As some of you may know, I’m someone who LOVES going to gigs, getting to see, as well as be a part of the awesome atmosphere that bands produce at their live shows.
What better way to end the year than to recap on my top 10 best gig memories from 2009:
10 – The Entire Fall Concert Season:
This year’s fall tour schedule was amazing. Every band, from All That Remains to Rob Zombie, was on the road. Unfortunately there were so many shows that I couldn’t make it to all of them. The ones I did make it to where unfuckingbelievable though. A few of the supporting acts weren’t so great but the overall experience at the end of the night made it all worth being there. It has been quite awhile since I have seen so many tours kick this much ass all at the same time. Now I can only hope that it continues on into 2010.
9 – Cannibal Corpse headbanging:
Due to the scorching heat at Mayhem Fest this past summer I missed out on catching Cannibal Corpse that day. Luckily for me they came back around and I was able to finally see their show. I am not a Cannibal Corpse diehard fanatic by any means, but I do respect a band that has been doing what they have been doing for as long as they have. The highlight of the show was witnessing Corpsegrinder’s brutal headbanging. The dude has a tree trunk for a neck and his head rotates like a fucking helicopter trying to take off. I am convinced that if some dumbass roadie mistakenly got in the way he would be killed instantly.
8 – Alestorm Takes Over Jaxx:
For those of you who don’t know who Alestorm is, they are a Scottish Pirate Metal band and you better see them live if you ever get the chance. Alestorm wasn’t even the headlining act and yet they pulled the largest crowd that night. It was a sea of fists pumping surrounded by a line of people that formed a half-circle from one side of the stage to the other, all swaying with their arms around the person next to them. With Alestorm doing their thing, the crowd was jumping, swaying, screaming and just being as rowdy as could be. The fact that Jaxx has all wood floors with elevated bar areas kind of made it feel like you were on an actual fucking pirate ship.
7 – Vreid Proves Me Wrong:
I am not a huge death metal fan but that is slowly changing mostly due to likes of bands such as Vreid. They were a supporting act so I figured I would go sit through some killer drums and guitars and deal with the rest of the rubbish that came along with it. Thirty seconds into the first song I received one fuck of an attitude adjustment. It started in my feet then worked its way upward and before I knew it I was headbanging and throwing up the horns. Vreid have this rockabilly feel mixed with thrash and covered in lyrics about Norway kicking Germany’s ass in WWII. It was so amazing to witness their live show and I am consider myself one of the fortunate few who have ever seen Vreid play on US soil.
6 – Eluveitie Redefines “Metal Show”:
I knew Eluveitie was going to be an amazing band to see live. I just didn’t realize how fucking earth shatteringly amazing it was really going to be. Eight people on a stage and besides the usual instruments they have bagpipes, flutes, and a hurdy gurdy. Yes, a hurdy fucking gurdy and it was just as hardcore as anything I have ever seen at a metal show. You felt like you were running into battle with fists flying one minute and then rocking out to a wicked ass flute solo the next. It was like nothing I had ever witnessed before and don’t think I ever will again. Swiss Folk Metal is some of the most bad ass music I have ever experienced.
5 – Bekah got on the bus:
It is easy to see how much I enjoyed seeing Heathenfest so when I saw someone on Twitter was bummed out that they were missing Vreid in Seattle that night and might not have the chance to do so for a long time it sort of chiseled a crack in my cold icy heart. I knew how much fun that show was going to be and bad it would have sucked to be in their shoes. So I contacted her and wired her the money to get into the show that night. The next thing we would hear from her was that she had an hour to get to work and just got off the tour bus. It turns out that our little metalhead was able to hang out with bands after the show and enjoyed a quick bite to eat before heading off to her 9-5 without any sleep. This, my friends is what it is all about.
4 – Taking Dawn Blowing Me Away:
The reason Taking Dawn is this high on the list is for several reasons. For starters these guys don’t fuck around. They take their thirty minutes on stage and grab the crowd by the balls and make them beg for more. For me they are a golden needle in the haystack of shit that is passed off as being music today. Taking Dawn has this edge to their music that gets you addicted to it and you keep wanting more. No matter how many times you hear their three song EP you keep on playing it and loving every second of it. For the past several years I had lost hope in the world of rock but Taking Dawn has relit that fire and I can’t wait to see what happens as these guys blow up the music scene.
3 – Meeting Hatebreed:
Finding out that Hatebreed was doing an in store signing before their show in Baltimore was like telling a three-year old the Santa and the Easter Bunny both just left shit tons of stuff for them at home. As soon as I found out about the signing I did the responsible thing and put in for the day off work. With all of the millions of Hatebreed fans out there I figured there would be a decent wait so I wanted to get there early. As fate would have it, less than ten of us showed up and since nobody was there it allowed us to actually have some face time and take several photos with the band. It was a real once in a lifetime moment that I won’t ever forget.
2 – Slayer Fucking Drilling My Fucking Skull:
I have been to many shows and have seen lots of amazing stuff in almost two decades of going to concerts. There is nothing like experiencing the sound waves pounding on your chest. No show has ever done what Slayer did to me this past summer. Every little double-tap on the bass drum or pluck of bass string was like being punched in the face. Throw in the speed and intensity that is Slayer and you get one of the most brutal onslaughts of the human body by nothing more than sound. My vision was blurred and my sinuses shook so violently that someone punched me in the nose. All I could do was smile a wicked grin as I continued to rock out and enjoy one of the best fucking shows I have ever witnessed.
1 – Seeing Hatebreed Live:
There is a little voice that we have developed through evolution that tells us that being civilized is the way to be. When you see Hatebreed live that little voice gets bound with duct tape and beaten like a fucking piÃƒÂ±ata. There is no standing around to listen to the music. You are pumping your fist and raging so hard that anyone who isn’t following suit gets fucked up in the process. It is the most aggressive swarm of people exorcising demons you will ever witness. The raw chaotic mass of fists, hair, and sweat is just as violent every brutal note being played on the stage. This isn’t just a crowd at a concert, it is fucking all out riot and everyone wants to be a part of it. Being a part of such organized mayhem was just the release I was looking for. I left that night with no voice, battered arms and legs and a bruised rib and it was one of the best times I have ever had.
There is nothing quite better than seeing a show that just makes you smile. Thats when you know you’re at a great show. I saw three shows that did that for me this year:
Kylesa in a small bar in Kingston, loved the two-drummer set up and the band just slayed us with their non-stop barrage of riffery.
Toxic Holocaust at a small house show. They were so fucking tight and relentless and never let up. I love being able to stand 2 feet from the band and they’re having as much fun as you are and feeding off of each other.
Buried Inside played at the same small house and were brilliant. Technical juggernaut of a band, that has to be seen live to appreciate it. So good.