SDCC 2012: I Survived the Metalocalypse!

On the Friday night of San Diego Comic-Con, while some con attendees were hunting up grub and others still hitting up some of the many parties in the many hotels dotting the bay, I was heading to the USS Midway, a museum aircraft carrier about a mile from the convention center. My short trek in the waning daylight hours was in the hopes of seeing the world’s biggest (animated) metal band in an Adult Swim-hosted show.

And that night, I and an intimate audience of a couple of hundred of Dethklok fans were rewarded with the thundering drums of Fear Factory’s Gene Hoglan, Bryan Beller on Bass, and the brutal, throbbing guitars Mike Keneally and frontman/vocalist Brendon Small as the cartoon/live act just murdered our ears in advance of their nationwide tour.

Hit the jump so I can tell you precisely how a cartoon band performs in concert (not so much Gorrillaz, if you’re wondering), and check out some photos I snapped during the show.

Adult Swim invited some Con attendees and special guests to board the USS Midway, a decommissioned aircraft carrier as the sun began to set over the San Diego harbor. Me and my fellow concert goers mingled for a good 30 minutes before Cartoon Network famous types like Doc Hammer, Seth Green, and Eric Wareheim started showing up on deck to grab drinks and hang with the crowd. The whole mood was very relaxed, a just-us-folks sort of atmosphere.

While Adult Swim couldn’t bathe the flight deck in the usual blood-red lighting of the typical animated show from the band, black hooded Klokateers were on hand to manage crowds and generally keep the whole thing feeling slightly off-kilter. I can’t even recall if the one Klokateer I snapped for the photo in the gallery below said a word when I offered to take her photo. It was strange and a welcome commitment to keeping it realistic, as it were.

After about an hour, a helicopter touched down on the fore deck (am I using these nautical terms right?) of the Midway, with Small and the rest of the band disembarking and heading below.

A few minutes later, we were asked to follow suit and then, the 11-song concert was on.

The band performed in front of a video screen which played new animation to accompany songs across all four seasons of the series, including “Hatredcopter” and “Murmaider.” The show kicked off with the Metalocalypse theme and closed with the apocalyptic “Go Into the Water.” The animation projected on the screen behind Small and co. was all new to my eyes, blood-drenched, R-rated stuff, interspersed with skits in between songs. In one, rock-and-roll clown Dr. Rockso tries to get the crowd hyped with a little call and response that leads to a plea for money; in another, Dethklok mascot Facebones warns the assembled male participants in the audience to be nice to the ladies so more ladies will come to Dethklok shows.

I was surprised by how cSmall was able to maintain the crushed gravel sound of frontman Nathan Explosion’s voice during the hour and a half (more or less) set. Likewise, the rest of the band delivered full-fleshed takes on the songs from the show, some of which will presumably make their way onto the Dethalbum 3 (which Small announced was completed recently on Twitter).

I’m hoping some of the video content from the show will make its way onto the season four DVD/Blu release (it’s actually quite funny and maintains the mordant, self-obsessed humor of the series). Check out some images from the show in the gallery below.

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