Thursday the 2nd of September 2010 I had a bit of a struggle to get to the Black Cat to see Southern California’s Fu Manchu play. Opening act It’s Casual canceled and so the set times were moved up a bit earlier, which didn’t work in my favor. I did make it to the venue though, but I only caught about half of the last song by support act Black Tusk. That kinda sucks because I like their new album and wanted to see them. Not the end of the world though because the real reason I was here was to see headliners Fu Manchu. I’m not sure they count as a metal band, most tend to call them stoner or skater rock, but you’ve got to admit they have some thrashy riffs as well as some heavy distortion laden doom style riffs thrown in there too.
They came out at around 10pm and the audience was ready for them. I think the audience had about doubled in size in the 20 minutes since Black Tusk’s set. They started off playing Squash The Fly and their energy on stage was just great from the start. The crowd got into the show instantly and seemed to cheer louder after each song all night. Unlike some of the stoner and doom bands who are getting back together for reunions these days, Fu Manchu never broke up. This means they have a lot of material to choose from. Their setlist was the ‘best hits’ style spanning their career (as opposed to the play mostly new material style) and they played songs from just about all of the 10 full length studio releases and even a few from their EPs and singles. They did throw in a couple songs from their most recent release, Signs Of Infinite Power, and while I didn’t know them as well as some of their classics like Hell On Wheels and Evil Eye, they fit into the mix perfectly didn’t take away from the show at all like a band’s newer material sometimes can (*cough* Iron Maiden *cough*). I’d seen their setlist on the stage before the show and I’m glad to say not only did they play everything on it, but they added quite a few songs to it also, Ojo Rojo and Superbird notably, as well as a cover of the SSD song Nothing Done.
The whole show guitarist and lead vocalist Scott Hill kept changing location on the stage. Sometimes he’d be headbanging back by the drum kit, sometimes he’d walk up to the very edge of the stage and play to the crowd, and sometimes he’d just be jamming out in front of the mic stand. The whole band seemed very at home on stage and they put on a great performance. These songs are great on their studio albums, but executed live they seemed to be supercharged and maybe part of that was from the crowd’s feedback. The whole thing was rather enjoyable I must say, well except when someone told me to stop shooting video early in the set. That kinda sucked, but I still managed to shoot the final two songs of the night, which you can see below. Aside from that minor issue, I had a great time overall. Even when the mosh pit behind me got out of control and I had beer spilled on my back I didn’t care because it was just that fun of a concert. Early in the set Scott repeated “Baltimore Sucks” into the mic after an audience member said it, but he later apologized when people in the crowd yelled to stop hating on Baltimore and he clarified that he in fact likes Baltimore and enjoyed some of their shows there in the past. Other than that he didn’t say a whole lot between songs, other than to introduce the next tune. Eventually they ended their crowd pleasing show with the song King Of The Road, only to come back a minute or two afterwards and play a request, the song Weird Beard, as their only encore song to finish the night. They played for about 90 minutes straight and their set didn’t get boring for a second. This was a great way to spend a Thursday night in DC and I’m glad I succeeded in getting there. And if you weren’t in attendance or were and just want to remember, here’s the videos of their final two songs they played: