Over the last decade, no band has better exemplified the American metal underground better than HIGH ON FIRE. Let by Matt Pike, the founding guitarist of the legendary doom band SLEEP, the band has been recording and touring relentlessly since its inception in 1998 just to make a living. But during the rare downtimes, the band retreats to its hometown Oakland, and you can find Pike working part-time as a bartender at Eli's Mile High Club. The last time we saw HIGH ON FIRE in Los Angeles was a 6:30 opening slot for the DETHKLOK tour at The Palladium. The good news was that the crowd arrived early. The bad news was that almost nobody knew who the fuck they were. It was disturbing. All these people were here to pay tribute to a cartoon, few realizing that the true larger-than-life character was standing in the flesh right before them. As his fellow bartender told J. Bennett in Decibel a few months ago, "People come in to see Pike because he's Pike. Just look at him." Exactly. This is our generation's Lemmy. A drawing can't do justice to a body that has endured 15 years of living in vans and a liter of whiskey shotgunned down its throat moments before each set (we personally witnessed this at the Troubadour a while back). Undeterred by the tepid response, HIGH ON FIRE put on their usual rousing show, debuting songs from their then unreleased album Snakes for the Divine, and having more luck than the rest of the tour opening up a few minds.
Six months later, things are looking way up. Leaving Relapse for E1 looked questionable at first, but those questions have been answered. The new record has been noticed, with lots of favorable reviews from the mainstream press, and HIGH ON FIRE comes to town on Friday headlining a successful tour that has left the underground press lamenting they have left us behind:
It was bittersweet to watch Matt Pike, Des Kensel and Jeff Matz on stage — and not just because I could barely see them for all the people standing in front of me. In a way, it was like saying goodbye.
All of this comes on top of the news that they will be crossing Eruope for a few weeks in support of METALLICA. That alone might justify writing them off, but it would be so wrong. These guys are not THE SWORD. They've earned this moment, and those of us that have been there for the long haul should be there to celebrate with them. It doesn't hurt that the power trio will be joined by BLACK COBRA, quite possibly the best power duo we have ever experienced, and certainly the loudest.
If you want to join us, we've got free tickets. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name to enter and do it by 2 pm tomorrow. The winners will be selected at random.
The ticket contest is closed and all winners have been notified. That was the biggest response we've had for any contest so either this blog is getting more popular or you guys just really like the lineup. The stats tell me its the latter. The good news for those that missed out is that the venue told me there will be tickets at the door. And don't let this discourage you from entering future contests. History tell us your chances of winning for just about any other show are far higher.
The next giveaway will be for the Coheed & Cambria/Circa Survive/Torche show May 4th at the Fox Theater in Pomona. We know Torche well, but not the others. Anyone that writes a preview for the show that we can post will get a pair of tickets. Entries should be submitted by next Wednesday, April 28th.