Eugene Weekly : Music : 1.8.09

The Dominant Species

Ever since I plucked Early Man’s CD Closing In off the shelf two years ago, I’ve lived with an Early Man-shaped hole in my heart that could only be filled by seeing the band live. And now, finally, they’re going to be here in Eugene! I’m happy. And though they’re playing with other well-known bands, this night, I only have eyes for Early Man. But I digress.

I hadn’t heard of Early Man before and only picked up the CD because the logo looked cool and it was released on Matador, a label I’ve heard great music from in the past. I had no idea what to expect when I first pushed play, and what I heard totally knocked my socks off. Here was a vocalist with a vintage shriek, riffs that were on fire and a sound that recalled all the giants I loved as a dorky metalhead teen: Ozzy, Metallica, Maiden, Priest. I couldn’t believe that I was hearing a band that had resurrected the NWOBHM sound and crossed it with American thrash …  and was awesome. After a moment’s uncertainty — was this band a savior or a serpent in disguise? — I accepted the absurd perfection of it and enlisted in the Early Man army. 

The band’s a little better known now than when I found Closing In. Maybe you know their song “More to Me Than Meat and Eyes” about the Aqua Teen Hunger Force character Meatwad. They also have a new album out, Beware The Circling Fin, which is more of the same shredliness. If you like early metal, you’ll love Early Man. Trust me, OK? 3 Inches Of Blood, Toxic Holocaust, Early Man and The Athiarchists play at 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 10, at the WOW Hall. $12 adv., $14 door. — Vanessa Salvia


More Than a Trifle

The Oregon Mozart Players kick off 2009’s classical music calendar this weekend with an English accent in their “English Trifle” concert: Ralph Vaughan Williams’ perennial The Lark Ascending, Edward Elgar’s Serenade and Gustav Holst’s Brook Green Suite. But the showstopper is one of the grand glories in classical music, Haydn’s 104th and final symphony. The great composer tried to retire from writing symphonies but was coaxed and commissioned into a last set of a dozen by an English patron, who gave him a bigger orchestra than ever and brought him to London to conduct the performances. Despite the dozens he’d written earlier, somehow Haydn found renewed inspiration for these; they’re all masterpieces. Based on a folk dance, the galloping concluding movement of the last one left no doubt that it was Haydn’s last word on the subject, and maybe the finest farewell in the history of music. 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Hult Center, and 2:30 pm Sunday, Jan. 11, at Beall Hall, UO. $16-$39. — Brett Campbell