QUESTION OF THE WEEK: THE POST-RANDYGATE FUTURE OF METAL CONCERTS?
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It’s sucky and ironic that a quintessentially loud, successful American like Randy Blythe, vocalist of Lamb Of God, just spent his home country’s birthday celebration behind bars in Prague on some flimsy bullshit. It’s fucked up srs. Did authorities really rate this case’s strength as such that a tour could be derailed, money forfeited, legal burdens assigned recklessly, prohibitive bails set, and a rock n’ roll entertainer detained a world away from family and friends? They defend their dead by railroading his favorite musicians? Fucking really?! Ugh we ponder the Blythe horror’s implications in today’s MetalSucks Question Of The Week, a weekly survey of our staff on a recent hot-button issue that’s (really) rocking our metal planet.
Fearless. Controversial. Half-baked. We give it to you straight every Friday afternoon. Okay not that straight. Here’s this week’s question:
Inspired by the bizarre ongoing manslaughter case in the Czech Republic against an American heavy metal singer, we asked our staff the following:
What changes to the metal concert environment do you foresee in the aftermath of the poorly considered charges against Randy Blythe?
Wat u think? The MS staff’s expert answers after the jump!
Live performance has survived a lot of tragedy: crushing deaths, the Woodstock ’99 bropocalypse, last year’s rash of stage collapses — all at shows far less heavy than Lamb of God’s (unless Sugarland is heavy now that there’s a body count). So, at worst, this will end with a lingering wariness that will eventually dissipate. Even now it has resulted in no cancellations or declines in booking. Remember: The vast, vast majority of metal shows go smoothly and basically none involve literal deaths; more importantly, metal shows generate money via a slavish audience. Though I might be underestimating, since bias against metal is big as ever. (Hey, Rick Santorum was a viable presidential candidate until six months ago.) But I bet this will pass pretty unspectacularly. Expect a little hand-wringing, then everything will return to the usual. The only one facing real consequences in this is Randy Blythe.
JUSTIN M. NORTON
None whatsoever. Most stage diving and overly aggressive moshing have been snuffed by the threat of litigation and overzealous club owners/bouncers. These days, moshing consists of pasty overweight kids running into each other in slow motion. And artists should be entirely absolved if some shitbag causes problems while they play and gets tossed off their stage. Artists have every right to protect themselves and their stuff — and that includes tossing people. I’m pretty sure Randy Blythe wouldn’t have been charged in the U.S. where you are allowed to protect yourself within reason.
What started as a weird flap is now a nightmare, a foreign-language torture film with Kafka-esque bureaucracy and Polanski’s disregard for reason. It’s entered a phase of feet-dragging authorities, swiftly debunked yet persistently cited eyewitness statements, and one lonely guy left pondering his role in the death of an admirer. The rest of us, meanwhile, are reviewing years of performances on stages and dives from them, each the potential start of a prison stay or hospital death. And there’s no solace in precedents cuz this misfortune doesn’t compare to past concert fatalities: This time a goddamn performer is in jail and facing more jail! In goddamn Eastern Europe! On the strength of nearly no goddamn evidence! lol So, yes there will be a chilling effect, as band guys will be quicker to dodge concertgoers and slower to depart reality for The Jam Zone. Uncontrolled onstage encounters will be soundtracked by a chorus of gasps, exhalations, and the sound of sweaty buttholes tightening in concern. Spectators will miss whole songs while vigilantly assembling into human nets for airborne teens. What a bummer.
At least in America, not much will change. The unjust nature of Randy Blythe’s imprisonment has brought metalheads together more than anything over the last few years. Very few people fault Randy in this situation; almost everyone seems to be backing him. This is not a case of a crazed fan’s attack on a musician like Dimebag; it is a case of abysmal legal proceedings in the Czech Republic, ones caused by the actions and resulting death of a fan who wasn’t following the rules in the first place. So this will have little bearing on the metal concert environment, and neither artists nor fans need to be worried for their safety. Venue security may increase, either temporarily or permanently, but musical performances won’t be greatly affected. In fact, the only thing this might do is piss off the fans. At this point, most of us are just hoping for Randy to be sprung from prison and to come home safe; I know that I’m going to the first Lamb of God show I can once he’s freed.
So, do u agree that the effects of Randy Blythe’s detention in Prague will not reach most metal fans? Can we keep the number of lives that this tragedy has fucked up in the single digits? At your next metal show, do u plan to stage dive while wiping your ass with a photo of the public prosecutor for Prague’s eighth district?