Being stuck in quarantine has been an adventure allowing me to explore more music. While exploring music I was remembering all the shows I went to last year. I saw somewhere around 42+ bands in a year. I wanted to share some of my experiences of these shows with you guys!
Most of the shows I went to were metal at The historic El Rey theatre, Sunshine Theatre, and Isleta Amphitheater. While shows like Slipknot, Iron Maiden, and other huge performances come to Isleta I really love small venues because you get so close to the bands and the crowd is packed into this "tiny" room with no where to move! The first story is coming from the Black Label Society concert. The show opened up with a band from New Zealand called Alien Weaponry, amazing trash metal even better live! After waiting in line for a while you walk in the front doors on either side there is a set of stairs that go up to the bathrooms and the balcony where adults can sit, drink and enjoy the show with no mosh pits, but that is not the area you wanna go to. On the left side there is a doorway that opens to a ramp that walks by all the band merch. There is a plexiglass wall on your right as you walk down to the pit. If you want merch this is the time to get it because after the shows everyone has already bought merch for the most part. When you reach the bottom of the ramp you see an open concrete floor. The stage is about 50-60 feet in front of you, open space for 150 to your right and another 15 feet to your left. This space is not that big, compared to Isleta where you can fit 15,00 people. As everyone starts to fill in the like 10 feet turns to 5 feet then slowly it becomes just a few inches between you and someone in direction. Now typically i do not believe most would enjoy standing in close proximity with a few hundred strangers but this is the beginning and everyone is just waiting for the show to start. You see all types of people. The tall guy that no one can see around, the veterans of metal shows in their war jackets showing off all the shows they have gone too, and the chill old dude. These are just a few examples. Then we just wait sometimes singing to the music playing that stage crews are playing but then the projector screen showing ads begins to ascend into the ceiling, the lights start to dim and the crowd comes to life! Make sure you got your ear protection in!
At this concert I was in the middle on the edge of the mosh pit. The crowd in front of me opens up violently creating a circle as people start slamming into each other. Being on the edge of the pit I was helping push people back into the pit or helping those who up that have fallen. As the Black Dahlia Murder showers the crowd in Metal riffs and screams the mosh pit picks up pace. Typically I am one of the bigger people but I see this one guy. He stands about 6’4 he is dressed in a Hawaii floral shirt and Khaki shorts, also he is not a small dude. Being on the wall of the pit the moshers will slam into you as they run around the circle. I see the man in the Hawaii short coming around and he slams into me. I get thrown back a couple feet and almost off my feet. The people behind me push me back into the pit after regaining their footing. This is an amazing experience! As the pit continues people fall down the moshers stop pick them up make sure they are ok then continue like nothing happened. At one point I lose sight of the man in the Hawaiian shirt. As I look to my left I see him recoiled back in a group of his friends as he prepares to launch himself into the mosh pit! 3,2,1 and he comes barreling into the ready crowd who braces them self and then push him into the circle pit.. This was probably one of my favorite mosh pits I have been in!
Another amazing concert experience I had was when I went to see Atreyu, Memphis May Fire, Ice Nine Kills, and Sleep Signals. I knew Atryeu and Memphis May Fire but I had never heard of the rest of the bands. This I have found is one of the best ways to be introduced to a band. Sleep Signals put on a fantastic show and I got signatures from the whole band! Another reason I love small venues is that the bands are right there. They and as if they are not the headliner typically one of the members stand at the merch booth as a meet and greet. This is one of my favorite concert experiences because of the band Ice Nine Kills. Again I have never heard anything about this band. The room is packed and with the headliner not showing up because of bus trouble these bands have a great following. However, all I know is that there is a red balloon tied to a mic, so I'm excited to see what happens. The venue goes dark and we hear a recording saying “getting ready for bed at a normal time is…” as a man walks out dressed like Georgie from IT starts playing guitar. The drummer comes out dressed as a zombie, then the bassist dressed as Jigsaw and finally the lead singer dressed as Freddy Krueger! It is a slow start but the song picks up. At the chorus I the energy changes as everyone in the crowd gets ready as the instruments silence and you feel the the floor lift up as the crowd simultaneously jumps and lands on the beat! The feeling of that experience is so incredible and indescribable!
Another incredible experience was seeing Shinedown at Isleta Amphitheater. I was standing in the lawn enjoying the concert the sun had set. Brent Smith, the lead singer, starts talking as the band sets up for the next song and how he wanted to show us some magic. As the song starts the crowd brings out their phones to illuminate the entire stadium! I'm standing in a group of about 12,000 people singing. As the song continues the stadium lights are turned off showing the power of all of us standing together. This experience is one that is full of wonder and impossible to describe in words. It was amazing!
I can not wait to go to another concert soon. Hope you enjoyed reading about a few of my concert experiences.
Be Safe Be Happy,