GOD FORBID SLAUGHTER SAYREVILLE
Filming for an upcoming DVD this past Sunday at the Starland Ballroom, the evening initially looked pretty grim for God Forbid, the perpetual underdogs of the American New Wave. Even with every local band within a fifty mile radius opening the show (doors were at 3 pm for a bill featuring a staggering eleven bands total, at least six of whom no one outside the tri-state area has ever heard of), the crowd seemed to consist solely of about a hundred hardcore brats barely old enough to have pubes, let alone drink. You know the type: they wear their baseball caps sideways (yeah, ’cause that’s still in style), gym shorts, and do some weird crunking-karate chopping hybrid in the pit. “I can see the headline now,” I joked to Vince. “GOD FORBID PLAYS SAYREVILLE HIGH JUNIOR PROM.”
And then the lights dimmed, and God Forbid took the stage and made me eat my words.
I don’t know where the hell the extra couple of hundred hardcore kids came from, but they flooded the floor the moment God Forbid’s intro music (not Hulk Hogan’s theme song “Real American,” but an equally metaphoric track from John William’s score of for the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace), and instantly made one thing clear- they were here to blow the roof off of the Starland, all in the name of God Forbid. Horns in the air, fists pumping, often finishing entire choruses for vocalist Byron Davis- these kids may personify the worst metal fandom currently has to offer, but, by God Forbid, they were here to rock.
There isn’t much to say about the actual show; GF brought it, like they’ve been bringing it on the road for the past year, playing a set not dissimilar from the one they did at B.B. King’s last month (the visceral “Soul Engraved” was conspicuously absent, but it didn’t dampen the evening’s festivities any). Decked out in a ThunderCats jersey like the heavy metal superhero he is, Davis was as maniacal a frontman as ever, and the dual-shredding of the Coyle brothers remains mesmerizing no matter how times you’ve already seen this band (for the record, this was my fourth time since last April, including the earth-shattering set at last summer’s Download Festival which now serves as the basis for the band’s “Chains of Humanity” video.). If the crane camera that kept knocking me in the back of the head is any indication, the eventual DVD release will more than do justice to what this band is capable of live.
Allow me, then, to say this: say what you will about these 15 year olds I keep seeing at the concerts- at least they’re out listening to real music. When I was their age, bands like God Forbid were virtually absent from the metal scene; the thought of seeing 15 year old girls crowd surf during a set by Goatwhore (as they did at the Starland that evening) was pretty much unthinkable. Even though half these kids are meatheads from the Heavy Metal Parking Lot set, as I watched them go ballistic, I felt a tinge of jealousy: why did I have to be born during a time when the best metal show available to me was sitting in the 800th row at a Tool arena show? The best bands of the mid to late 90s- Pantera, NIN, Marilyn Manson, the aforementioned Tool- didn’t play joints like the Starland, and the bands that did were bullshit nu-metal and alt rock acts I didn’t (and still don’t) give a fuck about. One of these blessed wee ones probably went out back afterwards and lost his or her virginity in the backseat of a car while Lamb of God or maybe Hatebreed blasted over the radio; one of these little shits is probably the future of metal.
God Forbid bless the children.