Thursday, July 03, 2008

Dethklok at The Nokia Theatre

I've described this show four or five times since I saw it about a week ago, and every time I say the same thing: "it was actually really cool, until they ran out of video." For those of you not in the know, here's how it went:

Well, actually, for those of you really not in the know, here's what Dethklok is. Think Gorillaz, but they have a late night TV show, so there's more exposure and slightly larger plot lines. Adult Swim, in their genius, has episodes online, so you can check it out and see how much of a genius Brendan Smalls is for making absurdist comedy out of death metal. For everyone else:

Brendan Smalls got a band together, including Gene Hoglan (whose street cred makes up for how unmetal the rest of the band is) to play the music, which makes up most of the show. He and the rest of the band play in the dark, while a video projection behind them shows Dethklok playing in a series of music videos, reprising material from the show's career. There's a brief sketch of a plot - the Tribunal tries to kill them and all of their fans with some sort of poison gas but fails in the usual deus ex-machina style that characterizes all of their plots - and some interludes with the band where they tell us how much they hate us and how much they weren't there. Brendan does all of the voices - or at least appears to - relying mainly on the characters he voices in the show.

All well and good, particularly because the Nokia had installed screens on the second level of the auditorium (where I was standing) that allowed me to watch all of the video without having to break the fourth wall and look through the band to watch the action. Maintaining the illusion was a very important part of the experience, even if it meant that I was essentially paying money to watch a cartoon show at very high volume. Where things fell apart (as you've no doubt guessed from the first line of this post) is when the band came out to do the encore and opted to play without any additional video.

Here's why doing so is weird to me: encores aren't spontaneous things. The house knows the band is coming back out - they leave the lights down until the show is really over - and the audience knows, too. In fact, the band knows (or should know) the audience knows, and they should (and as far as I can tell, usually do) plan accordingly. Given all of that, why would you not plan footage for the encores? I know it means practicing to synch up two more songs to the video screens (which is really impressive, by the way - they never really missed a beat), but that seems a small price to pay to see three geeky-looking guys (and one very metal drummer) empersonate a sociopathic death metal band on stage.

However, I'm more than willing to overlook that one flaw: for an hour, Dethklok kept us entertained. For two hours before that, Soilent Green didn't suck too much, and Chimaira was pretty good. The show was about the right length, was fun to watch, made me want to go watch Metalocalypse again, and would certainly be worth catching on subsequent tours. I'm a fan.

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