Female still feels like a true winner
February 4, 2009
Filed under Battle of the Sexes
My challenge was clear. Go to a metal show, survive, and maybe even try out the mosh pit. Having spent about two weeks as a hardcore fan when I was 16, I thought this would be a cinch. I went to plenty of hardcore shows during those two weeks and held my own with ease. When I shortly realized that this hardcore thing was just not for me, I would have been willing to bet I’d never go to a show like those again. That was until this challenge was presented to me. I knew I wouldn’t like it, but I agreed to try. I might be a folk and classic rock lovin’ girl now, but I was pretty sure I could stand a night of metal.
Cattle Decapitation headlined the concert, which took place Jan. 22 at The Dome. Other bands that played were Psyopus, Gigan, and some other bands from Bakersfield and other nearby towns. The name of the main band sent my little vegetarian heart on edge and certainly did little to make me give them a chance. My co-journalist and challenger quickly let me know that the band is actually vegetarian themselves. That set my mind at ease … a little.
Upon walking into The Dome, I knew I could handle my challenge, and my only concern was the boredom I would no doubt feel halfway into the first band’s set. The venue was pretty empty, and I knew my worries of broken glasses and bruises were for nothing. There were so few people there that I actually sat through the performances I watched.
The first band didn’t even bother to tell the crowd their name, I assume because most of the people in the crowd were their friends there to support them. Their first song started off with the smallest hint of a melody, and I’ll admit, they almost fooled me. But seconds later the melody was gone and replaced with run-of-the-mill, amateur metal, complete with chugging guitars and cookie-monster screaming.
The second band was Too Many Screaming Children, a Bakersfield area band, whom I found to be infinitesimally better than the first, but only because they mixed up their screaming techniques, alternating between the aforementioned cookie-monster screaming and bat-out-of-hell screeching. What I liked most about this band was their 30-second songs, which is about all I can take of any given metal song. These guys did seem to have a sense of humor, which is pretty cool, I guess.
The third band, another whose name I do not know because when the singer wasn’t destroying my eardrums he was mumbling his way through band and song introductions, was, again, somehow better than the last, though I couldn’t really give a legitimate reason why or how. They just had more pizzazz. Some of their songs had guitar solos, and no matter how much I dislike a music genre I can always appreciate some guitar shredding. The headbanging was definitely a plus in my book.
Rise of Caligula from Modesto played fourth. The members of the band seemed really into their performance. They at least looked like they liked what they were doing. I was incredibly surprised when I actually managed to understand about three words of one of their songs. Understanding lyrics was definitely not something I was expecting at this concert.
While I can find something nice to say about most of these bands, that is not to say that I in any way enjoyed myself. All of these first four bands sounded so much alike that if I hadn’t watched the bands load and unload after each other, I would have thought it was all one band. They all have the same guitar techniques and the same “singing” style. I don’t get why a band would put any effort into writing lyrics when there is no possible way for fans to understand those lyrics. For all I know, the lyrics were in Arabic. To save these bands time in the future, I suggest just screaming recipes. No one would know the difference. After Rise of Caligula, I even heard a man behind me, whom I assume was at the concert because he likes metal and not because he was forced to be there like I was, complain that the music was “noise for the sake of noise.” I couldn’t agree more. I know that just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean no one else does, so if there is an audience for this music, then, hey, more power to these bands.There was hardly even any moshing for me to watch, so there was no way I could join the pit, though I knew from the start that I would most likely not complete that part of my challenge. I’m a peaceful girl with some old-lady tendencies and I just don’t like the pushing and shoving. Also, it’s kind of necessary to “feel” the music to mosh, and I obviously was not feeling this music. But even if I wanted to mosh, I would have been virtually alone, and that’s no fun.
My challenge hung in the back of my mind the whole time, but after sitting through these four bands, my patience was waning. They were all blurring together into one big masculinity showdown, and I was bored out of my mind. I knew it would probably get better and more tolerable as the bigger bands started to play, but my patience was already exhausted, so I happily admitted defeat and left the venue to do something much more enjoyable: watch “Twilight.” I might not have technically won this challenge, but at the end of the night, I still felt like the winner because I didn’t have to sit through the whole concert.