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Fans Soaked It Up: System Of A Down's Rexall Place Show Won't Be For

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  • Fans Soaked It Up: System Of A Down's Rexall Place Show Won't Be For

    By Yuri Wuensch

    Edmonton Sun, Canada
    June 29 2006

    System of a Down is a lot like the untouchable hot girl you knew in
    high school who surrounded herself with ugly chicks so she'd appear
    that much hotter.

    Opening band, Bad Acid Trip, like wake-up-in-the-desert-naked bad,
    is one of those tagalongs. It makes you realize and appreciate that
    System's brand of heavy metal can indeed rise above, high above,
    mere furious play and unintelligible screaming.

    System of a Down played a stellar, ear-splitting and sold-out show
    at Rexall Place last night.

    I know Hatebreed, second on the bill, was a better act than BAT,
    because a Thunderdome-like circle of metallists started beating down
    on each other on the concert floor. Let's face it; you don't try
    hurting people for just any old band.

    And make no mistake, System of a Down is no ordinary metal band. Why
    they're so special might not become readily apparent after seeing
    last night's show at Rexall, however.

    The band's lyrics touch on everything from over-population in the
    U.S. prison system to SOAD's roots and the genocide of Armenians
    during the First World War. System has instilled thought-provoking
    ideas and politics into its music and, in turn, fan base.

    That the band delivers its message with the brute force of a thousand
    hammers is a plus, with power chords, merciless drumming and lead
    singer Serj Tankian's punctuating vocals.

    The instrumentals on many tracks also showed real nuance, like on
    B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bombs). Last night, "bring your own bong"
    would have been appropriate, too; the smell of weed was thick most
    everywhere in Rexall. Sorry, security.

    Not that the band discouraged the puff, puff, give.

    At one point, a red shirt was thrown on stage, right into the arms
    of guitarist Daron Malakian.

    "Ew, sticky," he said. "Come on. If you're going to throw anything,
    at least throw a joint."

    A barrage of items hit the stage, including to the band's confusion, an
    eraser. But a bevy of blunts eventually found their way up there, too.

    "Ha. I'm such a fiend, I'm grabbing them all," laughed Malakian, who
    passed a lit one around to his band mates. "Now that we're stoned,
    we're probably going to screw this next one up."

    There were few missteps, though. As the evening wore on, the band's
    musicianship shone through, with some tunes sounding like Eastern
    European drinking songs.

    Others took on a Middle Eastern vibe, complemented by Malakian's chants
    and the Persian rugs on the stage floor. Some of the polyrhythmic
    instrumentals were just plain dizzying, fit for gypsies and whirling

    The band apologized for its play of Old School Hollywood Baseball, the
    first time it's been performed live, they said. But it was cool, the
    vocorder effect adding yet another spellbinding dimension to their act.

    Needles, from System's 2001 breakthrough album, Toxicity, like
    most everything the band performed, was well met by the crowd. The
    mop-topped teen beside me, eyes closed and thrusting his fist in the
    air, wasn't at a rock concert - he was at church.

    If your banger buddy doesn't acknowledge your water-cooler greeting
    this morning, don't think him rude.

    He's probably just temporarily deaf - and loving it - thanks to
    System of a Down. Soak it in; the band's on an extended hiatus after
    this tour.



    Main Event: System of a Down In the Seats: 13,500 in Rexall Place
    Note Perfect: System of a Down's Instrumentals Sour Note: Metallic
    Taste in Your Mouth From Bad Acid Trip Rating: 4.5 Suns out of 5.