The Metal Militia

It was Headbanger Heaven at our local watering hole last night. Metal music isn’t really my thing, but I knew a few of the youngsters performing so I figured I had to check them out. Four bands rocked the house for a few hours and I managed to sit at the bar and nurse a few brews while my senses were assaulted. Saw several friends, mostly former students, and got to see a real-live albeit miniature mosh pit. It’s been thirty-plus years since I was anywhere near a mosh pit and those were at punk shows in the Bay Area when I was a college kid. My ears are still ringing but that’s a common complaint for me, they ring most of the damn time. I should have brought ear plugs.

I don’t really like the throat cancer-growling that passes for vocals with these fellows but I do have to say they are mostly strong musicians and the guitarists could lay down some licks. The booming double-kick bass drumming seems to define the genre and you could feel those vibrations deep in the viscera. Speaking of genre, I don’t know if it’s hardcore, thrash, speed metal or what-have-you, I couldn’t tell the difference but I’m sure the lads would have told me if I’d asked.

What I liked the most was not the music so much, even though two of the bands were noticeably good, but the passionate fan base. People came out ready to party and have fun. Pints and shots, mostly Bud Light and tequila, flew across the bar and the crowd got good and drunk and hollered every time a singer dropped the f-bomb, which was a lot. The mood was upbeat and cheerful despite what seems to me somber and angry music. And getting intoxicated people all fired up seems like a good way to have bad things happen. I left at the end of the show so I can’t say if anything bad happened at the end of the night, but it was all good when I was there. Everyone was too busy enjoying themselves and cheering on their boys to have a problem. The headliner act is local and last night was the first date on their inaugural tour. The folks running the bar did a great job slaking the thirst of the army of metal-heads and the event went smoothly as the bands swapped out quickly and got to playing straight away.

I won’t be switching to black leather and boots any time soon. And I won’t speculate on the sociology of metal. People like it, I can tell you that. The performers were all serious about their craft and made the most of their stage time, giving it their all. Like I said it ain’t really my thing but I needed a dose of something new and original and it suited me just fine.