Shovel Headed Tour Machine (Live At Wacken And Other Atrocities)
posted on 2/2010 By:
“Real quickly, I want you to know that Osama Bin Laden is a terrorist motherfucker that doesn’t want you to have music, art, or anything. He wants you to die, if you don’t want to be a fucking Muslim. And all I got to say is fuuuck youuuuu. ‘Cause you are children of a worthless fucking god!” –Rob Dukes
Riiiiiight. A word of advice: When you dig into the hulking Shovel Headed Tour Machine set, don’t start with the audio disc of Exodus’ set from Wacken ‘08. It leaves you with a sinking feeling that this package is going to do nothing but fuel the fire of the Rob Dukes bashers (which I’m not). Dukes’ banter (see above for Exhibit A) is bad enough to make Billy Milano sound like JFK. Seriously, how many ‘motherfuckers’ can a guy cram into a single sentence? Even Gary Holt admits that sometimes he cringes at some of the stuff Dukes says on stage. At the same time, bassist Jack Gibson admits “Our fans run the gamut—some really smart, I would even say geeky, nerdy fans, all the way to some of the dumbest fuckers you’ve ever met in your life—that’s our bread and butter.” So maybe this pro-wrestler schtick goes down well with the band’s base. The thing is, the two DVDs here go a long way to bailing out Dukes. Actually seeing Exodus perform to an absolute sea of concert goers helps account for the frontman’s relentless bravado and goading of the crowd to try to squeeze every last drop of good friendly violent fun out of a huge mob at a marathon festival. The audio and video recordings are excellent—both are crisp and professional as anything you’ll find. The DVD doesn’t offer more than one audio setting, which may bug some audiophiles, I suppose. The setlist is limited to the Dukes era tunes plus Bonded By Blood, which of course was just rerecorded with Dukes at the mic. It would have been great to hear some stuff from the Zetro years (aside from Tempo's "Blacklist"--not exactly a highlight), but you can’t complain too loudly about the setlist the band put together. They rip though all of it, old and new alike, with the polished class of elder statesmen and the heart and enthusiasm of a band that still carries the fire in its belly.
But the real surprise here is the third disc, the ‘Other Assorted Atrocities’. Behind the scenes offerings are more often than not good for a single viewing at most, and are typically painful due to either pretentiousness or simply a bunch of footage of not much of anything at all. This film manages to deliver on the promise of these kinds of backstage offerings: a chance to get a candid look at the band; to see them in a different setting and in a different light. And it’s damn entertaining to watch this band behave in such an honest and unselfconscious way. You see lots of the typical backstage jackassery from the crew--the guys may be bonded by blood, but booze is a close second. But the band doesn’t shy away from poking fun at each other and themselves, and the film intersperses several “Exodus Non-Metal Moments” consisting of things like shots of Holt applying wrinkle cream. The film is enough fun that it’s got some replay value, which is a rarity. And to come full circle, it may bring round some of the anti-Dukes clan. His knuckle dragging stage presence aside, the guy comes off as affable, enthusiastic, and just a good, if goofy, guy to have in your band. Even better, he’s passionate about leaving it all out there on the stage every night--the sweat, the puke (he yaks before most every gig) the blood, as metal (still) takes its price.
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Exhibit B: The Human Condition
Let There Be Blood
The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A
Shovel Headed Kill Machine
Tempo of the Damned