|George Clarke of Deafheaven|
I nearly forgot that I had said agreed to go when I was told that the big day had arrived. Before the show, we went to a burger place in the neighborhood that along with the most delicious burgers made on earth, heavy metal was served up on all of the television monitors in the place. Wearing his Lamb of God t-shirt, Rob, my brother-in-law, chatted with all of the servers in the place about their shared affection for loud, screaming music. He was in heaven.
The first band onstage was Deafheaven. The music was crap. George Clarke, the lead singer, screeched sounds into his mic that I could only ever imagine to be lyrics. My ears did everything it could to kick the sound out. But ... Mr. Clarke was wildly sexy. I was mesmerized. He did not bang his head as much as what I saw later; rather, he posed with his foot up on the speaker in his tight, black ankle pants. When he stood straight, he conducted the music in an elegantly poised, deliberate motion. He was beautiful to watch, but so horrible to listen to. I wonder what his speaking voice sounds like? I didn't get any sense of it from the screams that emitted from his mouth. And his other peculiar habit was a bit offsetting ... he spit waterfalls of fluid from his mouth. I don't know if he had spit cups or just hocked it up on the floor. It was hard to tell. It was gross, but he was gorgeous.
The next band up was Antrhrax. Now, I had heard of them. As soon as they came up on the stage, the crowd swelled. It dug a hole into the middle of the floor, and I threw my arms around my tiny, little sister to hold on for dear life as the metal heads moshed-out. Rob lunged in as we tried to stay close enough to watch the circus, but far enough away to avoid full frontal take-down. Anthrax wasn't bad. The lead singer, Joey Belladonna, has a powerful voice, and I could understand actual words that he sang. The guitar player, Scott Ian, was a character to watch, and unlike Deadheaven's guitarists, he did more than just slash his guitar. The pit was raucous throughout. Dudes threw their shirts into the air and skipped violently 'round and 'round in the pool. Sentinels, who we stood right behind, stood guard around the circumference of it all. One tall man came up behind me, grabbed me by the shoulders, and whispered to me, 'be careful.' For real.
When Anthrax finished their set, I had had enough. I got the metal experience. I was good to go. Naturally, Rob was no where to be found. We had predetermined a meet point if we did in fact get separated. It looked like we were in it to the end. Fortunately, the venue had a balcony and seats. I convinced my sister that we could hang out there and watch the action without mortal threat to our bodies or sanity. Seated, I really got a chance to check out the audience. It was a rough crowd to be sure. I was surprised at the number of old dudes. One guy that we had met before we lost Rob was one of these older guys who told us that he attends up to 40 metal shows a year. Say what? Another part of the crowd were hipsters. They were vaping week, which I had never seen before. Huge plumes of vaporized marijuana rose their throats to look like cloud-colored hot air balloons floating over the crowd. And the brothers! Who knew?! Girls were represented at the concert, but I will tell you this, there wasn't any line in the bathroom at any time, so you know that there weren't many of them in attendance. So what is this attraction to ... nonsense. Lamb of God came on the stage and played the same songs with the same screech as Deafheaven.
What is the attraction of it? As we waited at the meeting place for Rob, we watched the masses leave the show. Dudes were shirt-less. Their chests were red and marked with scratches and red blotches. They hollered through the hall to the exit like a massive dose of adrenaline. I suppose it's their primitive release of angst that men must do so to beat the war out of them. I don't know. All I felt was deaf and tired.