Saturday Double Special: Zak Toscani Live in Portland [Stand Up] + Same Boat [Film]



Hello Folks, and welcome to another Saturday Double Special. As we are all doubling up on the content we are taking in these days, we are excited to share with you two incredible collection of moving images that I know you are going to love oh so damn much.

First off, we are so excited to talk about a brilliant half hour set (27 minutes if you need to be a dick about it) from our dear friend and past guest Zak Toscani. It’s been just over a year since we had Zak on the site, and we have continued to follow, and love, his work since then and definitely before. Zak has continued to make audiences laugh with his brilliant observations and self-realization that could arguably considered a bit too harsh on himself, but that’s obviously the point. He’s poignant and profound in his act and I simply cannot say enough good shit about his work. He’s a wordsmith as well. “There is no love where there is no obstacle” is a quote from Zak that I truly adore. Especially since it is about frozen pizzas.

Zak, like so many other great comics we have had on the site (including a lot of his friends), is continuing to attempt to entertain audiences during this extremely weird as time and has something incredible to share with you all. Back in January, Toscani returned to his old stomping grounds, our beloved former home base, of the Pacific Northwest, PDX proper, and gave an absolutely phenomenal performance. In absolute seriousness, it is one of the best half hours I have ever watched. I hope with all of my heart that one day I will finally get to see this shit live. Word for word, I know I would laugh myself into hysteria. It’s that damn good.

So what does a stand up set from January have to do with Zak’s attempt to keep us laughing? Well, recently he publicly announced that he would like to share this set with the world.


And being the humble man he is, if you simply ask him to check it out, he’s probably going to give to you for free. But, I implore you all to shoot him a couple of bucks via Venmo (unless you live in the UK where they refuse to acknowledge this fabulous service, the bastards) or PayPal (way to think internationally PayPal!), or however you are able to send funds to a brilliant comedian who simply wants to make people laugh and also afford to purchase the canvases known as frozen pizzas.

We are living in some sort of strange simulation right now, so let’s roll with that shall we? If you were able to roam the streets of Portland, Oregon for a night, you may wander into Helium and drop 10-15 bucks (I’m honestly spit-balling here, because I’ve been to exactly one comedy club, ever) to watch a wonderful comedian give their brilliant observations of the world. Well, it can still happen! You’re just at home, in your pajamas, watching comedy. How great is that? I honestly can think of nothing better. Except maybe actually going to a show, as I mentioned earlier, but it’s not an option so let’s make the best of it.

So, how can you watch Zak’s incredible stand up? Simply hit him up on TWITTER. And don’t forget to ask for payment information, and pay what you think is fair or whatever you are able to spare. And of course, if you are simply broke as fuck but need the enlightenment, Zak is likely to simply hand it over to you being the perfect gentleman that he is. But, if you can spare a few bucks, I implore you all to do so.




One of my favorite moments in TV history. Past guests of the site Mike Mulloy, Zak Toscani, Sean Jordan, and David Gborie, showing their support for their friend Ian Karmel before his set on The Late Late Show. This has no context to anything, I just really wanted to to exist on our site as well.






“James is a time travelling assassin from the 28th century sent to 2018 to kill a woman, but when his intern gets sick and he loses his paperwork he has some time to kill, so to speak, while enjoying the cruise he accidentally falls in love with the woman he’s supposed to kill. Same Boat is a film about duty, love, friendship, and how kindness is more powerful than destruction.” – October Coast PR




If I am being 100% honest Folks….I was very hesitant to watch this one. I can’t quite explain what exactly it was about the description of the film that was turning me off, but I definitely put off checking out for a while. And let me tell you all, I have made some terrible decisions in the past. Big ones. I once shot myself in the foot with a BB gun to prove a point. And I am confident enough to sit here and tell you all: THAT wasn’t even as dumb as putting off viewing Same Boat. Not only is this film one of the best I have watching this year, it may be a new all-time favorite comedy.

To reiterate a comment I previously made about Same Boat this week in an interview we did with Josh Itzkowitz:

I would never compare Josh’s work directly to anyone in particular, as his whole style seems to be coming up with something highly original. I may “liken” it to a bit of a strange genre of sci-fi that might have an origin linked (at least in my mind), to a guy like writer/director Charlie Kaufman. It’s that type of science fiction that takes an idea that is futuristic and exciting, but focuses more on the human reaction elements to a bold stance. A time traveling assassin who travels hundreds of years into the past to kill a woman but can’t because of the power of attraction? That’s on par, if not superior in my opinion, to how humans would react to living in a celebrities head for 15 minutes or fighting against time in your head to stop the erasure of a loved one from your memory while Hulk and Kristen Dunst dance on top of you.



Same Boat is an absolute gem of a film that I am certain you will be hearing about here at TWS in the future. Director/Leading Actor Chris Roberti shines in the film, as does Tonya Glanz and the whole damn cast. What we have here is an amazing collection of hilarious individuals portraying wonderfully written characters that steal the show with every moment they appear before us. Seriously, I feel the need to shout them out individually, as it truly feels like lightning caught in a bottle. Evan Kaufman, Katie Hoffman, David Bly, Leah Rudick, David Carl, Julia Shonberg….EVERYONE! You were all incredible, and thank you so much for what you are giving the world in these desperate times!

So Folks, if you are looking for a bit of an escape from reality, I can not recommend Same Boat enough for your viewing pleasure. Get on it Folks!


Same Boat is available now VOD wherever you purchase great films.





Bike Thief: Live @ Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, OR [05.29.14]


Bike Thief6Bike Thief5Bike Thief2Bike Thief1Bike Thief3






The band has only been in Portland for a couple years, and have been moving along at an incredibly fast clip. It’s been a busy year for Bike Thief as the band has changed some members all while working on a new record that will be out later this coming August. On Thursday, May 29th, I was able to make it down to Doug Fir to see them play their new stuff, and in spite of the date I brought with me, I had a great time.

If you saw Bike Thief last year, you need to see them again. In less than a year they have successfully transformed from the jangling, folky, moody, mostly acoustic sound of their Ghost of Providence EP, to electric and dynamic rock ‘n’ roll…and I love it. Hitting some higher notes this time around, lead singer and songwriter Febian Perez has pushed his voice to another level on these new songs, using falsetto that’s full of vibrato in the spirit of Jeff Buckley. Yes, he does it THAT well. I would never throw around the sacred name of Jeff Buckley if it wasn’t warranted. But that’s what I heard.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Bike Thief still sounds like Bike Thief, just bigger, louder, and more electric. The moody violin/viola of Greg Allen trades off and intermingles perfectly with the new guitar leads that weren’t there on the Ghost of Providence. Greg and Febian are up front and center and harmonize vocally into one mic like Springsteen and Stevie Van Zandt in the “Glory Days” video. Now that I think of it, wasn’t The Boss playing a natural blonde telecaster in that video? And wasn’t Febian Perez playing a natural blonde telecaster May 29th at the Doug Fir? Well, yes he was. There is no way in hell that is just a coincidence. Febian Perez isBike Thief4 the next Bruce Springsteen.

With the debut full length album coming out in August, and decent sized slab of tour dates coming together in the Fall, this could be the year that Bike Thief gains some wingspan and flies out of Portland just as fast as they flew in.

Learn more about Bike Thief, and check out some of their tunes at the following links:







Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, Noisem, Bastard Feast Live @ The Roseland Theater in Portland, OR [03.30.14]

Carcass1I love when I get to see a band perform that I never thought I would get to see. Reunion tours. Farewell tours. There are so many bands I love that have a tendency to skip over the Pacific Northwest year after year. I have a bucket list of artists that I’ve never gotten to see. I was able to check Carcass off that list, finally. They split up in 1995, and reunited 12 years later. I have listened to these British goregrind legends and melodic death metal pioneers for years. They are easily one of the most important bands in extreme metal, and I’m glad I finally got the chance to see them perform.

Bastard FeastThe show opened early with local band Bastard Feast (formerly Elitist). Filling the venue with a robust death metal/doom metal sound (fused with elements of D-Beat and black metal) this group fit the bill better than some of the groups to share the stage later in the night. Their frantic, ugly music caught me off guard in a beautiful way. Vocalist Josh Greene rolled his eyes back in his head and shrieked out unnerving vocals over the sounds of down tempo, lumbering riffs and intense pummeling rhythms. The venue was relatively empty at this point, and the crowd was still small and relatively unresponsive. It was a solid performance of some wonderfully dark and unnerving music. The kind of stuff that can even make the most well versed metal fan uncomfortable.

NosiemI hit the merch table and re-positioned myself upstairs for the remainder of the show. Next to take the stage was Baltimore thrashers Noisem. Now, I enjoy this band’s studio work. They released a full length last year that caught my ear for a week or two. Solid old school death metal with a penchant for some late 80’s thrash. Their live performance was much different than their studio experience. I felt like I was watching a grindcore band. The energy was full and frenetic, and vocalist Tyler Carnes barely seemed to spend any time on the stage. He wandered back and forth between the security barrier and the stage most of the set, spewing forth his lyrics, feeding off the growing energy of the crowd. Unfortunately the sound at that point had not been balanced properly, so the guitar leads that occasionally take over as a focal point for the group were lost in a wall of sound. In either case, they were fun to watch and the energy they put into performing live translates very well.

GorgutsCanadian death metal veterans Gorguts were up next. Gorguts are a mainstay in the death metal scene, releasing a few vital albums in the early to mid nineties that really pushed the boundaries of the genre into a different, more technical territory. However, during this live performance, those tracks seemed to blend together into one solid droning sound of blast beats, chaotic stops and starts, and tremolo riffs. The only parts of their sound that really seemed to stand out was when they were performing more of their recent material. The newer tracks are much more sludgy and dissonant. While the sound is more ambient, it did nothing for the live atmosphere. Vocalist Luc Lemay stood  in one spot practically the entire performance, unmoving and looking uninspired. While the technicality shone through, and the drummer Patrice Hamelin (holy double bass!) was fun to watch, the overall performance seemed robotic (which is often the case with tech-death bands) and uninspired.

Black Dahlia MurderUp next was a band I’m perhaps all too familiar with, The Black Dahlia Murder. This marked the fifth time I have seen this Detroit based outfit. Heavy hitters in the melodic death metal and metalcore scenes, these guys have been working constantly for years. They have released six albums and toured constantly for the better part of 11 years. These guys were at some point one of my favorite bands, and I will always hold a special place for them in my heart. That being said, I was quite underwhelmed by their live performance this time out. I think the novelty of this band has just worn off a bit for me, personally. I felt like I was watching the same live show I had seen 4 times before. Getting the crowd involved in the same tired chants: check. Singer Trevor Strnad takes off his shirt to reveal his giant tattoo across his stomach that reads “heartburn”: check. Performing the crowd favorites, and having a generally good time on stage is fantastic sometimes translates very well. However this time the mystery and intensity of this death metal five piece was overshadowed but what appeared to be an attempt of trying possibly too hard. They have always come off to me as having more of a punk rock stage ethos, but nothing surprised me with their setlist or their actions onstage. Solid performance from all standpoints. Sound was great. Leads, drums, vocals…. all performed admirably and with enthusiasm. But I’ve seen this exact performance from them many times before. Their vocalist, while all smiles and laughter between screams, needs to re-establish himself as a metal frontman once again before he continues to come off as a pop punk vocalist singing death metal.

The stage crew began setting up for Carcass, brought out two projection screens about 5 feet tall, and set one up on each side of the drum set. This intrigued me, as a heavy part of Carcass’ early work was gore soaked grindcore that relied heavily on medical references and lyrics based on surgical procedures. Their most recent release, Surgical Steel was a vicious return to form, picking up where they left off in the mid nineties with a devastating melodic death metal sound. I was hoping that perhaps the visuals for the show would match that era’s content.

The band took the stage and it became quickly obvious that their set would be relying heavily on songs from their seminal 1993 album Heartwork. Not that there was anything wrong with that. It also became fairly obvious that the only signs of aging that these guys were going to display was their hair graying a bit. They sounded solid. Their new drummer, Daniel Wilding (although definitely no Ken Owen) was spot on. He hit the pocket and it was very gratifying to see the groove of their sound translate so well into a live performance. Jeff Walker not only maintains his signature snarl, but I think it has gotten better with age. Without a visual, I would swear that I was listening to this band perform in the mid nineties.

Carcass2Carcass played a fairly rounded setlist, touching on every album. Unfortunately, they only played a brief medley of track from my favorite of their albums, Swansong. But I can’t be too greedy. They joked a bit with the crowd, involving them a bit, and their live sound was very tight. Not a whole lot of movement from the Jeff Walker or Bill Steer (remaining original members), as they are getting up there in years. But their enthusiasm seemed very genuine, and their performances were that of a couple seasoned veterans. The visuals that I had hoped for were nothing more than strange art film images and a seemingly random mix of religious symbols. Toward the end they took on a gore oriented visual as they performed the classics “Exhume to Consume” and “Corporal Jigsore Quandary”. It made me feel like I was at a classic goregrind show in 1994. Maybe it was purely my overwhelming nostalgia. I don’t care. It was great.

Overall, a solid performance from Carcass. The Black Dahlia Murder came off as campy. Gorguts were relatively boring. Noisem were fun, even with terrible sound. Bastard Feast made me uncomfortable, and I like it.


Adam Mattson

Tool & Yob. Live @ The Moda Center in Portland, Oregon [03.06.14]

Tool:Yob 4I don’t think I’ve met a Tool fan that doesn’t hold them in the highest of regards. Virtually every enthusiast of this band that I have met does this, except it sometimes comes off as masturbatory praise.

“They are the best live band I’ve ever seen. The audience joins together as one…. almost as if they are part of a tribe or village. This won’t just be a live show, It’ll be art. So many people don’t get it.  I’ve seen them more than any other band; Maynard James Keenan is a genius. Did you know they wrote a song based on the Fibonacci sequence?”

– Every fan of Tool I know



Don’t get me wrong. I understand the social impact that Tool has had on the musical landscape. Especially in the metal community. I can appreciate it. I actually really enjoy their body of studio work. I feel like Ænema is a nearly flawless album, and is one of the most important metal albums of the ’90s, if not all time. That being said, their live performance was…..different. It was unlike any other I’ve seen.

Eugene, OR doom metal Trio Yob took the stage early. Ten minutes before scheduled curtain. They were a bit hard to read at first. They opened with the drudging “Quantum Mystic” from their 2005 album The Unreal Never Lived. At first I felt they were lacking enthusiasm. As the crowd began to fill out a bit more, Mike Scheidt(vocals/guitar) altered his vocals from a surprisingly raspy black metal-esque shriek, into his deep signature roar. Yob has gotten the opportunity to open for Tool before Although the crowd wasn’t participating, they seemed to be having a decent time bringing their doom to the masses. I’ve seen them before and in my opinion, while they could fill nearly any size venue with their massive sound, they are a band to observe in a more intimate setting.

Tool:Yob 3After a brief sound check, it was time for Tool. They took the stage and opened with “Third Eye”, the closer from their seminal album, Ænima. Immediately, a great deal of things stand out to me. There is no microphone in at the front of the stage. Maynard James Keenan has positioned himself parallel with Danny Carey‘s drum set atop the riser towards the back. He is dressed in head to toe in solid black, with sunglasses and his hair is brightly colored and spiked upward. He essentially looked like a henchman from a cyberpunk gang. It’s an interesting juxtaposition from the other members. Guitarist Adam Jones is also dressed monochromatically, but in a lighter white/tan. Bassist Justin Chancellor dressed very….normal. And drummer Danny Carey was perched behind his kit in a Portland Blazer’s jersey. A strange mishmash for a band that I had always heard was so heavily reliant on visuals.

As they were rounding out the opener, I was very surprised by Adam Jones. All of the players clearly know their part in this band. The rhythm section is unbelievably tight, yet I couldn’t help but get the sensation that they weren’t playing together. It felt like each member of the band was performing separately. When it came time for Jones to spotlight his solo, he played it surprisingly sloppy, and abused his wah pedal more than a drunk Kirk Hammett. A rare low point from a technical performance side. The band then launched into “Vicarious” from their previous studio album, 10,000 Days. It was at this point that I was able to settle in and really absorb the visuals along with the performance.

Tool:Yob 1Behind the band there were three large screens that played clips from their music videos to accompany the tracks they were performing (which in my opinion is sort of lame). The tracks missing music video accompaniment didn’t have a shortage of visuals, however. Guitarist Adam Jones doubles as the band’s visual art director. But as far as I could tell, the visuals were stripped from one of those mid ’90s computer animation odysseys. In my opinion the graphics came off as cheesy. But I don’t discount them. In fact, the nostalgic side of me was thrilled by them. I was definitely watching a band that achieved their peak of relevancy in the ’90s, and I loved that I could see that. To me the visuals harkened back to a time when Marilyn Manson still put on a decent show. Or a time when The Butthole Surfers or White Zombie were still shocking crowds with surgery footage or horror movie clips. The laser lights, the screens filled with bad CGI…. all of it was fun to watch. But it felt absolutely contrary to the band’s live performance, or the overall atmosphere of their music.

Say what you will about the band’s uncompromising practices. It clearly works for them, but it feels cold. It feels pretentious. I understand that is part of how they want to appear, and for a band like Tool, it will  stay that way. It’s worked completely. Maynard James Keenan is a terrific singer and a fantastic lyricist. But he is NOT a frontman. He sticks to the shadows, belting out his vocals in the dark, barely acknowledging the crowd. I wouldn’t change that at all. For such an apocalyptic post metal music project, the idea of a front man would take away from the aesthetic.

Tool:Yob 2I was very surprised at the disconnect there appeared to be between each band member. They were all off on their own section of the stage, not acknowledging each other. Each one playing their part perfectly, but separately. They sounded and looked like a well oiled machine. It was great to see the rhythm section (Chancellor and Carey) show their chops as the virtuosos that they are. However, they definitely seem like the kind of band that emails each other the set list for the upcoming tour and practices at home along with their own records before the tour starts. I have a distinct feeling that the only times these guys play together is when performing live or writing in the studio.

A little over halfway through the set they had a brief intermission, and returned 12 minutes later, clearly going for broke. They upped the visuals by turning on the lasers, and dropping down a screen in front of the stage to display more visuals. They returned with a very impressive drum solo from Carey, and then got down to business. They finished with three crowd favorites: “Forty Six & 2”, “Ænema”, and “Stinkfist”. I was a little disappointed at the crowd, even at this point in the night. Everyone had hyped up to me how the crowd was going to act. How crazy it would be. The crowd seemed fairly tame to be honest. I know I shouldn’t expect it to be like a Slayer show, where everyone goes nuts, but that’s how it was explained to me. Everyone told me how awesome it was gonna be, and it was very “meh”. It felt like I was watching Donnie Darko all over again, and now I get to go tell all my friends that adore it how mediocre it was.

All in all it was a fun night, Tool were very technically proficient, but had no stage presence, and the visuals, while nostalgically pleasing come off a cheesy and forced.