Twelve Foot Ninja takes on In This Moment at The Fillmore

Twelve Foot Ninja, In This Moment
Dec. 16, 2014
The Fillmore, San Francisco
Newsflash: Twelve Foot Ninja was spotted at The Fillmore, Dec. 16, playing support for In This Moment on their Black Widow tour. Official details from authorities have not yet been released–but little did they know that BAM was on the scene (actually, on the bus) and taped the following interview directly from the mouths of these invaders from Melbourne, Australia.

It’s not often that we see the Aussies on our turf. It’s a costly endeavor for this young band, but they are here touring in support of their debut album, Silent Machine.

I was only recently turned on to this band, and I have to say: 12FN is one of the most innovative metal bands I’ve seen and heard. I’m sure that metal purists who have heard 12FN are foaming at the mouth right now at my statement, spitting some dirty words under their breath. But that’s OK. They can get a napkin and suffer through it, while I make this point–12FN really is not a true metal band, and they themselves don’t consider themselves to be. Even though the industry categorizes their music as metal, they refer to their tunes as “heavy fusion.” At its base, 12FN’s music is metal, but they segue merrily into salsa, reggae, or whatever style happens to fit the song and their mood at the time they write it. Sound strange? Yes, but these guys are not your average writers and composers. They make it work, like oil befriending water.

Before the show, photo man Chris Kentzell and I hopped aboard the band’s bus for a chat. For the most part, we cracked jokes, laughed, watched their merch guy shave fuzz balls off his hoodie with a razor, and were enlightened about a top crew member’s proclivity for “manscaping”–you know, just the normal chatter you expect to hear on a tour bus. Beyond that, guitarist Steve “Stevic” McKay, singer Nik “Kin” Etik, bassist Damon McKinnon, and drummer Shane “Russ” Russell sat and  talked with us about their musical vision, now and in the future.

12FN told us that they are already working on their sophomore album (presently untitled), which will be released later in 2015. With the music industry in a state of turmoil, scrambling to patch up their archaic business models to do business in this digital age, it was interesting to look into the minds of the next generation and hear the ideas they believe will take them to the top. One of the biggest concerns for music artists, especially the emerging ones, is how to make money. 12FN’s present favorite is “crowdfunding.” At present, 12FN holds the record for the largest “crowd-funded” music video– $52,000 Australian ($48,000 USD). Listen to this clip for more on their theory…

On to their live show. As with most bands, their live set was a bit different from what  comes out of the studio. 12FN was maniacal on stage, with tons of energy fueling an animated but authentic performance. I wondered whether their music would translate live but was happy that it did. The transitions from the metal portions of their songs to the various other styles were done fluidly.

The entire audience was thoroughly impressed by their set. 12FN is at that delicate, “make it or break it” phase of their career. But these guys are smart, and very accomplished in their musical skills. I predict that within three years, they will no longer be playing/touring in a support capacity. Furthermore, I believe they have only begun to bloom, and it will be interesting to see what these innovators have in store for us down the road. They are only limited by their imagination, and with Twelve Foot Ninja, the doors are wide open. To hear the entire interview with 12Fn, click below.

The concert’s headliner was In This Moment, who recently switched from their original label, Century Media Records, to Atlantic Records. Black Widow is their first release on Atlantic Records. I have seen ITM a couple of times and considered myself a fan, and Kentzell has been a hardcore fan over the years. But this time out,  we were not impressed.

Don’t get me wrong. Vocalist Maria Brink has an excellent voice and is an exceptional performer. In This Moment is very polished musically. But it is not about that anymore. ITM has now become “the Maria Brink show,” complete with tons of props, two dancers slithering all over Maria and the props every second of their completely choreographed show, with the band shoved off to the side. God forbid the band should interfere with the stage show! “I feel like I’m at a circus in Vegas,” I told Kentzell. None of their new songs thrilled me, either.

There is a potential danger when a band signs a contract with a major label. The bigs tend to suck the life out of the artists with all of their glitz, glamor, resources, and money, replacing the band’s blood with formaldehyde. An example of this phenomena is Aerosmith in recent years–all show, no go. However, I wish the best for ITM. I hope they will pull their heads out of their rears and get back to what’s important–the music!

Twelve Foot Ninja’s set list: War | Mother Sky | Vanguard | Manufacture of Consent | Deluge | Coming for You | Shuriken

In This Moment’s set list: Sick Like Me | Black Widow | Adrenalize | Sex Metal Barbie | Burn | Into the Light | Fallen Heroes | Big Bad Wolf | Whore |Blood