Of course, the Hair played to the crowd by belching up frequent "Angels rule!" yelps, the sincerity of which bordered on the microscopic. Let us pray they're not from around here.
The second band, Five Year Slide, was no better, a bunch of sad assclowns who really scraped the bottom of the lame-o stage banter barrel with "How many of you out there are Angels fans?" Well, since their music was so dreadful, so '80s-metal-is-coming-back-any-day-now-just-you-wait, we suppose they needed to hear people yell about something.
Not that the crowd was well-versed anyway in the ways of inane concert rituals. These weren't people who were huge Sandfrog fans, after all, since the band doesn't have a note of music for sale (don't even think about radio airplay). These were Rally Monkey-carrying sports fans who wanted to placate their idol, who was ably playing the part of a sideshow freak in his own circus. Sports fans too stupid to know what real music sounds like, but because Scott Spiezio is fronting the band, they figure it must be good, so they'll be conned into thinking they like it, sort of like the dorky guys we saw in business suits and loosened neckties dancing drunkenly to tunes they'd never heard of and would certainly hate if an Angel wasn't in the band.
Sandfrog, of course, were bad, but not as horrific as we thought they'd be. As mediocre heavy-metal bar bands go, they were passable. Spiezio writes all the lyrics, and with not-exactly Dylanesque lines such as "You never listen/Why don't you listen?/You never listen to a word I say," boy, we believe it. Their Alice In Chains cover wasn't that vomitous. Spiezio smartly didn't try to play an instrument and roamed the stage with a mic in his hand for the entire set, stepping up occasionally to slap hands with people in front, then quickly retreating to his comfort zone. His voice wasn't much either, a lifeless thing that crawled from the Anyone Can Screech school of vocalization. Mostly, Sandfrog played dull Inland Empire doofus rawk, complete with that doofus rawk hallmark, the part where the band leaves the stage so the drummer can indulge in a ridiculous solo to feel compensated for his tiny anonymity and twirl his sticks around like prime Tommy Lee. No, we're serious!
That was it for us, so we caught the rest of the show on TV from the plush comfort of the Grove's Terra Rosa room, where it turned out Spiezio teammates Adam Kennedy and Troy Glaus had been the whole time. We weren't the only ones who thought Sandfrog mostly blew, either, as Kennedy and Glaus were harsh critics—every time Spiezio would utter the word "awesome!" from the stage (which was, like, every 28 seconds), the pair would point at one another and go "And you're awesome! . . . No, you're awesome!" And when Spiezio tried a David Lee Roth jump-in-the-air thing and fell onto his arse, Glaus and Kennedy broke out guffawing and made plans to acquire a videotape of the incident for what's sure to be a bit of locker-room blackmail. Apparently, car wrecks can be fun.