Out Of My Comfort Zone – Attending A Heavy Metal Concert

The only thing I understand is what I feel – Static X.

I’m looking at the title of this and the more I look, the more I want to change it. I wouldn’t say that attending a heavy metal gig was out of my comfort zone, although it is something that I’ve never done before. Nevertheless, I used to listen to Soil (one song) – coincidentally one of the bands who played – when I was eleven or twelve and I used to go to the “mosher” club for under eighteen’s when I was fifteen or sixteen. I’ve also heard music by Dope before now, so it’s not as if I was a complete novice when I wandered through the doors of the O2 Institute in Birmingham nearly two weeks ago.

The air was electric, the venue dark, bustling with people of all shapes, sizes and ages (mostly over eighteens, some teenagers) with one thing in common. They were here to enjoy a night of industrial heavy metal, one that would signify the beginning of a new era and the celebration of an old one. As we pushed our way through to the centre, side-stepping people, we managed to find a spot where I could actually see the stage. I remember looking up at the people who sat above us on a balcony and wondering why they had opted to sit up there rather than stand. I found out the reason shortly after as a massive mosh pit ensued. I remember mosh pits when I was a teenager, but these were crazy different to then. Apparently there are rules and codes, not just aimless shoving and jumping and dragging people into the mix. I kept out of it. I would not have survived against the mass of people that somehow mix the loving side of them with their brutality, completely letting go of all their senses. That’s what it seems like to me; I’ve never been involved in one, so I wouldn’t know. The atmosphere was thick with an intensity that only an intimate gig can give you and before I knew it, I was holding my hands in the air to Dope, the first act of many. I won’t even attempt to insult the artist’s by trying to describe the music. It isn’t something that I would listen to on a regular basis and so I can’t comment other than I didn’t want to run out screaming. I actually enjoyed it. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I will now listen to Dope on repeat for the rest of the night, but I wouldn’t necessarily cry if I had to listen to it again.

The second band was an absolute treat! I had never heard of Wednesday 13 before, but oh my God were they incredible. It wasn’t so much the music for me, but the dark atmosphere, the bizarre costumes, the magnificent stage presence and the incredible show that the band put on, especially frontman Joseph Michael Poole. He was the undead, a monster, a crazed maniac and the Devil all rolled into one. Every single detail right down to the mask he wore and the props he flung around was on point. Not only that, the way he moved across the stage, completely in character – with the flamboyance of somebody gone mad, or a grim reaper ready to dig some graves – was executed with such precision that nobody could help but be entranced by this presence of a man that completely took over the entire venue. I am so glad that we got closer to the front to watch his performance because without seeing the costumes, the makeup and the way the entire band came together in sync completely changed the way the music sounded. To be honest, I would not have enjoyed the music even half as much if it wasn’t for the performance.

The main event was Static-X. A bit of history if, like me pre-gig, you have no idea who that is. Static X is an industrial metal band who started back in 1994 in California. Frontman, Wayne Static, and drummer, Ken Jay, formed the original line up. The band dynamic saw various ensembles of musicians throughout the years. They made headlines during the nu metal movement of the 1990s, dedicated their life to the band until 2011 when a hiatus occurred. Two years later, the band officially broke up. Wayne Static tragically died a year later. Last year, Static-X decided to reform in honour of Wayne, to go on this world tour and release an album next year. Their set was insane. It mixed video, sound and a heightened ambience that caused tingles, goose bumps and raised hairs. Frontman Xer0 wore a death mask and dressed and styled himself to act exactly as Wayne Static would in tribute. He continued to claim that he was not to be praised, but the band of Static-X and Wayne himself who was everywhere you turned. His face adorned the screen; his name was screamed and chanted; his silhouette haunted the stage. The music pounded and vibrated through everyone. I won’t forget their performance, so I am certain their fans will carry it with them in their metal hearts for the rest of their lives.

This blog post kinda just turned into my thoughts about the gig and nothing to do with being out of my comfort zone. Yes, I wouldn’t go to a heavy metal gig every weekend, but I wouldn’t never go to one again. I’ve been to gigs alone before now in the heart of Camden and I’ve gone to review bands across the plectrum board. I don’t truly believe I was out of my comfort zone; music is music at the end of the day. We just all have different tastes; mine is extremely varied, especially now.

Have you ever gone to a music gig of a genre you never really listen to? How did you react?

Love, Faye xo

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