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Battle of California arena playlist #1

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Nothing draws the ire of hockey fans more than the topic of music played at the arena. HP Pavilion has recently emerged from a haze of classic rock to adopt a pretty progressive playlist, but gone are the halcyon days of San Jose Arena/NHL 94 organist Dieter Ruehle, and whoever the organist was playing obscure 80's songs at the Cow Palace during the first 2 years in San Francisco.

It may be shocking to hear Motorhead's Ace Of Spades played during the pre-game warmup in San Jose (in a good way), but Philadelphia has made it a staple across the NHL. Metallica's Fuel is a regular. Nothing is going to top last year's entrance song, The Pretender by the Foo Fighters, used to great effect in the playoffs.

A quick perusal of my current mp3 playlist comes up with almost nothing suitable to accompany NHL hockey. The queue contains too many singer/songwriters, ambient or industrial track after track, and music more appropriate for an art exhibit or a coffee house insead of a hockey game. After a little searching, here are six songs that might work well while watching Marty Turco make a late third period turnover. Please suggest songs you think would work best in the comments, and I am sure audiophile Mike Chen will chime in as well.

Imperial Hip Hop - There are few songs if any that might intimidate an opposing team as they step on to the ice at HP Pavilion, but this is one of them. With the refurbished sound system at HP Pavilion that can handle heavy bass, this would be the perfect entrance song for a hockey game. Or in the case of a Sharks-Ducks matchup, a rugby match or an MMA fight. Add in the fan noise the reverberates off the ceiling and it would be impressive.

Chevelle's The Red - Simple, heavy rock that has worked well for hockey over the ages. There is a reason so many classic hockey highlight clips use the Offspring or Mettalica. It fits.

The Whip's Trash - Why is Thrashers center Jason Williams playing Basshunter's Russian Private Jet? Garbage. The Whip is a new-ish band from Manchester, UK that rips off the 80's well enough that you do not mind. Divebomb should be included on this playlist, Sister Siam is solid too. Before you bash The Whip, visit Silicon Valley and sample your target audience.

Folk Implosion's Natural One - An older song with a mesmerizing bass line. The type of song you will be asking a friend for the title after the game.

Damian Marley's Welcome to Jamrock - I first heard this song at an ABA basketball game in San Jose. Walking up to the court a handful of players were throwing down punishing dunk after punishing dunk in the pregame warmup while this was thumping in the background. I sat under the basket to take photos and it felt like they were literally trying to rip the rim off the backboard. This song is hard and it has an edge to it, even if it was performed by a Marley.

Booker T. & the M.G.'s Hip Hugger - This may only be a short sample clip of the full song, but the lack of hockey organists at several venues across the league is a crime. This is the type of obscure soul track that a hockey organist could use to put his stamp on the experience instead of piping in fake crowd noise and asking fans to raise the noise meter, and when you think of a hockey organ you have to think of Booker T and the M.G.'s.




Longtime Chicago Blackhawks organist Frank Pellico talks with the Chicago Tribune about playing at the Chicago Stadium and the United Center for almost 20 years.

[Update] This song has to be added to the NY Islanders playlist.

[Update2] Mike Chen posted another in his "Puck Rock" series with goaltender Sean Burke here. A previous post featured ESPN's John Buccigross here.