No one here gets out alive

Ears ringing. Adrenaline still pumping, though it all ended nine hours ago. A few bruises that I didn’t wake up with yesterday morning.

All things considered, Mastodon killed it at The Orange Peel. “Crack The Skye” was played in its entirety, as was much of “Blood Mountain.” Both albums did not lose their mind-blowing awesomeness in the translation. Brent Hinds and Bill Kelliher proved they are the best guitar tag team of the new millennium once and for all. At least in my mind.

The only downside, which cannot be blamed on any of the bands on the bill, was the absolute absurdity of a few people in the audience. I hate to get my Billy Corgan on here, but the man is right – moshing is totally fucking moronic.

My first experience with a mosh pit was at an Alkaline Trio show in what is still my favorite rock club, The Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. Fortunately I was one of the biggest people at the show, so most of the moshers merely bounced off me. The only bad part of the evening was getting kicked in the head three times by crowdsurfers, but all three people apologized. People wanted to have a good time and blow off some steam, but if they saw that someone could get hurt they stopped their physical jackassery. It was a nice, communal attitude that I have yet to see anywhere else.

Unfortunately, last night I was not one of the bigger members of the audience. In fact, I was on the lower side of par with this crowd. This made it fun when Kylesa, the second band on the bill, started their interesting brand of metal, which kicked the moshers into a frenzy. For a while, the chaos was contained behind me and the nice fellows from Asheville I met, but once Mastodon started all bets were off.

Now, if it were just me, I would write this down as a mere annoyance. However, when there are smaller people in the audience it’s pretty dangerous. Granted, one of the women in question (who might break the 5 feet barrier while standing on a stool in some six-inch heels) definitely was not fragile. She took the incessant pushing and pummeling in stride. However, I don’t know if the same can be said for some of the other small women or men in the audience – and there were quite a few. I let said woman front of me as to avoid getting pulled in to the melee, but it still had to be hellish for her. I sympathized and did my best not allow myself and four other guys to be thrown on top of her (and the other people up front), but that’s hard to do when a couple hundred jackasses are pushing from behind.

I don’t want to sound sexist. I’m sure this lady could have totally handled herself. If she had to she probably could have kicked my ass, though I admit that ain’t hard to do. I guess, to me at least, she is representative of why moshing is at the least stupid and at its worst insanely dangerous. Not everyone out there is 6 feet tall and has 200 pounds to throw around. If one of these huge drunk assholes gets on the warpath it might be hard to get out of their way. A guy my size, that means a bruise or some other superficial wound at worst. Someone who’s not my size, we could be talking broken bones.

Honestly, what’s the point? I know metal music stirs up some aggression. This is one of the many reasons I love bands like Mastodon – they are cathartic. You go to a metal show, you scream and yell and headbang and have a great time. But for the life of me I don’t see what compels a person to run full force into someone else. I just want to see a badass rock show and enjoy the music. I didn’t sign up for the idiot’s version of Fight Club.

(Oh, and a note to some of the mongoloids out there … it’s called soap. It is your friend. If I have to beat off a bunch of jackasses just so I can see Brent Hinds rip off an amazing guitar solo, I at least don’t want to have that human dumpster smell to deal with as well.)

Granted, if I were the Rock God, I would change a lot of things. Like, say a three beer maximum. I see nothing wrong with that, though I know others would disagree. I’ll say it right now, though – those people are morons. Drunk people ruin shows for others, then forget what even went on because they were fucking drunk. Oh, and beers at most shows are expensive as hell. You buy three and you’re out $30 at most places. Go to a big concert and it’s like you have to take out a second mortgage to get drunk. So new rule – if you’re not in the band, the third beer is it. Case closed.

Sorry, tangent.

Maybe I’m in the minority here. I had a sneaking suspicion of this while standing in line. That’s when I noticed I was one of the few people not totally clad in black, tatted up from head to toe and/or pierced in every orifice visible. Hearing conversations around me sealed the deal – I knew some idiotic jackassery would be afoot. But it calls into question a conundrum I’ve been constantly dealing with – can you love a band but totally abhor their fans?

I love heavy bands like Mastodon and Tool. For both I can tell you each member’s name, what equipment they use, etc. But a lot of their fans should be drug out into the street, shot in the kneecaps and then fed to a pack of wild pigs. And you can clearly tell the ones I’m talking about. Just go to a show and they overwhelm you. Be it their monosyllabic speech patterns (used when grunting won’t suffice), their overwhelming aroma of alcohol and shame, and/or any article of clothing that is mesh or spiked, you can spot them from a mile away. Those that miss the intelligence and skill that good bands pour into their music, instead saying “Heavy music. Me like. Makes me want hit people hard.”

While my imagined fate for them seems cruel, I seriously think we would be doing them a favor. A lifetime of Saturday nights killing brain cells by drinking paint thinner doesn’t sound fun. And, to quote Bill Hicks, we wouldn’t be losing a cancer cure. Maybe a few gas station attendants. Though with the economy as bad as it is, I don’t know how many customers we’d want to deprive Hot Topic of.

(Again, conflicted feelings – Hot Topic sells shirts for bands I like. Granted, the bands I like – ie good bands – and their merchandise take up about one percent of the retail space, but still, you take what you can get. However, do I really want to be someone who shops at Hot Topic?)

Sigh. Whatever. I know, a lot of this makes me sound like I’m an asshole. Well guess what, I’m an asshole. But I’m an asshole that leaves fun things on his blog. Things such as a link to Wilco’s new album, which they are streaming online.

Oh, and this bit o’ hilarity.

You’re welcome.


~ by J on May 15, 2009.

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