Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adventures in Sao Paulo, Part Two

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If you haven't yet, check out Adventures in Sao Paulo, Part One. It's not essential reading, and impacts today's story only slightly, but since you're here, you should read it anyway.

The facade of Manifesto bar is about as nondescript as Leo Vieira's jiu-jitsu academy. A dark maroon building with three black doors, located right on the curve of a one-way backstreet. No signs. No flashing lights. I only found the place thanks to the bartender who was smoking, and wearing a Manifesto t-shirt, outside. He thought I was with one of the bands. I should've lied. Maybe he would've let me in early so I didn't have to spend the next forty-five minutes huddled under an overhang to avoid the pissing rain.

Doors were scheduled to open at 8:00 pm which, in Brazilian time, means 8:15 or thereabouts. Our gringo hero stupidly arrived at 7:30. At least I got to hang out with the staff, all of whom came out to smoke at one point or another. It's always a good idea to make friends with the bartenders.

They finally decided to let me and the other early arrivals in at 8:30-ish. Here, instead of paying the bartenders for each individual drink, you are given a card at the door with your name and a cover charge (in this case, 20 reais--about 11 dollars) written on it. Whenever you order something, they mark your card. At the end of the night, you checkout at the caixa, as you would a supermarket or a restaurant. They tally your bill, and voila. It's a good system in that it makes transactions between customer and bartender smoother since there is no cash involved. Though I can see how it might be very easy to lose track of how much money you've spent over the course of a long night. An added bonus for the bar, really.

Chilled with some good friends, had some drinks, listened to some loud metal, and met all kinds of cool people. When the band members started to roll in, things got interesting.

I first ran into Dave McClain, Machine Head's drummer, whom I've talked to before on a couple of different occasions. Always a cool guy, very humble. Every time I see him, he's wearing a KISS t-shirt, so you know the man has good taste. Machine Head's latest, Unto the Locust, recently debuted on the Billboard charts at number 22. The rest of the world has "gotten" Machine Head for years. I've been supporting them since 1994, so it's great to see the U.S. finally coming around. Check out their homepage, here.

Can't understand why a bunch of Brazilian fans thought I was the drummer for Machine Head

If you follow Infamy and Misfortune, my writerly blog, you'll know that I've been working on a biography of Brazilian heavy metal legends Sepultura. I briefly spoke with them about it back in April, but this being a more social environment, I got a chance to discuss the project in depth with Andreas Kisser and Derrick Green, guitarist and vocalist of the band, respectively. Both of them expressed their interest, offering to do whatever they could to help, and--in Derrick's case--even throwing out a number of ideas on how to approach the project. I am far beyond grateful for their support, and this meeting really relit the fire under my ass to get this project moving.

With Emanuel from Sepularmy, Andreas Kisser, and Dave McClain

With Derrick after a deep discussion about truth and self-discovery

Through all this I tried hard to keep my inner fanboy in check, and I think I did a pretty good job of it. Andreas and Derrick were deejaying the event from a small stage at the back of the bar, so the rest of the evening turned into a battle of the iPods. We heard everything from Black Sabbath, old school Metallica, Queen, Tears for Fears, the Bee name it, one of the guys probably played it.

Derrick taking his "job" very seriously

Dave's drum tech, Mudbilly, inspired by some 70s dance-pop tune

I left around 3 am, while Derrick and Andreas were still battling it out on the stage, and the party showed no signs of stopping. After the morning's two-hour commute, two hours of training jiu-jitsu at Checkmat in the afternoon, and a six hour heavy metal extravaganza in the evening, I was done.

And that, my friends, is why I didn't train with Leo Vieira again on Friday. The word I'm looking for, I believe, is "hungover." But it was all worth it.

Next up: Part Three, where Our Hero watches in awe as Sepultura and Machine Head destroy Via Funchal.

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