Jumping Darkness Parade



jdp-01Yesterday I had an experience that actually gave me some hope for the metal.

After some all out insanity caused by the arctic blast that came all over this country’s face I actually made it out to a show last night. Me going to a show isn’t what gave me hope by the way. I’ll get to that. Even though I don’t go to many shows anymore (try giving a shit about shows when you are involved with three digits worth of them every year), I went last night because Cynic were playing and I was basically helping them make sure that the first week of their tour wasn’t absolutely jacked for them.

What I mean by that is just that they got completely fucked on the travel due to weather. Three of them got stranded in LA, three of them got stranded in Chicago, their merch was never delivered, etc. See, it snows once a year in Atlanta and when it does this city goes to total shit.  Roads shut down, the airport shuts down, emergency services get stretched to the limit, businesses shut down, it straight goes to hell.  This place is not equipped to handle any sort of freezing winter weather incidents. Originally the idea was that Cynic would arrive on Friday and I would pick them up and we’d hang out a bit then they’d play a show on Saturday.

It turned into their management calling me Friday afternoon in the middle of a very professional freakout and telling me that on top of nobody knowing when the band was going to arrive into Atlanta, if at all, that UPS suspended all shipments that day and could I please go to the UPS headquarters and pick up 14 boxes of merch or they will not have any merch for who knows how many days into the tour. And by the way, the dudes are landing at midnight maybe, and by the way more of the dudes are landing tomorrow at noon possibly. None of this would be a big deal at all if the Atlanta roadways weren’t completely covered with ice. I mean sheets of ice. It’s not fun. I almost wrecked a few times. At one point the DAATH van did a 360 on ice and I promise I was going 10 mph.

When I finally made it to UPS to pick up their merch on Friday night it was absolute pandemonium. Imagine being in a tiny trailer with about sixty angry people all fuming about how their important package never made it. Wedding rings, payroll checks, shit people needed for presentations were all missing. There were three employees handling EVERYTHING. I had to wait 3 hours for them to locate my boxes and then nobody helped me. So I carried them all from their back loading bay to my vehicle in 18-degree weather. Not complaining, just saying. It was brutal.

So enough about that, you get the point that the universe was not smiling kindly on this tour getting off to a proper start. We fucked the universe in the face though. Everything got started without a hitch, everything delivered to its proper place, and we even got time to chill. So that was great, but what was it that gave me hope?

The show was fucking packed. I haven’t seen the Masquerade (1200 capacity metal venue in Atlanta) that packed since Lamb of God / Opeth a few years back. It was packed for bands that actually play music and have real musicians. These are not neck tattoo trendy bands. No product posing as music here. Real music by real musicians to a packed house. Now, I will admit, I don’t own anything by any of the bands on the bill besides Cynic, but that’s not important. I still appreciate what every band on that bill does [Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend and Scale the Summit. -Ed.]. The more I go on the more I appreciate and respect bands that play real music, whether or not I listen to them.

How do I define “real music” or “real musicians”? Well that’s one of those shady gray areas because it’s all subjective, BUT I will attempt to at least describe where I’m coming from. You guys know I’m in a band, some of you know that I produce bands, and I’m sure you would all assume that I know many people in bands. Being that music is the most important thing in my life and talking about music tends to be something that happens a lot. I like to hear where bands pull their writing from. What they’re intending. I just like to know where their shit is coming from. I’ve always seen writing as my strong suit and so how I can get better at it is always on my mind. I’m always asking people about this or paying attention when they talk about it.

Unfortunately I’m disappointed all the time by bands. Most people in bands completely underestimate the audience. They think that they need to dumb down their sound to make is suitable for mass consumption. Somewhere along the line somebody told them that you need to cater to the audience and they bought it. Maybe it was a parent, maybe it was someone at a label, maybe it was a guitar teacher, who knows. Somewhere somehow people got the impression that you need to deliver musical fast food as your only option for any sort of success in music. Seems like people forget that this is metal, not pop or mainstream radio rock. If what I saw last night is any indicator, it seems to me like the opposite is true. You can do whatever you want in music, just be great and honest with it and at it, and the audience will come. True artistry wins. I think that the new Mastodon record being referred to as such a Big Deal is also evidence of this. I’m hoping this means that we’re transitioning into an era in metal where bands that have real, challenging, fearless music to offer are taking the cake.

Side note – somebody at that show went to a prominent deathcore show three weeks back at the same venue and it was only 1/3rd full.


Add some brains to your brawn by listening to Daath on MySpace.

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