Saturday, May 31, 2008
Waco Jesus and the Temple of Poon
Unintentionally took a month off because of finals, then a trip to the motherland (Belize), then a week of procrastination culminating in a three day weekend in Baltimore for the mu'fucking Maryland Deathfest.
The lineup is always good since as opposed to most metal festivals, it eschews a deluge of crappy death metal bands or histrionic Euro-metal cliches. This years lineup, just as grind oriented as last years and a definite "Fuck you" to the people who complain and say shit like "Where's teh death?" managed to even contain some crust, powerviolence, Italian horror/EC comics-inspired deaththrash, and Blood Duster which, though I don't like them, were definitely good for a party with their generic tuned down hard rock through an extreme metal filter.
And that was the vibe. Its a weird thing because of the esoteric and underground nature of the festival, the varied crowd that shows up, the wide differences in the bands that played and the inherent awkward camaraderie within underground metal, almost everyone gets along and its ends up being three days of hanging out, people being "bros", discussing bands, supporting our failing Roman economy with our hard earned dollars, and a fashion show for t-shirts (My favorite was a chubby brunette chick in a Coroner tee).
Oh, and this guy:
In general, the crowd that shows up here is the best you can hope for at any metal shows. Even with drunkenness, there's a laid-back vibe and weird adult feeling that runs counter to all the manchildren and Dragonforce-hyping retards that occupy the metal mainstream. Oh, and the cockless self-centered dipshits in the hipster community who think they're authorities on anything, even their own genre. Those two factions, along with scene kids and the aging hesher set that ignored anything made after 1986, tend to be the public face of metal, which I guess makes sense since they're more entertaining to watch for being fucking annoying, uninformed and antaganostic groups. Its what makes things like Wacken Open Air a tremendous failure, since being into any scene,the hardest part is finding groups of people that aren't douchebags. Dickheadness is extremely pervasive and can be found in every single clique, being human nature so if you're, say, into metalcore, then you'd probably only still fuck with Converge, the Red Chord, Unearth, and Zao shows because the people who would show up are less incorrigible than your average Hatebreed or Suicide Silence fan.
Such a congenial atmosphere surrounded by people with bizarre looks and music tastes is even weirder in contrast to downtown Baltimore itself. From the two times I've been here, I've grown to love the city for its odd mix of every city landscape and structure I've ever seen, with Christian being able to cite similarities to parts of Colombia while I thought of it as Manhattan except not an over-congested pile of bourgeois failure and with better architecture. Plus, the always hilarious fact that there's a regular club right down the street from Sonar, which I've been tempted to waltz into and get my drank n' 2-step on.
And of course, the makeshift red light district down from Saratoga and N. Gay street home to two solid blocks of strip clubs and cheap-ass food. Unfortunately, besides the fact that strip clubs were ruined for me three years ago, there seemed to be only two decent joints around, and the rest were predictably full of broke-down chicks who would probably show you their ovary for a twenty if they could. Although, that's also fun.
Though my social anxiety is taxed by large crowd events like this and I don't quite mesh with most people, my friends did quite well and managed to make a bunch of connections, which is half of the function of the event in the first place. The most telling aspect of the thing is how immediately people start planning and hoping for the next one.
I can only hope Rock The Bells is anywhere as good.
Number of black people at the show: About 9 or 10.
Ratio of guys to girls: Around 3:1, surprisingly.
Ratio of attractive to unattractive girls: About 2:1