Editorials

Will People Please Shut Up About the “Fake Amps on Stage” Debate?

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A couple of weeks ago there was a bit of Internet hubbub when a photo was released showing that Black Veil Brides used fake amp cabinets as part of their stage show. Though it’s no secret we loathe Black Veil Brides, we didn’t comment on the incident because it didn’t seem like a big deal; rock bands have been doing this for pretty much as long as there have been rock bands. You really think all these amps are plugged in? Come on, brah.

Now a Texas radio station writer has utilized her on-stage access to snap a photo of Machine Head’s live rig on the current Rockstar Mayhem Tour, and guess what, they use cabinets that aren’t plugged in too (labeled in green tape with “dummy” scribbled on them in the photo).

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The photos prompted Machine Head (presumably Robb Flynn) to issue a response which you can read here, but the tl;dr version is “Big deal, bands have been doing this forever. We still play our instruments.” Which, duh, is true. FWIW I think Flynn is overreacting seeing as the point of the radio station’s article was to reiterate that it’s not a big deal, not shit on Machine Head for it.

And of course there was this photo of the back side of Immortal’s stage show that made the rounds a few years back:

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Bands mic their amplifiers and run them through the house PA for a bigger, more level mix, meaning you really only need to mic one or two of them to get a full sound; the rest just enhance the visual appearance of the stage show. Shit, some bands don’t use amplifier cabinets at all these days (and yes, they still play their instruments).

So can we please stop talking about this as if it’s an important issue? Fake cabs can enhance the stage show and makes it look even more badass. Metal is about nothing if not big and stupid stage shows. It’s not as if bands directly control the lights that flash and make them look awesome, or as if their instruments aren’t being EQed and manipulated by a sound guy, or if they do their grocery shopping dressed in corpse paint… it’s all part of it. And that’s what we love about it.

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