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LET'S GET A CIRCLE PIT IN HEEEEEEEEEEEERE

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by , 8th February 2014 at 08:13 PM (203 Views)
So a couple days ago I went to my first concert (unless you count the Blue Man Group show I went to a couple years ago, which I wouldn't, as cool as it was). The funny part is that I'm not really a fan of any of the bands I saw. You see, this was a show featuring four "gayass fukin faget metal" bands (the proper term being metal-core) that teen-agers love to either obsess over or attempt to cast into the deepest pits of hell with their Internet posts. I personally do not fancy this style of heavy metal for the most part, because as the years passed from the time in the '90s when bands like Hatebreed and Converge invented the subgenre as a fusion between heavy metal and hard-core punk, bands to come morphed into something that has pretty much abandoned the DIY aesthetic that is so essential to any punk recording: bands like Bring Me the Horizon and Of Mice & Men have very high production values, and this isn't necessarily a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I'm an advocate of any and all music recording to be as simple as possible, and the typical metal-core recording post-turn-of-the-millenium, as well as pretty much all styles of music popular with the kids these days, are the antithesis of "simple production values". Listen to their studio recordings and you'll be met with unrealistic mixing, vocals mixed so high that you hear the hoarseness in their throats, quiet passages that are taken from neither punk nor metal, and compressors all over the damn place making the music sound like there's just no such damn thing as dynamics.

So isn't it funny that the two head-lining acts of the show I went to were the exact same bands I named earlier? The main event was Bring Me the Horizon, with special guests in the form of Of Mice & Men (I constructed that sentence specifically to illustrate how awkward it is to put the names of these bands into a normal conversation. "Mice & Men" would've been a really cool name, guys, don't just copy the title of the Steinbeck novella verbatim). The opening acts were Letlive and Issues. You see, my brother is on the pro side of this current pop-cultural obsession with metal-core, and hey, if he's going to a concert then I might as well do the same, right? So I tagged along.

I didn't really know what to expect out of these bands in a live context. I was willing to appreciate the bands for their musicianship, it's just mostly the over-produced, artificial- and unrealistic-sounding studio aesthetic that turns me off to the music. (That, and their tendency to fart around on the low E string way too much.) Nevertheless, I knew they were probably going to mic the living crap out of the drums, turn the bass extremely high in the mix, and other such things, so I wasn't getting my hopes up. I was mainly just trying to go into the show with a neutral attitude.

Letlive started off the show very unceremoniously. Four beats on the drum-sticks and then BUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWBUDUDUDUDUDUDU DUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDUDU, etc., etc.. The first thing I noticed was how incredibly loud the show was. The bass drums made my clothes vibrate and I couldn't distinguish between the guitars and the basses. A note for all of you readers who plan on going to a heavy metal show someday: bring ear plugs.

Next up was Issues, who did that whole "we're a metal band but we also have a DJ" thing. At this point I noticed that all the bands were doing this funny thing: they would make shout-outs to all the other bands who were playing that night, followed by a drum roll for each one. I liked that. Anyway, after Issues did their thing, Of Mice & Men came up onto stage. If I thought the screaming fan-girls were loud before, I was one-upped at this point. The audience became one massive wall of feminine shrieking.

Another aspect of this show: the demographics. I was expecting a bunch of teen-aged girls, and I wasn't disappointed (for lack of a less weird-sounding term) in that department, as their high-register screams constantly reminded me. However, there were plenty of males there, too, and every once in a while they were in their 20s and sported beards, looking more like somebody who would fall into the target demographic of the "Hatebreed/Converge" side of metal-core as opposed to the "Of Mice & Men/Bring Me the Horizon" side of it. Anyway, I wasn't complaining. That way I looked a little less out-of-place with my flannel and baggy jeans in a sea of halter tops and skinny jeans so skinny that the pockets were basically unusable.

Back to the acts now. Finally, Bring Me the Horizon walked on stage and the audience screamed louder than they had all that night. Or, more accurately, they screamed once the frontman Oliver Sykes walked on stage. Who needs a drummer, right?

Although there were plenty of things going on in the lighting department before Bring Me the Horizon showed up, the visual aspect of the show didn't really ramp up until they played. Once the first song was done building up, the drums kicked in, the audience started bouncing, and confetti shot everywhere. I wasn't expecting that last part, it was pretty neat. (I caught some of it and gave it to my friends in the following days.) Now, I've only heard a couple of songs from any of the bands that I saw that night (the audience basically knew every word to every song), so I was surprised at how much I liked Bring Me the Horizon. Don't get me wrong, metal-core (other than the aforementioned "Hatebreed/Converge" side of it) still isn't my cup of tea for the most part, but when they got away from the over-production that they're prone to in the studio, I could get behind it. Live, even though it was ear-splittingly loud, the vocals were less overwhelming so I could actually appreciate their endurance and timbre, and all the little echoey electronic flourishes were gone (they actually had a member of the band up there playing key-boards and such live, which makes it fine in my book). Bring Me the Horizon, specifically, were more slow-paced than the other bands, and anybody who's familiar with my taste in heavy metal can confirm how slow-paced it is. Plus, the show was laced with feed-back, and anybody who's familiar with my taste in heavy metal can confirm that feed-back is like an angel's voice to me.

Now, metal-core is a mixture of heavy metal and hard-core punk. All of this "moshing" and "slam dancing" business that metal-heads worship so much was originated at hard-core punk shows. The frontman of one of the bands, I forget which, even told the audience to make a circle pit "if punk is still alive in Florida". (They did.) The way I'm saying this might sound like I'm about to make condescending remarks about the moshing aspect of the show, which I'm not. There's an etiquette to moshing. If someone falls down, you stop, help them up, see if they're okay, and carry on. That's all and good in my book. What I am going to address, however, is those pretentious douche-bag "metal-heads" again. They can type in all-caps all they want saying "METALCORE MOSH PITS ARE SO LAME, WHERE'S THE BLOOD AND DANGER TO HUMAN WELL-BEING", but any show that features moshing is pretty "hard-core \m/" as far as I'm concerned. News flash: it's a pretty energetic activity, moshing, and the fact that people break such a sweat and collect bruises at a show meant simply to give them music to listen to, that's reason enough to stick that stamp on the show in question. And if people don't get their ear-rings torn out (some did), then that's even better the way I see it. Long story short, it was a pretty violent show. Another note to you guys planning to go to a show like this: you will be touched in every part of your body by every part of everyone else's body. Elbows met heads, heads met shoulders, shoulders met backs, backs met backsides, and hands met backsides (*ahem*). Just be prepared.

Another thing I want to address is how expensive the water was. Okay, so picture this: a gazillion sweaty people jumping up and down for hours. What's gonna happen? People are gonna get dehydrated, right? So what did they charge for a bottle of water here? 5 fucking dollars. That is inexcusably god-damn shameful. My brother brought $60 to the concert to buy stuff and ended up spending most of it on two girls who were having heat-stroke. Shame on you, venue. 5 dollars for something that could potentially save somebody a trip to the hospital is fucking ridiculous. (I broke up quite a sweat, myself, but fortunately I never had to blow my own money just to remain conscious.)

I want to end this on a more positive note, but think I've gone on for long enough as it is. I get long-winded sometimes, sorry. This is my first concert, I felt the need to commemorate it. Every act was solid for their own reasons and I'm glad I went. I guess I could end it with a video that's not mine. Stay metal, I guess? Jack out!

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